The Patterson Foundation helps The Bay Park Conservancy achieve its $20 million initial funding goal
The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), the non-profit organization responsible for overseeing the transformation of 53-acres of city-owned land along Sarasota’s bayfront into a world-class public park, has reached another significant milestone. A $5 million match challenge from The Patterson Foundation helped catalyze support to raise the initial $20 million funding goal from private sources.
“The Bay Park Conservancy’s expert guidance and visioning is evolving The Bay from a community aspiration into a delightful and inclusive park, with even more features and amenities still to come,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “The $5 million in private funding that achieved this most recent $1 million gift from The Patterson Foundation — all of which was contributed amid a pandemic — demonstrates our community’s keen awareness of The Bay’s value and the opportunities it will bring to people of all ages and backgrounds.”
“From the beginning, our goal has been to create a park for all,” said AG Lafley, Founding CEO, The Bay Park Conservancy. “The Patterson Foundation, in support of our guiding principles, along with our many private donors and public partners, is helping us make our park a reality.”
To date, The Bay Park initiative has been funded primarily by private sources, including major foundations, family foundations, individual philanthropists and citizens who believe in the unique, community aspect of the project. With our community’s commitment and hundreds of generous and enthusiastic supporters, The Bay Park Conservancy closed out 2020 with over 1,000 Founding Friends of The Bay.
“Our Friends of The Bay initiative was, and continues to be, a meaningful way to make philanthropy accessible for every member of our community and was instrumental in achieving this milestone,” said Veronica Brady, Director of Advancement, The Bay Park Conservancy. “For as little as $25, $50, $100 or more, anyone can have a part in building this legacy park that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
In addition to private funding, the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County recently approved a cooperative funding agreement with TIF financing that could provide as much as $200 million over the next 30 years. The TIF could finance a substantial portion of the new park and a new performing arts center in the park. Additionally, multiple grants at the regional, state, and national level will supplement the private and city/county funding.
The Bay Park is on track to be an iconic, public destination that welcomes the diversity of Sarasota, enhances our status as a cultural capital and serves as a venue for multi-generational, inter-neighborhood, broad-based enjoyment. The recent opening of the Mangrove Bayou Walkway in April and The Fountain Garden in January 2020 are two of the park features open to the public with more to come. Additional features of Phase 1, currently underway are the Lawns, outdoor Reading Room, a new Kayak Launch, Concession Pavilion and the Sunset Boardwalk.
The Bay Park Conservancy is testing park programming including free yoga three times a week and free live music on Sunday afternoons. Jeannie Perales, as Chief Experience Officer, will be focusing on programming in 2022 when Phase 1 of The Bay Park fully opens. As Phase 1 continues to come to life, so will the park through programming centered on the arts, education, fitness, wellness and the environment.