Giving, Great and Small

By staff September 1, 2003

The Sarasota area ranks among the highest in the nation for charitable giving, and we've been blessed with a population that understands the importance of helping others. Those who came before us have left a legacy of service that we are privileged to continue, so that those who come after will find a Sarasota with the same energy and beauty that we celebrate today.

This year we said good-bye to two shining examples of our city's spirit of generosity-Kathryn "Babe" Weiller and Roberta Sudakoff, women whose works are evident everywhere.

Over the course of her 96 years, Babe Weiller devoted her vast energies to The Boys Club, Florida West Coast Symphony, Women's Resource Center and Smith College. But this diminutive ball of energy-she played tennis and taught yoga almost up until her death-is remembered most for her work with the YMCA, where her legacy began in the early '60s and culminated in an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness center that bears her name. Her good friend Karin Gustafson, president of the YMCA Foundation, once said, "Babe is all about loving people. Joy just bounces off her when she's interacting with others."

At 91 years young, Roberta Sudakoff passed after decades of philanthropy that helped construct arts buildings throughout the area, including the Sudakoff Center at New College of Florida. Cognizant of the need to foster arts training in the young, she sponsored yearly playwriting classes for children at Florida Studio Theatre and supported nearly 25 different organizations.

We dedicate this year's edition to Weiller and Sudakoff, and to all of Sarasota's philanthropists, great and small, who give of their time and finances to make our city a great place to live. They exemplify the spirit of the Official Sarasota Charity Register, where you'll meet some of the people who are making a real difference in our community today. We also showcase nearly 200 not-for-profit agencies so you can find a way to support the worthwhile organization of your choosing, whether it is through a modest investment of time or talents, or funding a major gift.

Enjoy the issue. Find your niche, your philanthropic cause. Then you will be making your own contribution to the future of our community. That's how charity works. It's a beautiful thing.

Jimmy Dean

Publisher and President,

Gulfshore Media

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