Life Changing Gifts

Two young girls solving a puzzle in a classroom
A girl in a yellow shirt eating lunch in a classroom

"Chuck and Margie wanted all children to have a fair chance at a good life. Now and into the future, our goal will always be to ensure that children and their families have the opportunities they need to build bridges to better futures."

Investment in the Future

Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation has been leading the charge of investing in the future of our community since its inception in 2014. The Foundation was established by Charles and Margery Barancik with the belief in the power of philanthropy to change the world and enrich the lives of all people.

Over the course of nine years, the Barancik Foundation has invested over $1.9 million in Children First. Their support has grown existing programs, created new programs, and ensured we have the ability to continue providing comprehensive services to the most at-risk children and families in our community.

In November 2019, Barancik Foundation awarded Children First its largest private gift in its agency history: a six-year, $1.25 million transformational grant to expand and enhance its family strengthening services. This investment continues to create a generational cycle of opportunity for families by giving parents the chance to receive training, education, and ultimately achieve self-sufficiency.

Teri states this investment became a priority because “a child’s success begins within their family. That’s why when children are enrolled at Children First, parents and caregivers are welcomed into the program as well. We viewed this multi-year grant as a signature strategic investment into Sarasota County’s leading infant and childcare provider and the families it serves.

An illustration of a tree with colourful foliage and plants surrounding it

"The best gift one can give to another is the gift of opportunity."

- Rev. Brock Leach -

Board Chair 2023 and 2013-2015

Thanks to many generous donors, vulnerable children and their families can dream big and reach heights they never imagined.

Dr. Elaine Marieb founded “Elaine’s Kids,” a program that provides at-risk children with enriched language, reading and math instruction each summer to better prepare them to enter kindergarten in the fall.

Dr. Marieb later decided to expand her giving with a Legacy Gift of $1 Million to Children First, ensuring that the organization can continue Elaine’s Kids and other programs serving children and families in need.

n recognition of this amazing gift, the main campus of Children First was named the “Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center.”

Dr. Elaine Marieb passed away on Thursday, December 20th, 2018 in Naples, at the age of 82. Her love for education far surpassed the standard classroom, and we will always be grateful for her dedication to our children and families.

A group shot with Elaine, Phil and children of Elaine's Kids

"I think her intent was to have a long-standing impact in geographic areas that were relevant to her, but more importantly to individuals that were relevant to her. Her experience coming up from a modest background and being given the opportunity for higher education, she wanted to impart that on as many people as she could."

- Marty Wasmer -

Trustee of The Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation

A group shot including Gerri Aaron and Phil Tavill in front of the "Gerri Aaron Educational Wing"

Gerri Aaron Raised Her Hand for Children First

Ms. Gerri Aaron showed her dedication and commitment to local children and families with a very generous gift to the Raise Your Hand campaign. In honor of her tremendous support, the “Gerri Aaron Educational Wing” was unveiled in early 2016.

In Gerri’s words, her goal was “to encourage others to furnish aid and understanding for the provision of a broad foundation for life training to children here at Children First.”

Gerri Aaron passed away on February 14th, 2019 after a brief illness. Her commitment to providing every person, regardless of station in life, the opportunity to live a full and rewarding life is to be valued as being at the core of her being.

"Gerri had such a great deal of compassion for people, especially those who were struggling or in need. She would never think of putting anyone down or think she was better because she had something they didn't."

- Jo Rutstein -

Longtime Friend