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United Way of West Florida Announces Community Investment Grant Awards

United Way of West Florida (UWWF) works to create long-term solutions to the greatest community challenges in Escambia and Santa Rosa County. To achieve these solutions, UWWF invests in programs, administers local initiatives, and is involved in community partnerships. For the 2021-22 fiscal year, United Way of West Florida has awarded $700,000 in Community Investment grant awards to 26 nonprofit agencies in support of 31 programs. These programs provide critical services to individuals and families throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and focus on the areas of health, education, and financial stability.

 

The source of these grant funds is undesignated contributions from over 85 area workplace campaigns and individual donors. 2021-22 Community Investment grant awards are listed by focus area below.

 

Health Awards — $305,550 

 

  • Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy – Essential Health Access
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Center For Independent Living – Mobility Access Project
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Council on Aging of West Florida – Senior Companion Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Council on Aging of West Florida – Nutrition Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Embrace Florida Kids – Family Preservation and Girls Home
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Epilepsy Florida – Epilepsy Services and Resource Center
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Gulf Coast Kid’s House – Family Advocacy
    Serving Escambia County
  • Health and Hope Clinic – Access to Care
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Lutheran Services Florida – Sexual/Physical Abuse Treatment Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • MANNA Food Bank – Healthy Seniors Food Program
    Serving Escambia County
  • Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries – Hot, Healthy Meals
    Serving Escambia County
  • Santa Rosa Kid’s House – Trauma-Focused Therapy
    Serving Santa Rosa County

 

 

Education Awards – $229,505 

 

  • AMIkids – AMIkids Pensacola
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Autism Pensacola – Kids for Camp Summer Learning Lab
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida – Community Based Mentoring
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast – Academic Success
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers – Behavioral ABC’s
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Children’s Home Society of Florida – teenspace
    Serving Escambia County
  • Council on Aging of West Florida – Foster Grandparent Program
    Serving Escambia County
  • Escambia County Public Schools Foundation for Excellence – THAT Time: Treating Hygiene Absences Tactfully
    Serving Escambia County
  • Girl Scouts of Gateway Council – Community Development Troops
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Independence for the Blind of West Florida – Transition Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Teens
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • PACE Center for Girls – Girls Earning Diplomas (GED) Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • Pensacola’s Promise dba Chain Reaction – Chain Reaction
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

 

Financial Stability Awards – $164,944

  • Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida – Emergency Assistance
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties
  • FavorHouse of Northwest Florida – Financial Stability Program for Domestic Violence Victims
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

     

  • Feeding the Gulf Coast – Mobile Pantry Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

  • Legal Services of North Florida – Independence for Dependent and Homeless Youth
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

     

  • Legal Services of North Florida – Veterans Legal Assistance
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

     

  • Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola – Re-Entry Portal
    Serving Santa Rosa County

     

  • Waterfront Rescue Mission – Career Development Program
    Serving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

 

Disaster Response 

 

In addition to United Way of West Florida’s Community Investment process, the organization also raised $406,000 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were distributed to 18 agencies over two phases to assist with household expenses such as rent, mortgage assistance, utilities, healthcare, childcare, access to food, and more.

 

Gulf Power Foundation was the first corporate partner to provide support, making a generous contribution of $250,000. Additional corporate donations came from Florida Blue, Beach Community Bank, Wind Creek Hospitality, Eastman Foundation, Navy Federal Credit Union. Individual donor contributions totaled over $31,000.

 

United Way of West Florida also led local efforts to recover from the damage wrought by Hurricane Sally. With $100,000 from Navy Federal and additional gifts from the James M. Cox Foundation, Manheim, Publix Super Markets, Regions Bank, Beard Equipment Co., Florida Blue, Gulf Power, Target, Hancock Whitney, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, Synovus, Shoe Station, The First Bank, and Central Credit Union of Florida, more than $500,000 was raised to aid in our community’s recovery.

 

The Hurricane Sally Relief Fund is overseen by United Way of West Florida’s Community Investment Committee. Funding was approved to support 10 Escambia County and Santa Rosa County agencies for direct assistance to clients in the amount of $266,000 and an additional $72,500 to six agencies for repairs to their facilities and/or equipment. The remaining funds are being distributed collaboratively with the Long-Term Recovery Group Unmet Needs Committees in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

 

Connections to Help 

 

211 Northwest Florida, United Way of West Florida’s information and referral hotline, was critical in helping our community navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Sally. Over the last year, 211 helped 42,781 callers make more than 130,000 connections to community resources and services such as utility assistance, emergency food and shelter, counseling, mental health services, and more. Those 40,000-plus calls impacted 60,634 adults, 27,767 children, and 12,092 seniors.

 

211 Northwest Florida also expanded to incorporate text messaging service across its 8-county service area, available 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday simply by texting your zip code to 898-211. Standard 211 call service is available 24/7 by dialing 2-1-1 from any phone. The service is free and confidential.

 

The Florida Veteran’s Support Line, powered locally by 211 Northwest Florida, is a program of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay funded in part by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Florida Department of Children and Families. Similar to 211, The Florida Veteran’s Support Line (FVSL) is an information and referral service that connects veterans with fellow veterans that can provide emotional support and assistance accessing community resources.

Over the past year, 211 and FVSL combined to field 2,785 calls from veterans and/or family members in Northwest Florida. From those calls, 211 and the Florida Veteran’s Support Line helped 847 veterans receive support services and made 13,487 connections to community resources for veterans and their families in Northwest Florida.

 

Tax Preparation Assistance 

 

Each year, United Way of West Florida provides income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties earning $66,000 or less through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and online self-facilitated tax assistance through MyFreeTaxes.

 

Since 2020, IRS-certified VITA volunteers have served more than 7,000 hours, helping 5,371 individuals and families complete 2,082 tax returns and save $447,828.20 in preparation fees. Tax refunds totaled $5,889,401.38 with a leveraged Earned-Income Tax Credit (EITC).

 

In 2021, all tax preparation services were conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, VITA helped local tax filers receive Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments) totaling $189,489 and contributed to a Total Community Impact of over $1.25 million.

 

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