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2023 Grant Program

“Up and Over for the Florida Keys”

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys awarded grants totaling $500,800 to 49 Keys nonprofits for projects in all areas of the Keys that will directly benefit our residents, communities, and environment.

Ten different community members representing Key West, the Lower Keys, the Middle Keys and Upper Keys reviewed and scored grant applications received for the 2023 “Up and Over, for the Keys” requests from 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits and faith-based organizations.

“The need is greater than ever as we received 113 applications. Last year, there were only 57,” said Jennifer McComb, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys.

The Community Foundation is giving out three and a half times the $144,500 it granted to 27 organizations when she first oversaw the process in 2020, McComb said. The dollars awarded this year are 63% higher than the $307,750 granted to 48 Keys nonprofits in 2022 and $215,266 granted to 35 organizations in 2021.

In total, the Community Foundation grants over $2 million a year, but most of the funding is restricted to specific nonprofits, per the wishes of individual donors.

Grants committee chair Marian Buccafurni said that the reviewers scored programs for basic needs like food, housing, childcare, and health care highest, as well as projects that would help a large number of residents or be one-time fixes for serious issues, like the lack of a computerized identification system for individuals staying at the homeless shelter.

McComb said that strong trends in this year’s applications revealed a disquieting state of nonprofits in the Florida Keys. “Volunteers and staff at organizations both large and small are having to pursue creative solutions to their challenges,” she said, “but there was a sentiment of hope and pride for the Keys community threading throughout the proposals.”

First-time grantees of the Community Foundation were the Islamorada Fire Fighters Benevolent Association, the Plant a Million Corals Foundation based in Summerland Key, and the Southernmost Hockey Club in Key West.

“And This Year’s Grantees Are . . .”


A Positive Step, Inc.

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To fund summer jobs for Key West High School students participating in the Idle Hands Summer Youth Program, providing mentorship, workforce preparation, and proven violence reduction.

Active Disabled Americans

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help purchase a power chair lift system for its new vessel, Unbound II; the equipment allows individuals with physical challenges to be placed safely in and out of the water.

AH of Monroe County Inc.

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To provide food vouchers for eligible individuals Keyswide, who are living with HIV/AIDS or other disabilities, and the elderly living within one of the agency’s residential units.

Anchors Aweigh Club, Inc.

    • Amount: $2,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase and install new hardware and software for the concession counter at the Key West clubhouse, and to purchase a new desktop computer for the administrative office.

Chapters Health Foundation, Inc.

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund its Caregiver Support Program, providing hospice care Keyswide for individuals who cannot afford services since they are economically challenged, uninsured or underinsured.

Conch Republic Marine Army

    • Amount: $2,500.00
    • Purpose: To purchase a ladder for its new boat to help elderly volunteers in getting on and off the boat as they participate in backcountry cleanups to help restore mangrove habitats.

Cornerstone Resource Alliance Inc.

    • Amount: $8,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase and install a computerized check-in/check-out system for the homeless shelter that will provide IDs to clients and enhance the security and efficiency of shelter operations.

Crane Point Museum & Nature Center

    • Amount: $8,000.00
    • Purpose: To provide scholarships for 80 financially challenged Marathon youth ages 5-11 to attend a week of Camp Crane in summer 2024.

Diocese Of Southeast Florida Saint Columba Episcopal Church

    • Amount: $3,500.00
    • Purpose: To help the organization with carrying costs of the Apartments @ 1655 while the 16 affordable workforce housing units are vacant and undergoing repairs after structural damage.

Domestic Abuse Shelter

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To provide direct financial assistance to its clients with needs related to preventing homelessness including utilities, rent, phone, and medication.

Educational Coalition for Monroe County

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund the Champions for Change weekend food pantry program for Marathon High School students, through the purchase of easy to prepare and easy to transport teenage-friendly foods that are provided in bags to students facing food insecurity.

First Baptist Islamorada Community Ministry

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help purchase high-quality, nutritious food to support increased demand at the only food pantry serving residents from Plantation Key to Long Key.

Florida Keys Area Health Education Center

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund dental equipment and supplies to support two new dental exam rooms at the Marathon office which will increase patient capacity by 40%.

