You don’t often think of local government policies as being relational, or focused on impact and philanthropy. Yet, the city of Largo identifies its stakeholders as both internal and external, and impact as an opportunity to govern in a more connected way.
Largo’s Local Government Ensures a Community of Choice and Caring Through Employee Philanthropy
At first glance, the city of Largo, Florida, might seem like any other municipality. However, it is a full-service city, offering police, fire rescue, solid waste management, recreation, parks, and arts services to more than 82,000 residents.
As the fourth largest city in the Tampa Bay area, Largo boasts 640 acres of parkland, more than 4,500 businesses, and nearly 1,000 employees.
A further look reveals it’s a great place to work. In 2023, Largo was named a National Top Workplace for the third year in a row by Top Workplaces, the nation’s leading employer-recognition program. This award measures overall workplace culture, including living out mission, vision, and values, in addition to employee engagement. As part of this recognition, the city of Largo earned two Culture Badges, highlighting its strengths of having supportive managers and clued-in employees.
Throughout 2023, PCF will share stories from local government, higher education, and private businesses that inspire you to lead in caring and empathetic ways. Philanthropy, in all forms, is generosity, and we want to celebrate the examples surrounding us in Pinellas County. In whichever culture you work or lead, be a voice to build or refine it with kindness. #CultureOfCaring
Where You Work Can Be a Catalyst for How You Give
In 2020, Largo implemented an Employee Volunteer Program, which pays team members their salary, up to 40 hours annually, to volunteer their time with organizations that impact the greater Largo community by providing social, economic, or environmental benefits.
While employees enjoy a tangible professional development experience, the city benefits through relationship-building, expanded partnerships with organizations serving residents, and employee growth that develops an understanding of local experiences to help inform their city-related responsibilities.
This policy is the most robust in Pinellas County and promotes trust, caring, and deeper connection in the community. With nearly 1,000 employees eligible to participate in the program, there is a significant opportunity to engage in volunteerism and support local nonprofits. If every team member took advantage of this opportunity, Largo would likely contribute well over $1 million to our local nonprofits and broader community.
Supporting Those Closest to the Issues
In 2022, the city of Largo set aside a portion of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide some financial relief to the nonprofit organizations that offer crucial safety net services supporting residents’ most basic needs, from food and childcare to education and mental wellness support services for all ages.
Largo Mayor Woody Brown says, “Local governments often share a close bond with the nonprofit sector for the fundamental role they serve in creating a more equitable and thriving community that fosters civic engagement and even economic growth.”
The city dispersed these funds via a streamlined grant process that PCF considers to be an ideal example of how local governments can embrace a trust-based philanthropy model. Largo staff members hosted several gatherings, including a community forum attended by 31 local nonprofit leaders to discuss the most-pressing and long-term needs across the community, as well as follow-up meetings and networking events to keep the lines of communication open between nonprofits and city leadership.
Mayor Brown shares that “after hearing of the impacts facing these organizations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the needs expressed by residents, it was necessary to do more to lift up and empower our community. Largo’s Safety Net Grant program was designed to bolster the organizations that were already in place, supporting our community through vital programs and services.”
He adds, “I am proud of Largo’s philanthropic spirit, demonstrated as part of this program, and its ability to provide needed relief to organizations that help strengthen the fabric of our community.”
Philanthropy Is About Relationships and Impact
Trust-based philanthropy has a framework of six practices that support more equity between grant-makers and grantees, including multiyear unrestricted funding, flexible funding, and simplified and streamlined paperwork. At Pinellas Community Foundation, we believe that the key to developing trust-based philanthropic ventures is deeper awareness and relationships: knowing the communities, their challenges, and the leadership of the hands-on organizations working within them.
Largo’s commitment to philanthropy inspires Pinellas Community Foundation’s staff, board, and members. Congratulations, Team Largo, for all you do to bring impact home.
Create a Culture of Caring
If your organization is ready to create a more caring culture, PCF Director of Donor and Advisor Relations Leigh Davis will gladly assist you with options.