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Children First Receives Critical $100,000 Support from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

As families across our community continue to feel the burden of economic hardship, Children First remains committed to enhancing and expanding its comprehensive services through grant support from Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First serves hundreds of children and their families living at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,030 for a family of three) across numerous locations each year.

The agency has received a $50,000 Community Grant through Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Jarrett Family Fund to support the agency’s $600,000 Changemaker Collective Challenge Match.

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.

Children First also received a $50,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to support immediate needs for its children, families, and staff members following the devastation of Hurricane Ian. Damage from the storm has surpassed $7.6 billion in estimated insurance losses and more than $642 million from FEMA for individual assistance approved for over 307,000 households across Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.

“In the immediate aftermath of this historic storm and beyond, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has been a steadfast partner in helping us make our mission possible each and every day. Over 25 years, Gulf Coast and its donors have provided more than $4.9 million in direct support to those we serve. Through the power of philanthropy, Children First continues to transform our community, and we are grateful for Gulf Coast’s deep commitment to helping us change lives,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

“Children First is instrumental in early learning development for our region. Their tireless work to help children and families in our community is highly commendable,” says President|CEO Mark Pritchett of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “We are honored to provide support to Children First and have for many years, as we value the important impacts they make on children, families, and our community every day.”

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

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation:

Headquartered in Venice, Fla. and with a second office in downtown Sarasota, Fla., Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed the region through bold and proactive philanthropy for over 25 years. Serving the needs of the region as a partner in philanthropy, and leader in community initiatives, Gulf Coast has granted nearly $500 million in the areas of: health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Gulf Coast was named one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” nationally by The Nonprofit Times in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2020, and 2021. To learn more visit and follow us on Facebook at @GulfCoastCommFnd.


Additional Info

Media Contact : Evan Ackerman

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