Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded a $60,000 grant to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County to support the expanded College, Career and Life Readiness Initiative.

The leveraged grant supports the Education Foundation’s long-term vision and commitment to an integrated approach that blends college and career preparation with 21st century cognitive skills.

“We recognize that students today need more than basic subject matter and tools of technology,” said Gulf Coast President and CEO Dr. Mark S. Pritchett. “They also need to incorporate a lifelong learning habit that will empower them to thrive. They are tomorrow’s skilled employees, innovative entrepreneurs and engaged community members who will build and enhance our region’s economy, neighborhoods and culture.”

Education Foundation President Jennifer Vigne said, “We are deeply grateful for Gulf Coast’s generosity and support of the core objective of this initiative, which is to instill a 21st century life-readiness mindset that equips all Sarasota County students, including those considered most at-risk, to succeed throughout the education continuum and graduate with a plan that leads to life success.”

While the implementation of the Education Foundation’s long-term vision ultimately will impact each and every Sarasota County student, the initial focus is on providing students in grades 9-12 with comprehensive resources, including dedicated college and career advisers provided by the Education Foundation at pilot high schools.

These advisers will work one-on-one with individual students, conduct financial literacy workshops, provide guidance on resume and college-application writing. Through the initiative, the Education Foundation aims to positively impact performance measures such as the number of students who apply for federal student aid, the percentage of graduates who pursue postsecondary education, and the share of high school students who complete at least 25 hours of community service.

“Supporting this initiative gives Gulf Coast the opportunity to have a real and immediate positive effect on the futures of more than 5,000 high school students and their families, as well as a long-range effect on the lives of thousands more students,” said Pritchett.

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