VENICE — Since 2005, the Venice Nokomis Rotary Club has given away almost $800,000 to youth non-profit organizations, said Rotarian Matt Cary who — with Susan Hanks — are the Investment in Youth committee chairs committee.

Meeting on Zoom, Cary said the roadmap this year was a little more difficult than usual, but gave away $40,000 recently.

Hanks thanked everyone in the club who helped to raise the funds and the recipients who work so hard and the club is able to help.

“Locally, every 2 minutes a child enters foster care, coming with only the clothes on their backs,” said Nicole Britton, director of The Twig, a recipient who spoke on how the cash award assisted.

“We serve as a provider for foster families from our foster family boutique,” she continued. “They can shop for clothing completely free of charge. Rotary funding is so appreciated helping to keep our boutique stocked with items in all sizes and styles. Before COVID-19 we were serving about 350 foster children every month, numbers are a little different now, but we are doing care packages and offer special appointments.”

Tanya Orr, of The Boys & Girls Club, said its clubs are open with children following CDC guidelines of social distancing, taking temperatures and “finding creative ways to keep all those kids engaged during the summer.”

Families are not charged during this eight-week period because of Rotary.

Jennifer Fagenbaum, of Family Promise of South Sarasota County said it sheltered, rehabbed and helped prevented homelessness for four families.

“Our congregations cannot shelter families as they are closed so we are doing it in hotels,” Fagenbaum said. “Thank you for your partnership with all these wonderful organizations.”

Other organizations receiving Rotary funding included:

• Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Suncoast

• Boy Scout Troop 77

• Child Protection Center

• Our Mother’s House

• Project Graduation

• Rotary Futures

• Sarasota Crew

• Teen Court

• Manasota Lacrosse

• Venice Christian School

• Venice Lacrosse Boosters

• Venice Symphony

• Venice Theatre

• Venice wrestling

• Youth boating

• Venice Challenger Baseball


• Venice Nokomis Club Rotary Foundation

Club President Wendy North said traditionally, income from Venice Rotary Artfest, Duck Pluck and Toast to Venice provide the funds to donate annually to the Investment in Youth program, — but those events were canceled this year. That funding also go toward the Teacher of the Year Program, Interact Club and sending Interact members to Rotary Interact events.


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