2023 Lower Keys Grants Program

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys has funds to offer small grants, normally up to $3,000, for specific programs, projects, and/or urgent needs for 501(c)(3) nonprofits and faith-based organizations headquartered from Big Pine to Big Coppitt.

 

Only 501c3 charitable nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply. Grants must serve Big Pine to Big Coppitt exclusively. Please contact the Community Foundation with any questions you have about the eligibility of your organization or grant-proposal idea. Grants must be for a current project and not to be used for a structure or a capital campaign, or to cover regular administrative costs.

Only one application per organization allowed.

Lower Keys Advisory Council

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys
National Key Deer Refuge
Big Pine Academy

We are committed to building a strong presence throughout Monroe County. The Lower Keys Future Fund will support grants specifically in the Lower Keys, not including the city of Key West (which receives support through the Community Foundation’s Future Fund, annual grant program, and numerous donor funds). 

Lower Keys Future Fund

The Lower Keys Future Fund supports grants in all areas, including the arts, environment, healthcare, education, animal welfare, and more, to local nonprofits based in or specifically serving the Lower Keys, not including the city of Key West. The Fund expands the Community Foundation’s impact, increases its resources, and provides grants to benefit Lower Keys residents.

Lower Keys Advisory Council

Eight Lower Keys civic and business leaders are the charter members of the new Lower Keys Advisory Council, part of a series of initiatives to continue broadening CFFK’s mission, grantmaking, philanthropic donor base, and public awareness from Big Coppitt Key to Big Pine Key.

Advisory Council members, who meet quarterly throughout the year, specifically help build philanthropy in the Lower Keys, raise awareness and advocate for the Community Foundation, advise CFFK on local needs and initiatives, identify potential nonprofits as grant applicants, and advise the CFFK Grants Committee on funding recommendations.

Members of the Lower Keys Advisory Council:

Heidi Morris, Chair

Heidi Morris has lived in the Lower Keys since 2017, when she opened The UPS Store on Big Pine Key. The mother of three, along with her husband of 25 years, vacationed here and fell in love with the islands. Heidi has a business degree from Westin College and climbed the corporate ladder at Radio Shack until opening her own successful business in Colorado which she ran for over 10 years. Heidi is a graduate of Leadership Monroe County Class XXVIII, and served as president of the Lower Keys Rotary, president for the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, is a founding volunteer for the Monroe Emergency Reserve Corps and is an emergency shelter manager. She is an amateur radio operator, and her hobbies include scuba diving, snorkeling, and quilting.

Bill Becker

Bill Becker has lived in the Lower Keys for 50 years. He is happily retired on Sugarloaf Key after four decades as news director at US1 Radio 104.1 FM. Bill is well known for hosting US1’s 90-minute “Morning Magazine” each weekday morning and upon his retirement, the studio was named the Bill Becker Studio. A native of New York, Becker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine biology. After graduation he moved to the Keys to teach marine biology at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute at Sea Camp in Big Pine, where he worked for 10 years. Bill is co-founder of the annual Underwater Music Festival and a past president of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce. He enjoys gardening and spending time with his wife Bernadette, two daughters and four grandchildren.

Susan Eanes

Susan Eanes is a member of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys’ Legacy Society.  She has lived in the Keys for 35 years and was the owner of Big Pine Liquors for 19 years. Susan was an active volunteer on the Habitat for Humanity of Key West & the Lower Florida Keys’ family selection committee for many years, helping prospective homeowners through the application and selection process. She is a founding member of the Lower Keys Rotary Club and has long served as its Sergeant-at-Arms. Susan has volunteered with many organizations since retiring and is an avid supporter of many local charities. She is a proud member of Class XI of Leadership Monroe County. Susan is an avid reader and animal lover and enjoys the beauty of the Keys.

