Bay Park Conservancy

The Bay Park Conservancy Awarded $150,000 Grant by Gulf Coast Community Foundation 

Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded The Bay Park Conservancy an additional $150,000 grant to support the development of Phase 2 of the park on Sarasota Bay, bringing Gulf Coast’s cumulative contributions to more than $1 million in direct donations. The funding will help transform land that is mostly a parking lot into a blue-and-green oasis, celebrating nature and promoting environmental sustainability and accessibility.

Gulf Coast’s contributions have gone toward developing open, accessible green spaces such as Common Ground lawns, as well as targeted sustainability efforts to improve water quality and shoreline health, ensuring the environmental legacy of the park.

“Gulf Coast Community Foundation, alongside their donors and investors, have been generous supporters of The Bay since the beginning of the initiative,” said AG Lafley, founding CEO of The Bay Park Conservancy. “Thanks to their contributions, our Common Ground lawns and bayfront trail improvements are becoming a reality, providing an open, accessible, free and welcoming space for our community to gather.”

Bay Park Conservancy

“The Bay Park project is preserving and restoring our beautiful bayfront as a public asset for generations to come,” said Jon Thaxton, Senior Vice President of Community Leadership at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Gulf Coast’s vision is a thriving community with opportunities for all, and we will continue to support the project until its completion.”

“At Gulf Coast, we believe in bold and proactive philanthropy and systemic change. The Bay Park project ensures that this incredible piece of bayfront property will be free, open, and accessible for all in perpetuity. This site will provide water quality improvements that turn back the hands of time, correct the past, and remove pollutants that have been running off into the bay for one hundred years,” said Thaxton.

For more information about The Bay Park Conservancy, visit The Bay Sarasota or contact Julia Groom at or 941-786-8732.

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Headquartered in Venice, Fla., and with a second office in downtown Sarasota, Fla., Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed the region through bold and proactive philanthropy for over 25 years. Serving the needs of the region as a partner in philanthropy, and leader in community initiatives, Gulf Coast has granted $473 million in the areas of: health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Gulf Coast was named one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” nationally by The Nonprofit Times in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2020, and 2021. To learn more visit Gulf Coast CF and follow us on Facebook at @GulfCoastCommFnd.   

About The Bay

The approved Bay Master Plan will conserve 53 acres of city-owned land and create an iconic public park along Sarasota Bay. The Bay is on track to open phase one of the park in the fall of 2022, providing an iconic destination that will welcome everyone to Sarasota. The Park will cost about $100-150 million and will take between 7-10 years, over 3 or more phases to complete. The Blue Pagoda serves as a welcome

center for visitors and an on-site office for The Bay Park Conservancy. For more information or general inquiries about this initiative, please visit The Bay Sarasota or call 941-203-5316.

About The Bay Park Conservancy

The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC) was formed as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization in 2019 to implement the master plan approved by the Sarasota City Commission to conserve 53 acres of public land for a community park on Sarasota Bay. The BPC entered a long-term partnership with the City and will fund, develop, operate, and sustain the park for the benefit of the community, now, and for generations to come. For more information, visit The Bay Sarasota.

Photos from Bay Park Conservancy

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