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Eight community changing initiatives funded by FHSP Empowerment Grants

Megan Holmes

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This week, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announced the eight nonprofit recipients of their Empowerment Grants. The grants are intended to serve as flexible funding for nonprofits, a critical need identified in the Foundation’s State of Nonprofits in Pinellas County report. According to the report, just 39 percent of local nonprofits said they have adequate funding to meet their needs.

Grant recipients address a number of community needs that affect health equity, including housing and homelessness, education, civic engagement and employment.

The largest grants will go to the League of Women Voters of Florida Education ($99,642) fund to create a “St. Petersburg Civic Health Index report” and identify solutions to the challenges identified in the report; Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board Inc. ($100,000) to pilot a program to find alternative housing for families with children outside of shelters; and Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg, Inc. ($100,000) to allow them to open a location within Jordan Park to provide programs for youth in the surrounding community.

Small and mid-size nonprofit and public organizations located in South Pinellas County whose operating budgets are below $2 million were eligible to apply for the grants, which ranged from $40,000 to $100,000. According to a press release from the Foundation, the funds can be used to “launch a new initiative, build organizational capacity, expand or sustain a successful project, start or strengthen a collaboration or convene and plan a future collaboration.”

 “Modestly scaled organizations do much of the heavy lifting in our communities,” said Randall H. Russell, the Foundation’s President and CEO in a press release. “The Empowerment Grants give them the space to innovate, experiment and build worthwhile initiatives and collaborations.”

According to the press release, other grant recipients include:

Bright Community Trust, $64,400 to add a new full-time staff position, an equity hire from the South St. Petersburg CRA, and implement business and leadership succession planning for the organization.

Inner Explorer Inc., $65,000 to promote health and well-being at 24 Head Start and Early Head Start centers in the St. Petersburg area through a daily mindfulness practice.

Lighthouse of Pinellas Inc. (LHP), $50,000 to hire a full-time staff person who will help clients find employment and, with input from the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, create a database of businesses that use Assistive Technology (AT) and are prepared to employ blind and visually impaired residents as well as train potential employers for LHP clients.

Project Prosper, Inc., $50,000 to hire the first Executive Director for the organization, which provides financial services to support immigrants and refugees. The grassroots organization has served the community for 10 years and is ready to employ full-time leadership to serve the community and ensure sustainability of the organization. 

Start Right Now, $40,000 will be used to develop a five-year strategic plan and improve the social media strategy for the organization that addresses youth homelessness in Pinellas County. 

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