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Giving Challenge
Thank you to everyone who donated to Manatee Literacy Council during the 2018 Giving Challenge. You raised $14,145 during the 24-hour event! Included in the total are two $2,000 prizes: Best Business Partnership with 3 Keys Brewing & Eatery and Best Giving Challenge Turnaround. Also included are two $500 prizes: one for "Best 2016 Giving Challenge Story" and another from Manatee Community Foundation for a story written by one of our volunteers. We had a great turnout at our Open House and at our "Toast to Literacy" mixer at
Click here for complete detailsThe Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation.


2016 Giving Challenge
The last Giving Challenge was held September, 2016. With the funds raised during this event, Manatee Literacy Council was able to make major changes to our organization. Below is our story of how the 2016 Giving Challenge changed our future. Thank you to the Herald-Tribune Media Group for selecting our story as one of 20 winners of the "Best 2016 Giving Challenge Story" contest!



“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” —Barack Obama


As we prepare for the 2018 Giving Partner Challenge, we want to reflect on how the 2016 Giving Challenge made such an impact on Manatee Reads! (Literacy Council of Manatee County). With the support of our donors, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, the funds raised during the 2016 Giving Challenge would be put to good use as Manatee Reads! was facing more challenges.


In early 2017, we would soon find out that the building in which we rented office space was being put on the market and we would have to look for a new home. With limited funds, where would we find a place to continue our adult literacy programs? Where would we be able to continue our mission "to empower Manatee County residents to independence through literacy"? As luck would have it, Goodwill Manasota was renovating a building on Cortez Road for a new retail store and had an office space they were not going to occupy. It was offered to us. The office was great: brand new, fresh paint, clean areas…a dream come true!


Along with the move to a new facility, we were facing the challenge of name recognition. “Manatee Reads” did not convey our mission. We began a whole “re-branding” campaign. We needed a name and an image that would present the right message. We decided on Manatee Literacy Council and a logo of a tutor helping a learner climb to the top of some books...reaching for success. Now we were onto something!


But a new office, a new name, and a new logo are not that important if the people running the organization did not come together and decide to reach for more. After countless meetings, that meant hours of joint work to create meaningful ways to make the agency more effective, we were on the right track. We were able to hire an Executive Director to put the backbone of the organization together. She restructured the volunteer tutor and learner system that was already in place; began tutor training sessions that significantly increased our tutor base and took learners off our ever-expanding waiting list; and initiated “conversation classes” that brought learners from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds together to improve their English skills.


The past two years have been challenging and exciting. All the challenges and changes that Manatee Literacy Council has faced, have been met by the dedication of our volunteer tutors, our learners, our donors and our Board & Executive Director. During the 2016 Giving Challenge, we were able to raise over $15,000; a 50% increase over the previous Challenge. This year, we shoot higher!


None of this would have been possible without the Giving Challenge, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation and all the partner sponsors. Change is inevitable and ongoing. We already know some of the challenges facing us this year and the changes that are going to have to be made. The continued support of our benefactors is always needed and appreciated.


Manatee Literacy Council is most grateful for the opportunity to join in this extraordinary Suncoast event again this year. We accept the Challenge…and we all win!

Manatee Literacy Council
3501 Cortez Road West, Suite 6, Bradenton, FL 34210