Congratulations to 10 Florida Keys nonprofits that have been awarded a total of $60,000 in grants through the Final Round of our 2016 “Vision 20/20” Grant Program as part of the Community Foundation’s 20th anniversary year celebration. Funding for the grants is made possible by gifts from generous donors who made legacy gifts from their estate plans.
The 10 grants are funding initiatives in the areas of Education, Environment, Animal Welfare and Recreation and will positively affect residents and visitors from young schoolchildren and youth of all ages to seniors, from Key West to Key Largo. Projects will provide new opportunities for environmental preservation and appreciation, health and wellness instruction, public safety and property protection, recreational training, literacy, and other educational activities.
In this round, the Grants Committee reviewed 37 applications and selected 10 for funding.
The 2016 “Vision 20/20” Grant Program funded $184,500 in grants through three rounds covering fields of interest served by the Foundation. The first round of grants supported $60,000 for 11 Health and Human Services initiatives (read more). The second round supported $64,500 for 14 Arts and Culture projects, and included additional funding from two donor funds at the Community Foundation, the Emily Boyd Lowe Fund and the Ross McKee Charitable Fund (read more).
The “Vision 20/20” Grant Program was open to Monroe County 501 (c)(3) charitable nonprofits. Priority was given to new projects, and grants were awarded based on innovation, community impact, and collaboration.
The Round Three grant recipients and their funded programs are:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of the Keys Area — $7,000 for “Positive Sprouts,” a program to improve health and wellness by teaching healthy food choices and nutritional alternatives to more than 125 youth ages 6 to 15. A collaboration with the Key West Garden Club, the project also includes planting and sustaining a garden for food.
- FIRM Keys — $10,000 for “Mitigation and Flood Proofing Outreach,” a project to develop curricula and products to educate Monroe County residential and commercial property owners and residents on ways to promote public safety, protect property, and reduce financial and casualty exposure due to losses from flood and sea level rise.
- Florida Keys SPCA — $6,000 for “Get Me Home,” a quarterly free animal microchipping clinic at shelter locations in Key West and Marathon. The project will provide secure microchip identification to 600 animals to help identify owners and expedite the return of some of the approximately 1,000 animals brought to Florida Keys animal shelters each year.
- Friends and Volunteers of Refuges – Florida Keys — $4,000 for “Bench Project: Upper Sugarloaf Trail, National Key Deer Refuge,” which will provide funding for six benches to be placed within the Upper Sugarloaf Trail Esplanade so residents and visitors can rest, observe and reflect on the natural beauty of the environment, wildlife and vegetation which spans Pine Rockland and Mangrove forests, salt marsh wetlands, and water views of the backcountry of the Lower Keys.
- Key West Girls Softball Recreational League — $8,000 for “Girls Softball Improvement Clinic,” a new, free softball instructional clinic in Key West to help young female athletes ages 8 to 18 improve their performance and confidence while attracting new participants to the sport.
- Literacy Volunteers of America — $5,000 to support “Little Conch House Pop-Up Library Project,” an initiative to make books more freely available within public spaces and encourage reading and education of all ages from children to seniors. Pop-up libraries will be located in areas such as the Key West Lions Club, Wesley House, Gato Building, at KAIR (providing emergency services), and Independency Cay (homeless services).
- Marathon Wild Bird Center — $4,000 to support “I Wanna Fly in the Sky: A Bird’s and Wildlife Collision Awareness Project,” a project to educate schoolchildren from kindergarten to second grade to dispel myths, be observant, and reduce the hazards that Keys’ resident and migrating wild birds encounter, including such topics as flying into windows.
- Rotary Club of Key West— $5,500 for “Student Field Trips to Dry Tortugas National Park,” a project to support more than 160 Keys middle school students to visit the Dry Tortugas and learn about its history and ecology on curriculum-based field trips led by National Park Service rangers.
- Upper Keys Artificial Reef Foundation — $10,000 for “Key Largo Educational and Environmental Center,” which will help support the establishment of a new 2,000 square foot learning destination for Environmental Education in the newly-renovated Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Building (at MM106). The center for residents and visitors, which will include visits from some of the 2,300 school children attending Upper Keys schools, will include hands-on activities, a local species touch tank, educational materials and media displays on the Florida Keys environment.
- Upper Keys Rotary Foundation — $500 to support “Plantation Keys School Literacy Coaching,” a program to create a culture of reading for approximately 450 Plantation Keys students and 700 Coral Shores students. The program offers positive tangible rewards for reading including custom lanyards with award pins and punch cards to redeem for awards to help improve literacy, graduation rates and college readiness.