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Children First Changemakers Inspire Community with $600,000 Matching Gift Challenge

As children and families are disproportionately affected by the ongoing childcare crisis, Children First is continuing its forward progress of enhancing and expanding comprehensive services for those most vulnerable in our community.

As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First is proud to announce a $600,000 matching gift challenge led by its Changemaker Collective.

The Changemaker Collective is an initiative for leaders who go above and beyond in serving our community and wish to make an investment in the tools children and families need to achieve their full potential. All collective support will be matched 1:1 with an overall goal to raise $1.2MM.

The key philanthropists comprising the Collective include: Anonymous, Stephanie & Allen Hochfelder, Joan & Dr. Bart Levenson, Katherine & Frank Martucci, Keith Monda & Veronica Brady, Linda Rhault, Gaye & Jack Schwarz, Joe & Nora Stephan, Karen Solem, and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

At 15 sites across North Port, Sarasota, and Venice, Children First provides comprehensive services to hundreds of economically vulnerable children, ages birth to five, and their families each year. Comprehensive services include early childhood education, nutrition, emotional and behavioral support, and family strengthening services.

“As our children and families are beginning the new school year, many of them are experiencing a high level of insecurity, whether it be related to food, housing, health care or other needs,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “We are deeply grateful to the Collective for their commitment to coming together in support of those living in economically vulnerable situations. Together, we will continue to provide the highest level of service possible to our community’s children and families that will create a transformative impact, now and for generations to come.”

“Joining the Collective is an investment in the tools children and families need to achieve their full potential,” says Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers. “Whether you want to support the qualified teachers who offer stable and supportive relationships, provide safe classrooms for children to enjoy rich learning experiences, fill hungry tummies with nutritious meals and provide a variety of health services, or strengthen the entire family to ensure overall well-being, it is critical that we continue to support our community’s most vulnerable.”

To make a gift in support of the Changemaker Collective, please visit

About Children First:

Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to


Additional Info

Media Contact : Evan Ackerman

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