Florida Keys Children’s Shelter Inc.

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase supplies and fund outings for seven one-week Jelsema Journey camps, serving at-risk youth ages 10-17.

Florida Keys Council of the Arts

    • Amount: $9,500.00
    • Purpose: To pay for outreach and fees for 3-5 local musicians at each of five “Connections Project” events, shining a light on the talented musicians Keyswide, their creative process, choice to live and entertain here, and how the community can best support them.

Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition

    • Amount: $13,000.00
    • Purpose: To fund translation services for families from Key West to Layton whose primary language is not English, to make sure the medical information is understood and to reduce waiting time in clinics.

Florida Keys Outreach Coalition

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase nutritious fresh and non-perishable foods, to help support increased demand at the Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Key West.

Florida Keys Wildlife Society

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help support electrical upgrades and safety improvements to a volunteer site in Big Pine Key to enable a third RV, for individuals who each provide 20 volunteer hours weekly at the Key Deer Refuge, the Nature Center, and the Nature Store in exchange for RV space.

Friends of Pennekamp

    • Amount: $4,800.00
    • Purpose: To cover one year’s cost of maintaining and broadcasting the Coral Cam, including Internet service and maintenance; the Coral Cam provides viewers anywhere in the world with the opportunity to see a living coral reef 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Friends of the Key West Library

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To fund digital book purchases beyond the regular library system budget, needed due to increased demand for digital books coupled with lower revenue from physical book sale fund.

Good Health Clinic

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To help pay medical staff who provide direct care to low-income, uninsured individuals, helping the clinic which is facing increased operation costs.

Grace Jones Community Center

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To help cover food costs to relaunch a weekend backpack program for Middle Keys youth, up to age 8, who depend on meals at school and face hunger on the weekends.

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys

    • Amount: $15,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase supplies and pay contractors for critical repairs to the homes of low-income older adults and people with disabilities between Big Pine Key and Stock Island, ensuring their ability to continue living safely and independently in their own homes.

Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase a new box truck, necessary for the operation of the first-ever ReStore in the Middle Keys; the truck will be used to pick up furniture donations to be sold in the ReStore with proceeds used to fund affordable housing.

Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To help pay for construction costs for affordable housing in Key Largo and Tavernier, offsetting a budget shortage due to the denial of State Appropriation Funds.

Islamorada Firefighters’ Benevolent Association Inc

    • Amount: $3,000.00
    • Purpose: To help cover costs of marine emergency response training for Villages of Islamorada firefighters and emergency medical service providers so they can operate a fire rescue vessel purchased from Collier County.

Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation Inc.

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund expenses of a mentorship program that pairs fishing captains with local at-risk youth; expenses include an online software platform and fishing gear.

Key West Botanical Garden Society

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To pay for buses for field trips from Monroe County Schools to the Botanical Garden in Key West, for hands-on experiential STEM learning at the Living Lab.

Key West Cultural Preservation Society

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To celebrate local artists by helping offset operating expenses of the Mallory Square sunset celebration, including rent and security costs.

Key West Preschool Cooperative

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase supplies including learning materials, toys, playground equipment, science experiments, rugs, chairs, sensory items, cleaning materials, classroom cameras, and office equipment.

Key West Wildlife Center, Inc

    • Amount: $2,500.00
    • Purpose: To help fund the purchase of an electric golf cart with a Lithium battery to improve the team’s already timely wildlife rescue response services in the greater Key West area.

Kids 4 Kids USA, Inc.

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To provide swimming lesson vouchers for 1st through 8th grade students in the Upper Keys who are at risk of drowning, including youth who cannot pass a water competency swim test.

Kids Come First In the Florida Keys, Inc.

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase items for 12 closets at 10 schools throughout the Keys available to families in need; the essential items will include school supplies, clothing, and shoes.

Literacy Volunteers of America

    • Amount: $12,000.00
    • Purpose: To support free Keyswide one-to-one and small group instruction from certified tutors who teach students the English language and how to integrate into U.S culture.