Josephine Gueverra

Josephine Gueverra has been a resident of Big Pine Key since 2012. While living in Massachusetts, she worked for Mass Health, helping provide long-term support for people in need but not living in nursing homes and facilities, and managed her town’s youth soccer team uniform program. At the State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton, Josephine worked as a counselor in the Equal Opportunity Program and served as the SUNY Canton gospel choir manager. While in Alexandria, Virginia, she volunteered for three years helping youth navigate the Fairfax County court-appointed special advocates’ program. Josephine has volunteered for the National Key Deer Refuge and helps College of the Florida Keys students build trash corrals for Big Pine residents, to help keep Key deer safe.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller is the current Executive Director for the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce and a On Air Personality on 98.7 Conch Country and U.S. 1 Radio. Steve is a graduate of Leadership Monroe County (Class 12), after coming to the Keys in 1984. In the 1990’s he started coaching Little League Baseball and eventually Youth Football. Steve went on to become President of the Big Pine Athletic Association, and later became Chairman of the Parks and Recs advisory board. He is a 2-time President of the Lower Keys Rotary, 3-time President of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, President of the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation and also a Mentor for Take Stock in Children. Steve’s motto is; You may not be able to change the World, but you can make a difference.

Nancy Noblitt

Nancy Noblitt has lived in Summerland Key since 2006. She spent years as a teacher and an avid parent volunteer. She is active in numerous personal philanthropic endeavors, ranging from environmental conservation to improved access to higher education, and has served as a mentor for Keys to Be The Change. Nancy is most passionate about her family and is a dedicated grandmother. She is often found helping with her grandchildren – both human and canine! She loves reading, crafting, and spending time with loved ones.

Lainie Plotnik

Lainie Plotnik brings an important perspective to the group as a new full-time resident of Cudjoe Key in 2021. She is a Certified Public Accountant and currently works in the accounting department at Keys Fisheries in Marathon. She moved to the Keys from Fort Myers, and prior to that, Lainie lived in Minnesota and worked for ALLETE-Minnesota Power in various roles. In addition, she was a long-standing board member of the United Way, where she served on the grants committee, and she volunteer with numerous other organizations. In her spare time, Lainie enjoys shelling, biking, cooking, and fishing with her husband Paul.

Rita Troxel

Rita Troxel has lived in the Keys for nearly 50 years and is author of Home at the End of the World, a compilation of first-person, non-fiction stories of Key West in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. She worked for 22 years as the Tourism Development Council’s Film Commissioner for the Florida Keys & Key West. In addition to movies, Rita was closely involved with television productions including the Netflix original series Bloodline. Rita was born in Washington DC and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Theater from Virginia Commonwealth University. After moving to the Keys in 1974, she was a founding member of Greene Street Theatre, when Tennessee Williams was actively involved with its first play. Rita is an actress and painter and serves on the board of The Studios of Key West. She is married to dentist Fred Troxel and enjoys spending time with her daughter, four stepsons, and grandchildren.

Kevin Walden

Kevin Walden is a proud graduate of Hampton University in Virginia and he also has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. Kevin moved to the Florida Keys in 1997 from New Jersey where he was an Industrial and Environmental Chemist in his previous career. Kevin is currently an Assistant Principal at Sugarloaf School and resides in Big Pine Key. Once moving to the Keys, he began his career path as an educator with Monroe County School District as a teacher at Sugarloaf School. Prior to becoming an Assistant Principal in 2022, he served as the Schools Technology Integration Specialist and took the lead in his school piloting the districts 1:1 Student computer device initiative that is now districtwide. Kevin has served as a Coach for the Monroe County Chapter of Special Olympics and enjoyed his time working with adults from the MARC house as they competed in various county and state Olympic competitions. ” “It is my hope that by serving as a member of this council I can be an additional voice and give a unique perspective as to the needs of our very diverse student population.

To contact the Advisory Council, email lowerkeys@cffk.org

Regional Advisory Councils

Learn more about the role of Regional Advisors and how the Advisory Councils are helping CFFK here.

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