Giving thanks

John Catterson, president of Boca Cares, addresses grant recipients and thanks the board and local donors at the recent ceremony at the Boca Royale Golf & Country Club clubhouse.

ENGLEWOOD — There’s an ambassador rooster at the Crestwood Circus Ranch in Englewood.

His name is Alfredo.

Older people love Alfredo. He visits senior living facilities, said Leslie Young, owner of the Crestwood Circus Ranch. It’s all part of the ranch’s senior outreach program.

“We take about 10 to 12 of our 60 plus animals from our farm,” she said. “A lot of older people were raised on a farm. It brings back memories for them while they are petting them. They don’t get to see farm animals very often, so it’s really good for them.”

Young was awarded a grant for $1,150 this week by the nonprofit Boca Royale Cares Community Fund for supplies and transportation for the Crestwood Circus Ranch outreach program.

Hers was one of several local nonprofits that will benefit from Boca Cares grants, as they are called.

Young was ecstatic about her grant.

“It’s a big help,” she said. “This grant money will help us coming out of COVID-19.”

She said she uses trained students to help bring Alfredo and other animals to the seniors.

“We welcome some facilities to invite us to set up a small petting zoo or for a fun pet visit,” she said.

With 21 proposals totaling $90,000 in requests, Boca Cares awarded its spring grants at Boca Royale Golf & Country Club.

“We gave 15 grants totaling $47,604,” said John Catterson, president of the Boca Cares Community Fund. “We appreciate the continuing generosity of the residents of Boca Royale Golf & Country Club and its corporate sponsors. Earlier this year, our board established an aggressive goal of raising an additional $40,000 by the end of April.”

Since its founding in late 2018, Boca Cares received contributions total more than $170,000.

“Our residents really stepped up, as did our developer Neal Communities, who recently made a contribution of $5,000 and we exceeded our goal,” Catterson said.

“Our other corporate sponsors, Michael Saunders Realty and Rowley Insurance, helped with this grant cycle,” he said.

In addition to Crestwood Circus Ranch, another new $1,500 grant recipient was Holly’s Hope of North Port to help with suicide prevention for local first responders and their families.

“We are working with police officers, deputies, firefighters, dispatchers, crime scene technicians to tell us the kind of help they really need, especially after COVID,” said Joan Morgan of Holly’s Hope.

“We are learning how much these people are suffering. Once they reach out for help, we will be able to give their family members new resources through this wonderful grant so the first responder can get the treatment they need to begin healing,” she said.

All organizations receiving grants from Boca Cares must be nonprofit organizations with an IRS tax exemption. The Boca Cares board asks for a $200 donation annually from each of the 800 plus households in Boca Royale.

In its first two and a half years of operation, Boca Cares has made Grants to more than 40 local charities in the Englewood/Venice area with a focus on hunger, health care, housing and basic needs, with a special emphasis on those organizations severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Catterson said.

“Our grants helped with summer camp scholarship the YMCA, new clothing for foster children through the Twig, reducing the debt to purchase portable showers for the homeless, defibrillators for Center Place Health and other local charities,” he said.

To find out more about the Boca Cares Community Fund, visit


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