Our Mission & History

The mission of Manatee Community Foundation is connecting the charitable interests of donors with needs in the community. We are value leadership, transparency, trust, integrity, loyalty, respect, and inclusivity in our work.

1993

MCF Concept Created

In 1993 Dorothy S. (Dot) Ridings, a former Publisher of The Bradenton Herald, proposed the concept of Manatee Community Foundation in connection with a potential grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Without adequate time to incorporate the new foundation, the grant was awarded to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, subject to the provision that its assets would be transferred to the Manatee Community Foundation upon its formation. The Knight Donor Advised Fund was created and was directed by The Bradenton Herald for charitable purposes in Manatee County. 
1998

MCF gets incorporated

In June of 1998, the Manatee Community Foundation was incorporated and classified as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, capitalizing on its administrative and investment services. As part of an initiative to start, support and grow community foundations in its 26 newspaper communities, the Knight Foundation challenged the new Manatee Community Foundation’s board to raise the first $ 1 million of endowment funds for Manatee County.
2000

Lakewood Ranch Community Fund

In 2000, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was developed to serve the people and interests of the Lakewood Ranch community and to allow donor-allocated funds to stay in our region, serving a variety of charitable interests. The Fund is set up under the umbrella of Manatee Community Foundation to reduce management costs and allow more assets to remain in the community.
2003

Knight Foundation Issues $300K Challenge Grant to Raise $1 Million MCF Endowment

In 2003, as part of an initiative to start, support and grow community foundations in its 26 newspaper communities, the Knight Foundation challenged the new Manatee Community Foundation’s Board of Directors to raise the first $ 1 million of endowment monies for Manatee County. A $300,000 challenge grant was issued to MCF. Board members and community supporters of the new community foundation needed to raise $750,000 in endowment funds and operating dollars to receive the grant. The Knight Foundation gave MCF three years to raise the money. MCF successfully met the challenge in only six months.
2006

Spirit of Manatee

Manatee Community Foundation begins a signature event, Spirit of Manatee, to honor the philanthropists and volunteer leaders who have made a significant difference in Manatee County.
2008

MCF 10th Anniversary

In 2008 the Manatee Community Foundation celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Key to the anniversary year was the successful completion of the $1 million dollar “Moving Home, Moving Forward” Capital Campaign. A new and permanent office location for MCF was purchased and renovated and funds were set aside for expansion and ongoing building maintenance.
2016

Today Manatee Community Foundation has assets of $35 million

Today Manatee Community Foundation has assets of $35 million and has awarded more than $16 million in grants and scholarships. In February 2016, we moved into our new building located at 2820 Manatee Avenue West. Approximately 5,000 square feet in area, the building allows our small team to grow and the community to enjoy a neutral place to convene about important issues. Learn about how you can invest in a stronger community for philanthropy and local nonprofits in our capital campaign. Link to separate page.