The Gulf Coast Community Foundation team

Image: Becca Bartels

For the second straight year, the leading national publication for nonprofit management has named Gulf Coast Community Foundation among the country’s “Best Nonprofits to Work For.”

The NonProfit Times ranked Gulf Coast 17th on its 2021 list of “Best Nonprofits.” The foundation placed seventh among small organizations (those with 15 to 49 employees). Last year, Gulf Coast was ranked 22nd overall and eighth among small employers. Notably, it was the only community foundation in the country to be selected this year or last.

Mark Pritchett

“The ‘Best Nonprofits’ recognition is really a testament to our board, our donors, and our nonprofit partners,” said Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s president and CEO. “In a uniquely challenging year, we actually moved up in our ranking from last year—which I find remarkable. That speaks to the trust our team feels from our board and the sense of agency they get from connecting donors with meaningful opportunities to make a visible difference.”

Conducted annually by The NonProfit Times, the “Best Nonprofits” program is designed to identify the best employers in the nonprofit sector and recognize leadership and strategies that can benefit the sector and those it serves. The results are based on a rigorous survey process open to nonprofits across the country. Among the differentiators that set apart employers that made this year’s list, according to The NonProfit Times, were confidence in their organization’s leadership and planning, satisfaction with its culture and communications, and overall engagement of employees.

Besides the list ranking, the “Best Nonprofits” program offers participating organizations the opportunity to obtain a benchmark report they can use for further organizational and staff development. That’s an especially valuable reason to participate, according to Veronica Thames, Gulf Coast’s chief operating officer.

“As an organization whose mission is to ‘transform our region,’ we know that engaging and empowering our staff translates directly into better results for our communities,” said Thames. “Members of our team have told me that the ability they had—and the responsibility they felt—to keep making a difference this past year, when so many people needed help, really added to their sense of satisfaction and purpose.”

Thames pointed out that three other Sarasota County–based organizations were honored as “Best Nonprofits” this year. Joining Gulf Coast on the 2021 list of “Best Nonprofits to Work For” were CAN Community Health, Florida Center for Early Childhood, and Children First. “Seeing four Sarasota County nonprofits selected among the 50 best in the country is just amazing!” Thames said. “It’s direct evidence of what we frequently hear and maybe even take for granted: The nonprofit sector in our region is second to none.”

For Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the 2021 “Best Nonprofits” honor comes at the same time it is completing the meticulous process to earn another important endorsement: renewal of its accreditation with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. The voluntary, peer-reviewed National Standards program certifies that community foundations meet and exceed federal and state law requirements in practice and by policy.

Greg Luberecki

“Reconfirming our compliance with National Standards shows our donors and our nonprofit partners, as well as policymakers and other funders, that Gulf Coast goes above and beyond what’s expected in our commitment to accountability, integrity, and excellence,” according to Greg Luberecki, the foundation’s corporate secretary. “The National Standards seal we receive signals that Gulf Coast is a sound place to give and make a difference.”

Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently submitted its application to renew its accreditation for three more years. It expects to complete the reaccreditation process by the summer. Gulf Coast was among the first community foundations in the country to be accredited by the Council on Foundations when the program was introduced back in the mid-2000s, and it has remained in continuous compliance ever since.

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