By LOIS KINDLE
Last year, in light of the pandemic, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay (CFTB) created a needs list for nonprofit organizations. Donors, partners and the public could then choose to support the groups most meaningful to them.
The CFTB is now wrapping up this list and returning to its regular cycle of competitive grant making in October. The wrap-up process has included awarding grants from donor endowments that were matched to some of the “remaining organizations with needs on the list with specific purposes attached to them,” said Wilma Norton, CFTB vice president of community connections. “Our priority was on meeting urgent needs, including operating expenses, which are generally not considered in normal grant cycles.”
For example, a significant endowment left to the foundation by Sun City Center resident Hazel Bryson, who died in 2003, specifically was made by her to be used for grant giving in the areas of literacy and young children. A recent round of grants totaling just under $150,000 was awarded to South Shore area nonprofit groups on the needs list: these included funding from Bryson’s fund: $10,000 to the PCAT (Parents and Children Advance Together) reading literacy program, $9,000 to Reddick Elementary School for technical equipment in e-learning and in-school combination classrooms and $10,000 to Wimauma Elementary School for desk shields reading/speech services in the computer lab and classrooms.
“I would like to thank the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay for understanding the importance of students reading proficiently by third grade,” said Christene Worley, PCAT founder and president. “School closures due to COVID caused many students to enter the 2021 school year reading below their expected levels. The generous funding from the foundation allows us to tutor our students after hours, using the Zoom platform. We plan to continue [doing this] during the summer to combat summer reading slide.”
Other organizations also receiving funding included The Pelican Players, $5,000, Peter Maltese Charitable Fund; Enterprising Latinas, $9,463.47, Dr. Charles and Iona Mathias Fund and John and Betty Zehring Endowment Women’s Fund; Hillsborough County Schools, Alternative School Students and Families in Crisis, $25,000, Dr. Charles and Iona Mathias Fund; Samaritan Services of Sun City Center, $6,500, Hadley A. and Helen Bryant Hill Fund; Sun City Center Emergency Squad, $6,500 and $3,000, Hadley A. and Helen Bryant Hill Fund; Sun City Center Security Patrol, $28,000, Hadley A. and Helen Bryant Hill Fund; the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, $14,000 and $1,187.18, Peter Maltese Charitable Fund; and Mary and Martha House, 21,944.26.
Mary & Martha House, a shelter for abused and homeless women and families, will use the money to cover costs for emergency beds and supportive services, including life skills and coping classes, parenting skills, family and individual counseling sessions, child care, vocational training, employment readiness, financial literacy and more to help its residents achieve self-sufficiency.
“This funding means everything to our families at Mary & Martha House,” said Jeanetta Taylor, program and housing support manager. “We’re so grateful to the Community Foundation for the grant. We couldn’t do what we do without its support.”
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity and support of the Community Foundation and all they do for the community, said Mike Bardell, Sun City Center Emergency Squad chief. “These funds will allow us to purchase new scoops used to lift and move patients that, most often, have hip fractures and gently move the patient from the floor to the gurney with the least amount of pain. We will also purchase new portable radios to provide our crews with better communication to our dispatchers, which is safer for us all, patients and volunteers.”
The impact of COVID-19 has led to a significant shortfall in donations to the Sun City Center Security Patrol and to its annual fundraising efforts. The all-volunteer organization’s operational expenses are completely dependent on donations, bequests, fundraisers and grants.
“Clearly at this time, when money is short for everyone, we are certainly grateful [for] this help in maintaining our patrol services to the community, said Tim Broad, Sun City Center Security Patrol chief.
For more information on the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay or to make a donation, visit https://cftampabay.org/.