Charlotte Community Foundation Mid Year Report  |  September 2020

Table of Contents

The Tapestry of Philanthropy

Ashley Maher

Additions to Our Staff

CCF Enhances Technology and Fund Holder Experience

2020-2021 Scholarships

2020 Distributions

Community Round Table

CCF Team

The Tapestry of Philanthropy


September 2020

“2020“, often refers to having perfect vision. However, even with perfect vision and an ability to foretell the future, it’s doubtful that the Charlotte Community Foundation’s team could have predicted the changes we have had to implement as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, in order to respond to our community’s completely unprecedented needs. Hardly a quarter into our 25th anniversary year, which began with a celebratory outlook and a goal to raise 2.5 million dollars to continue assisting our community in its progress to create a better life for all, we had to change course.

Instead of weaving that anticipated story into the design of our tapestry, we changed course, the Foundation has found ourselves at the helm of a fundraising campaign to provide emergency help to our residents, including those who pre-COVID had never needed to request social services. Staggering unemployment, business closings and the necessary steps mandated to stem the spread of the disease, have all created tremendous needs, the end of which are still an unnerving unknown.

Our Hands Up Grant program has been transformed into the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. With activation of COAD (Community Organizations Active in a Disaster, with Charlotte Community Foundation, Charlotte County Human Services, Gulf Coast Partnership, United Way of Charlotte County as Steering Committee members), and thanks to the match funding from Cheryl Berlon, the James and Marian Pennoyer Estate Fund (JMP), as well as many other generous donors, CCF in partnership with COAD has been able to see more than $1,000,000.00 in financial assistance monies distributed to Charlotte County residents.

Despite much suffering and many residents needing assistance, Charlotte County, has come together once again, uniting in a show of compassion, generosity and strength by donating resources. Given the necessary stay-at- home, and social distancing requirements, CCF staff members and volunteers primarily have been working remotely to help those in the most difficult circumstances.

Each year, CCF has offered Community Investment Grants (CIG) to qualifying local nonprofits. Due to the present and most- likely continuing needs of the community, the Foundation has transformed this grant program into the COVID-19 Crisis Response Grant program to respond to these emergency needs.

In addition to COVID-19 pandemic-related efforts, the Charlotte Community Foundation convened a community round table that was hosted by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department for the purpose of providing a forum to have an honest discussion about equality in law enforcement.

The success of this round table paved the way for another opportunity for civil discussion. CCF will again convene a community round table to address equality in education. Due to an abundance of caution stemming from the concern about the continuing spread of COVID-19, the planned date has been postponed. There is the possibility that virtual technology may be used as an alternative.

A community foundation exists to bring organizations, government and residents together to improve the lives and diverse opportunities for the residents in the areas that it serves. 2020 has provided many opportunities for CCF to support our philanthropic mission and to realize our mission of connecting people who care with causes that matter. Our tapestry continues growing, the threads are getting stronger, creating the picture of an intertwined, diverse, supportive community offering equal opportunity for all. By providing funds, forums for honest discussion and encouraging support from our residents, Charlotte County will continue to be a place in which people will want to live and be proud to call home.

Ashley Maher
Executive Director
Charlotte Community Foundation

Additions to Our Staff

The Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF) would like to welcome two new members to our team

The Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF) would like to welcome two new members to our team. Gayle Ross joins CCF as an Administrative Assistant helping to streamline communication and day to day activities within the development department. Gayle is a new resident to Charlotte County joining us from Pennsylvania. Michael McCready joins CCF as the new Office and Operations Administrator helping with ground maintenance and office support to help keep the campus of CCF running smoothly. Michael is also joining us from Pennsylvania.

Pictured Left to Right: Gayle Ross and Michael McCready

Charlotte Community Foundation

Enhances Technology and Fund Holder Experience

The beginning of 2020 has proven to be the year to adapt and overcome.

The beginning of 2020 has proven to be the year to adapt and overcome. With many individuals being forced to work from home, technology has been the driving infrastructure to making that happen. On January 1, 2020 the Charlotte Community Foundation successfully integrated to a new CRM system (C-Suite, by Foundant Technologies) allowing us to more efficiently manage funds, collect donations, administer grant and scholarship applications and much more.

The driving force for CCF to make this move was the need to advance our offerings to our fund holders and donors who are committed to helping us meet our mission of “Connecting People Who Care with Causes That Matter”.

Some of the notable changes that you may have seen already is the direct receipt of donation notifications, digital fund statements and online donation access to many of our funds, primarily Agency Funds. Coming soon within the next few months we will be rolling out our Donor Portal which will allow individuals who hold funds at the Charlotte Community Foundation the ability to access fund statements online, provide funding allocations for DAF and will allow for donors to make a contribution directly into their fund without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

For local agencies and Nonprofit organizations, we will soon have the capabilities for you to register your NPO with CCF in our online database allowing individuals to search for your organization based upon your area of service. Secondly, this new technology will allow for an online catalogue of grant requests by our Agency Fund partners to be searched and funded through online donations much like a Go Fund Me account.

We are excited to share with you all of these advances that have been implemented through the introduction of new technology here at CCF. We want to be on the cutting edge of ease and convenience for our donors and NPO within Charlotte County so that we can be the leading change agent for our community.

2020-2021 Academic Scholarhips

The Charlotte Community Foundation proudly awarded more than $90,000 in higher education academic scholarships during the first six months of 2020.

The Charlotte Community Foundation proudly awarded more than $90,000 in higher education academic scholarships during the first six months of 2020. Our annual cycle opened on January 1st with a record number of applications.

