NEWS RELEASE: SBPO Reaches $2.1 Million Goal to Reimagine Sarasota’s Bayfront

SBPO Reaches $2.1 Million Goal to Reimagine Sarasota’s Bayfront

Funding goal met two-weeks before city and community kick-off activation events take place

SARASOTA, FL (November 29, 2017) – Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization has reached their $2.1 million fundraising goal to ensure the delivery of a professionally prepared master plan for the sustainable development of the 42-acre Sarasota Bayfront. The announcement was made last week at the publicly-noticed board meeting after a year-long volunteer fundraising effort led by Drayton Saunders, Veronica Brady, and Shaun Merriman.

“In addition to being proud to have worked with two amazing people who volunteered their time to make this goal a reality, we are extremely thankful for all those who said yes to investing in the future of our Bayfront,” said Saunders, President of Michael Saunders & Company. “The 42-acres carries with it the aspirations of a community and the tremendous potential to continue to define the best of what a community can achieve when it collaborates.”

Nearly 60 donors have invested in the planning initiative to reimagine Sarasota’s Bayfront.

“We are very grateful to all of our investors for supporting the future of our Bayfront,” said Brady, Senior Vice President for Philanthropy at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “This project has tremendous potential and the success of this campaign will allow us to more effectively attract future investment opportunities for what’s to come along our bay.”

Many foundations also provided financial support including The Patterson Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.

“Each member of our community has the opportunity to help our Bayfront evolve into a resource that will be accessible and enjoyable for generations to come,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, which provided $300,000 in catalytic funding to support SBPO’s work. “SBPO’s commitment to engaging the very best master-planning team and working deliberately with stakeholders from multiple sectors to inform the project’s path going forward will surely result in a positive return on everyone’s investment.”

The funds will be used to hire the leadership team along with planning and design firm, Sasaki, to create a financially feasible, operationally viable, and environmentally sustainable master plan for the City Commission to review and approve in the Fall of 2018.

“2017 has been a year of important pre-planning for the SBPO Board,” said AG Lafley, Board Chair for SBPO. “We are grateful for the generous financial support from local foundations and private individuals. We look forward to beginning master planning efforts with the very capable and experienced team of Sasaki, Managing Director Bill Waddill and City Planning Director Steve Cover.”

The community is encouraged to meet this leadership planning team next week during a series of events to kick off the beginning phases of the master plan creation. The timeline and event listing is:

Monday, December 4:
• 6:00 – 7:00 PM – Sasaki will be introduced to the City Commission at City Hall, 1565 1st St., Sarasota
Tuesday, December 5:
• 10:00 – 11:00 AM – Sasaki will be introduced to the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations at the Municipal Auditorium, 801 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
• 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Sasaki will present at the SBPO Board Meeting at the Blue Pagoda, 655 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
• 5:00 – 6:00 PM – Sasaki will be introduced to the Sarasota Bayfront 2020 membership at the Arts and Cultural Alliance, 1226 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Wednesday, December 6:
• 4:00 – 6:30 PM – Herald Tribune Community Forum/Panel and Reception – RSVP’s required by calling 941-361-4065 by Monday, December 4 – at the Van Wezel Grand Foyer, 777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
For more information, please visit or contact Mike Marraccini at or by calling 941-914-5324.

About Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO)

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO), a 501(c)(3) corporation, was formed in 2016, building on work completed by the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 organization to advance the development of City-owned land along the Sarasota Bayfront. This private-public partnership is headed by a nine-person board comprised of trusted and experienced individuals with a diverse set of competencies, and is privately funded by the private sector and local foundations, including The Patterson Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Selby Foundation, Barancik Foundation and Berlin Foundation. The SBPO is tasked with ensuring the delivery of a professionally prepared master plan for the sustainable development of the 42-acre Sarasota Bayfront in accordance with the Guiding Principles established by Bayfront 20:20 constituents which were subsequently adopted and approved by the City of Sarasota Commission. The SBPO will propose an operating structure that will professionally manage the Sarasota Bayfront Project during and following construction. For more information, visit