Senior Vice President for Philanthropy
Kirstin has been with Gulf Coast for almost 20 years and has played numerous integral roles on many teams throughout her tenure. As Senior Vice President for Philanthropy she transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy through her work with Gulf Coast’s family of donors. Kirstin leads the Philanthropy Team’s efforts to engage nonprofits, donors, professional advisors, and local leaders in building a culture of generosity throughout our community. She puts her expertise in community leadership, complex charitable gifts, planned giving, strategic fundraising, and family philanthropy to work for the greater good. Kirstin has an MBA from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and being outside in nature.
As a member of our philanthropic services team, C.J. works closely with our donors and professional advisors to transform our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Prior to her work at Gulf Coast, she served as the Chief Development Officer at Sarasota Military Academy, helping to launch their foundation. Prior to that, as Director of Veterans Services for Goodwill Manasota, she led Goodwill’s efforts to raise funds through philanthropy, planned giving, and local, state and federal grants in order to provide services to returning veterans, who face heightened risks of unemployment, personal problems, and homelessness.
C.J. herself is a veteran. After graduating from high school, she joined the United States Air Force, where she worked as a Crew Chief for four years and subsequently cross-trained to be a Paralegal and worked with the JAG for the remainder of her service. Bannister earned the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) as well as many awards and medals, including: Basic Military Training Honor Graduate, The John Levitow Award at Airman Leadership School, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Military Education Award, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. Bannister served from 1993 until 2001, when she ended her military career as a non-commissioned officer.
After leaving the Air Force, she attended International College (now known as Hodges University in Naples, FL) toward a BS in Management and also worked full time as a Paralegal. C.J. began her career as a financial advisor in 2007, helping individuals with investment and financial needs.
Bannister is dedicated to helping others and passionate about giving back and making a difference. She sits on the board of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, is a graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute, and has almost 19 years of experience in this community giving back, growing business and programs, as well as establishing and maintaining meaningful partnerships.
Lauren joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in 2022 as a Philanthropic Advisor. Lauren is a seasoned philanthropic steward with over 20 years in the nonprofit industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Flute Performance from DePauw University. Prior to Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Lauren was the Director of Donor Engagement, Individual and Corporate Giving for seven years with Sarasota Orchestra. Lauren has also held development positions at The Out-of-Door Academy, Girls Inc. of Sarasota, Young Concert Artists, and the New York Philharmonic. She is a former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southwest Florida Chapter and a 2016 graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. In her role at Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Lauren works directly with donors to maximize their philanthropic impact in our region.
Sasha Pyatte, CFRE
Sasha joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in May 2022. She is an experienced development executive with over 15 years of experience in fundraising, communications, donor cultivation, stewardship, marketing, and public speaking. As a Philanthropic Advisor, she works closely with our incredible donors to help realize their philanthropic goals and have the biggest impact possible. Prior to Gulf Coast, Sasha served as Director of Advancement & Strategic Partnerships at the Van Wezel Foundation, Executive Director of the AdventHealth Zephyrhills and Dade City Foundation, and Director of Philanthropy for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Sasha enjoys live music, shopping local, and cooking and spending time on the water with her husband and two pups. Sasha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Central Florida and has earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).
As a member of our Development team, Kristin engages with our donors allowing them to realize their philanthropic potential. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing Gulf Coast’s scholarship program which provides greater access to postsecondary education for local area students. Prior to joining the foundation in 2011, Kristin worked in the fast-paced world of television news as a video editor for WWSB ABC7 in Sarasota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunication production from the University of Florida. (Go Gators!) Her claim to fame is representing the country as a member of Team USA at the Bally Total Fitness World Aerobics Championship in 1999. She did not help lead the team to victory. For exercise these days, she and her husband can be found chasing around their two children.
Priscilla joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in the May of 2022 as a Philanthropic Administrator. Priscilla formerly worked in donor relations and communications with several Christian nonprofits in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Using her donor development and coordination skills, Priscilla works with our Philanthropy team to connect with donors and assist them in establishing and maintaining their funds. Priscilla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication from Cornerstone University. She most enjoys spending time in the community, building relationships with the wonderful people of Venice, and celebrating all that the area has to offer. Her favorite leisure activities are spending time in nature, playing games with friends, and exploring new activities.