Ramping Up: Where Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Grants Are Going in Florida

 photo: Ryan McGill/shutterstock

photo: Ryan McGill/shutterstock

There is a lot of old money in Florida and plenty of well-established family foundations that have been here for generations. But there’s a relatively new funder that has only been on the grantmaking scene for four years, and now is stepping things up. Recent Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation grant cycles have been yielding $3–4 million lately, and this year, the funder plans to give out around $15 million before 2018 comes to a close.

A couple things that stand out about Barancik giving so far are its willingness to give big and to give locally in the Sarasota area. In the funder’s most recent grant cycle, the foundation awarded $1 million for an affordable housing project called Lofts on Lemon, and nearly $1 million to the Library Foundation of Sarasota County to set up hands-on collaborative workstations. The affordable housing grant is going toward a three-acre project in the city’s Rosemary District and is targeting teachers, nurses and first responders who need to live close to their jobs but struggle to pay high rent prices in Sarasota. The foundation has been increasingly interested in doing something about the shortage of qualified teachers in the region lately.

“This doesn’t solve the problem overall, but it’s a way to show our appreciation for the work teachers do in this community,” said John Annis, the foundation’s senior vice president for collaboration and impact. “We don’t want to lose any good teachers because they can’t afford to live in Sarasota.”

Meanwhile, the library grant is being put to use at eight libraries in the county, and will involve everything from 3-D printing to robotics, coding workshops, and arts and crafts. In addition to these two grants, the funder also recently committed $450,000 to the Arcadia Boys & Girls Club. This club just opened up this summer, so the foundation is matching the money raised to support programming for children, including out-of-school programs in this public housing neighborhood, which doesn’t offer many other activities for kids. Boys and Girls Clubs tend to fare quite well with this foundation overall.

Since the beginning, this funder has always been squarely focused on the Sarasota region of Florida. Unfortunately for new grantseekers, the Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. However, grantmaking has been ramping up by the year, so the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation will likely be looking for more local causes to support and in bigger ways going forward. Also of note, the couple has strong ties to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, as well as to the Jewish community. Check out the Trending section on the foundation's website to keep up with what Barancik is most interested in at any given time.