BRADENTON_ROCKS.jpgBRADENTON, FL— Realize Bradenton and Michael Saunders & Company West Bradenton Office have joined forces to create #BradentonROCKS, a creative social media campaign to showcase Bradenton’s civic pride. From August 10 to 31, people who love Bradenton are asked to personalize a rock, snap a photo of themselves and their rock, and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #BradentonROCKS to build the buzz for Bradenton, Realize Bradenton, and the 2015 Giving Challenge. In addition to helping Realize Bradenton build the buzz, Michael Saunders & Company West Bradenton is donating $5,000 to challenge Realize Bradenton donors to double their impact.

This collaboration is part of the 2015 Giving Challenge, an online fundraising event benefiting approximately 412 participating regional nonprofits that raised more than $3.12 million in the 2014 Giving Challenge. Hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Giving Challenge takes place September 1-2, from noon to noon. Donors can make their online donations during this 24-hour period to Realize Bradenton at by searching for “Realize Bradenton.” New donors, or those who did not give to Realize Bradenton in 2014 will have their contributions matched up to $250 by The Patterson Foundation.

Why a rock?

BRADENTON_ROCKS_JOHNETTE_ISHAM_WITH_A_ROCK.jpg"Bradenton rocks—and it's the people who live and work here who make it rock," explains Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. "We want to let the whole world know about the 75-plus events that bring people together from around the world to Bradenton's happening downtown." She adds that the organization is "thrilled to partner with the Realtors of the Michael Saunders & Company West Bradenton Office as part of the 2015 Giving Challenge’s “Business Partnership” initiative.

Linda Formella, managing broker and longtime Bradenton resident expressed her enthusiasm for the collaboration by saying: “Michael Saunders & Company has deep roots in the community. Our dedicated agents are part of the fabric of Bradenton, living and serving in the local neighborhoods and civic organizations. We are proud to collaborate with Realize Bradenton as we showcase the wonderful lifestyle that Bradenton has to offer! From the shores of the Manatee River, to the sandy beaches of the Islands, and the thriving Main Street scene we know #BradentonROCKS!”

How to participate?

Bradenton fans can find their own rock or receive one at the Realize Bradenton office by calling Catherine Ferrer, community engagement coordinator, at 941-447-9406. They then need to customize their rock using hashtag #BradentonROCKS and a word or two that describes their favorite attribute about Bradenton, and share a picture of it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #BradentonROCKS and #GivingChallenge15 hashtags.

What to write on the rock?

BRADENTON_ROCKS_CATHERINE_FERRER_WITH_A_ROCK.jpg"Think about one or two words that sum up what you love about Bradenton," says Ferrer. "This can include such locations, initiatives and events as the Riverwalk, music and arts festivals, favorite restaurants and businesses, the Farmers’ Market and other attractions. Ferrer suggests using paint or Sharpie markers to write the message. Then, take a picture of yourself with your rock and share on social media using hashtag #BradentonROCKS and #GivingChallenge15.

The 2015 Giving Challenge is made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. The 2015 Giving Challenge is Tuesday, September 1, at noon through Wednesday, September 2, at noon. Donors can make their gifts online at by searching for Realize Bradenton.

For more information about #BradentonROCKS, contact Catherine Ferrer at 941-447-9406 or visit

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