Marathon Community Theatre

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund free, year-round workshops for children ages 6-18 in dance, acting, design arts, lighting/sound design, direction, and stage management.

Metropolitan Community Church

    • Amount: $10,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to be used to prepare free weekly meals delivered by volunteers to Cooking with Love clients in Key West, many of whom are lonely, disabled, homebound, and live in senior or low-income housing.

Monroe Assoc for ReMARCable Citizens

    • Amount: $15,000.00
    • Purpose: To fund repairs and maintenance on eight handicapped-accessible transit vans, which are used to transport adults with disabilities from their homes Keyswide to adult day training programs and to their jobs.

Mote Marine Laboratory

    • Amount: $2,000.00
    • Purpose: To fund materials and supplies for hands-on, immersive marine science lessons to classrooms throughout the Keys for all grade levels, including topics such as climate change, reef relationships, and biodiversity.

Plant a Million Corals Foundation

    • Amount: $14,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase two water chillers for Summerland Farms to ensure adequate cool water for growing corals, and to purchase a generator for when solar panels are unable to meet the facility’s energy needs; with this equipment, the organization will be able to grow corals for outplanting in the Florida Keys.

Presents in Paradise

    • Amount: $5,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase clothing, shoes, bedding, and hygiene products for low-income children; with referrals from local schools, day cares, and food pantries, families Keyswide complete wish lists to “Rick’s Closet” with specifically requested items.

Reef Relief

    • Amount: $9,500.00
    • Purpose: To help fund an education coordinator and interns to support marine debris removal events, a stormwater education program, Coral Camp for Kids, school programs Keyswide, and educating residents and visitors.

Salvation Army

    • Amount: $3,000.00
    • Purpose: To purchase grocery and gas gift cards to provide one-time emergency assistance to families Keyswide who complete an approval process.

Samuel’s House Inc

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To upgrade the children’s area at the Mary Spottswood Women’s Center in Key West to a multi-functional Kid Zone to be used by children up to age 17, including a new gazebo or pergola style covering to provide full protection from the elements, a new workstation, improved ventilation and lightning, and new laptops.

South Florida Symphony Orchestra

    • Amount: $16,000.00
    • Purpose: To support its Symphony in the Schools program by paying professional musicians to perform in the “Preserving our Coral Reef” concerts at Key West, Marathon, and Coral Shores High Schools.

Southernmost Hockey Club

    • Amount: $2,500.00
    • Purpose: To recruit new members who want to play sports but need financial help, by funding need-based registration scholarships for youth ages 7-17 and to purchase hockey gear for players ages 10 and under who participate in a gear loan program.

Tennessee Williams Theatre

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To cover production expenses for a children’s outreach performance series; Keys youth will have the opportunity to experience the magic of three national touring productions which are adding free student performances and the school district is supplying buses and support.

Tropic Cinema

    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To provide seed money, to be matched by the organization, for a new staff member who will increase revenue through fund development, sponsorship and special events.

Wesley House Family Services Inc.

    • Amount: $15,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund teacher salaries at the Inez Martin Daycare Program in Key West, serving children ages two through five; recent closures of two other day care facilities increased demand and Inez Martin hired the teachers left jobless.


    • Amount: $20,000.00
    • Purpose: To help fund a part-time nurse practitioner so the organization can begin providing family planning and gynecology services in Marathon, at an affordable price and available to all Keys residents.


This year’s annual competitive grants were funded by generous donors representing the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Fund, the Banyan Grove Fund, the Charlie Barker Memorial Fund, the Virgil and Marjory Bumgarner Fund for the Visually Impaired, the Ron and Joyce Burd Fund, the William Monroe Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, the Jack M. Paul Fund, and the Betsey Blades Selig Memorial Endowment Fund.

Permanent legacy funds contributing to the grants program are the Baker Viana Performing Arts Endowment, the Emily Boyd Lowe Music Fund, the Jones-Delmonte Endowment, the William C. Euler Jr. and Andrew F. Oates Jr. Fund, and the Florence Fox-Loeb Key West Music and Theatre Arts Endowment.

Thank you to all the organizations who applied for the Up and Over Grant.

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