Community Crowdfunds Legacy Trail Study: $72,000!

 [clearboth]Community Crowdfunding:

Individuals, Organizations, and Businesses Donate Over $72,000 to Match Public Funding for Current Feasibility Review

VENICE, FL (January 13, 2015) – With gifts ranging from $10 to several thousand dollars, hundreds of community members have chipped in to help pay for a feasibility study to extend the Legacy Trail.  The donations were made through Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s charitable crowdfunding website,

“The Legacy Trail connects our community’s parks and people,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which posted the online fundraising project last year in partnership with donor Jesse Biter and the nonprofit Friends of the Legacy Trail.  “This grassroots fundraising effort to extend it also connected diverse community members, and it demonstrated broad regional support for expanding the trail.”

A look at the roster of donors on the campaign’s fundraising page shows supporters ranging from individual community members and cycling clubs to major homebuilders and economic development groups.  Friends of Sarasota County Parks and Friends of the Legacy Trail also added direct donations to their groups and proceeds from fundraising events.

That goal was set last year to match public funding from Sarasota County earmarked for a two-phase feasibility study to extend the trail.  When the county awarded the contract for the study to environmental consultants Cardno, it also challenged the private sector to raise half of the funds that would be needed to complete it. Biter, Friends of the Legacy Trail, and others accepted the mantle, and at Biter’s suggestion turned to Gulf Coast Community Foundation and its platform to facilitate donations and outreach.

“Extending the Legacy Trail would give our community 30 miles of continuous, multi-use recreational trails, from Venetian Waterway Park in Venice, through the current Legacy Trail, all the way north to downtown Sarasota,” said Biter.  “It’s a smart project to support because of the environmental and economic development benefits.”

The consultancy delivered a draft of its feasibility study to the county in December, and it is now being reviewed by staff.  Contingent upon County Commission approval of a final report from county staff later this winter, a second phase of the feasibility study would further explore development issues related to lengthening the trail.

“Thanks to Jesse’s vision and the great effort of the Friends groups, we were able to connect people virtually on to build support for better connecting our community physically,” noted Gulf Coast’s Hansen.  “How cool is that?”


About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Together with our donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy.  Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital.  Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of nearly 600 families who have established charitable funds here, and we have invested $185 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at


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Media Contact:

Bruce Dillon, Friends of the Legacy Trail (fundraising chair) –, 941.485.9366