CASA launches Covid-19 relief fund

CASA, the official domestic violence center for Pinellas County,  had to cancel a major fundraising event and temporarily close its thrift store due to the Covid-19 crisis.

But the organization averted what could have been a major hit to its bottom line, when Tech Data, a Clearwater-based IT distributor, converted its presenting sponsorship for the spring gala into the champion sponsorship for a newly established CASA Covid-19 relief fund.

Nearly every sponsor f0r CASA’s gala followed suit, a news release said.

CASA now has raised a total of $140,000 to launch the fund, said Taylor Withers, CASA’s director of marketing and communications. The news release lists nearly 50 local businesses and individuals who have contributed and invites others to donate by clicking here.

The fund will offset the revenue lost from the cancelled gala and temporary thrift store shutdown, and comes at a time when CASA really needs the funding, the news release indicated.

Globally, there’s been an increase in domestic violence during the pandemic. CASA saw a 49 percent increase in calls to its emergency hotline in April.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of our community during this difficult time,” said Lariana Forsythe, CASA CEO. “These individuals and businesses who have contributed to our Covid-19 Relief Fund will help make up the critical revenue we had budgeted for this spring.”

For Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), the largest public company headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, the choice to support the cause was clear, said Linda Rendleman,  senior vice president, endpoint solutions, Americas at Tech Data. Rendleman also is CASA’s board of directors vice chair.

“For over 25 years Tech Data has focused on CASA’s mission through community education, philanthropy, and employee engagement and we know CASA’s resources are critical for our community now more than ever,” Rendleman said.

Another way to help is by purchasing a “Home Should Be A Safe Place” yard sign, available here, the organization said. 

The CASA Thrift Store at 1011 1st Ave. N. in St. Petersburg reopened for business on a limited basis on May 11. Masks are strongly encouraged and customers are asked to maintain a 6-foot distance from other shoppers.

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at

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