During Q4 of 2019, the Charlotte Community Foundation was busy working on the implementation of a new software and interface program which included the Scholarship Lifecycle Management allowing for an easier and more robust application process for both the applicants and the reviewers. Little did we know that by the time our cycle was to end we would be facing the challenges of COVID-19.

By introducing this new platform, along with the dedication of our entire Scholarship Review Committee, CCF was able to continue our role as a leading funder for scholarships within Charlotte County. The entire process was completed with few interruptions.

The outcome to all of this was the ability to award, through the generosity of our many donors, $98,000 in scholarships to 26 Charlotte County recipients who are pursuing career choices in medicine, engineering, real estate and business.

For more information on the Charlotte Community Foundation scholarships, or for information to start a scholarship fund, please visit for more information! The 2021-2022 scholarship cycle will open early January 2021.


Scholarship Recipients

Carlye Mahler, Cherian Family General Scholarship

Lexi Pickett, Cherian Family Medical Scholarship

Christopher Papa, David Gerdel Memorial Scholarship

Breanna Burdell, Health Professions Scholarship

Brooke Calitri, Health Professions Scholarship

Stephen Casarella, Health Professions Scholarship

Courtney Derezil, Health Professions Scholarship

Sabrina Lefebvre, Health Professions Scholarship

 Kellie Redmann, Health Professions Scholarship

Stephanie Vullo, Health Professions Scholarship

Katherine Wiley, Health Professions Scholarship

Laura Yepes, Health Professions Scholarship

Faith Wise, Karen Wynn Memorial Scholarship

Jakeb Brown, Leo Wotitzky Scholarship

Gianna Cetrangelo, Leo Wotitzky Scholarship

Tammy Flores, Leo Wotitzky Scholarship

Marissa Maietta, Nora Penton Beatty Memorial Scholarship

 Hannah Krysiak, Nursing Scholarship

Samantha Martinez, Nursing Scholarship

Emily Anderson, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

Celia Baermann, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

Jenna Dunakey, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

Victoria Lucien, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

AnnMarie Medico, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

Kheyanne Williams, Virginia B Andes Scholarship

2020 Distributions

The Charlotte Community Foundation has been focused on supporting the local community through continually providing our core initiatives of offering scholarships and granting opportunities. Year to date the Charlotte Community Foundation has awarded over $475,000.00. This equates to over $78,000 in Higher Education Scholarships to local residents and graduates, granted more than $132,000 to nonprofit organizations for continued services and operation, a streamlined donation process for the HUG Fund in response to the COVID-19 Crisis distributing more than $202,000 for financial assistance to Charlotte County residents and provided another $65,000 to local nonprofit organizations in response to the increased need in services due to the COVID-19 Crisis.

 The Charlotte Community Foundation has also received more than $1,900,000 in new funds since the beginning of 2020. Although the COVID-19 Crisis has created obstacles and required CCF to adapt to changes in our social relationships, we have continued to carry on our mission of “Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter”.

Charlotte Community Foundation’s

Community Round Table

On June 24th, Charlotte Community Foundation moderated a community round table discussion to gain a better understanding on the inner workings of law enforcement and the perception of equality in our community.

Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF) exists to be a catalyst for change to that supports lifestyle improvements within our community. We constantly have a finger on the pulse of Charlotte County. We hear the ebb and flow of its heartbeat, which has allowed the Foundation to act quickly to address the needs of our residents.

Following recent events that have occurred in towns and cities across our nation, during which residents of all races, cultures and nationalities, demanded an end to injustice, we assumed the role of community convener by organizing a Community Round Table hosted by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department. It was held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in the Community Room at Laishley Marina.

This is an excellent example of the importance of a community foundation. CCF’s goal to bring people and organizations together to promote positive change could not have been

more evident than in our acceptance of the leadership role to arrange the Round Table. We welcomed members of March for Justice Charlotte, NAACP, Unapologetically Black, our two law enforcement organizations, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department, Charlotte County Public Schools, Charlotte County Government, City of Punta Gorda and others from the community. This event allowed the Foundation to bring to the forefront topics that are not often discussed but that have strong significance to the area residents and their quality of life, including equal opportunities.

The positive results of this respectful, civil discussion gave many attendees a clearer understanding of the fundamentals and mechanics of the workings of law enforcement and a perspective of equality in Charlotte County, that has paved the way to address the following action items:

  1. Make camera usage/training policy available to
  2. Contact the Sarasota police citizens’ review
  3. Build a timeline for
  4. Include No Knock warrants and other issues in
  5. Establish
  6. Increase cultural and diversity training to
  7. Round table community discussion focused on education.

Each of these items will receive stringent follow-up. As CCF receives updated information on the progress against these action items, it will be made available on our website

Your CCF Team

Leadership Team

Ashley Maher
Executive Director

Suzanne Herron
Chief Financial Officer

Justin Brand
Director of Community Engagement


Tonie Waters
Executive Assistant

Georganna Dodd
Administrative Assistant

Gayle Ross
Administrative Assistant

Michael McCready
Office and Operations Assistant

2019-2020 Board of Directors

Lew Bennett

Jane Washburn
Vice Chair

Kim Savasuk

Robert Peterson

Laura Amendola

W. Craig Esterly

Bill Hawley

Lucienne Pears

Mark Draper

Brenda Lynch

Sarah Desrosiers

Mary Byrski
Immediate Past Chair

Your donations to this program could give the gift of a successful education to struggling students.