Teachers like Maren Leonard at Molino Park Elementary School will benefit for the Gulf Power Foundation’s grant to the Escambia County Schools Foundation. Gulf Power donated nearly $84,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to agencies throughout Northwest Florida.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Nine local charitable or nonprofit organizations received grants from the Gulf Power Foundation, totaling nearly $84,000 to support communities throughout Northwest Florida.

“Gulf Power’s mission will always remain to support our communities where we live and work, and our quarterly grants through the Gulf Power Foundation are one way we can help build strong and sustainable communities,” said Sandy Sims, executive director for the Gulf Power Foundation. “The Foundation’s goal is to improve the lives of Northwest Florida residents, and during times like now when many need extra support, we are honored to be able to provide these grants to help our community.” 

Each quarter, the Gulf Power Foundation accepts grant applications from charitable and non-profit organizations from across Northwest Florida. The most recent grant recipients for the region are: 

  • Central Gulf Coast CDF Freedom Schools – Freedom School Summer 2021 – Harambee! at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. Funds would cover the 2021 summer program. The 6-week program assists low-income elementary school students with their reading while promoting leadership skills, self-empowerment and academic/ career development for young adults$7,500 
  • Escambia County Public Schools Foundation – Funds to individual or groups of teachers for projects they would like to do in their classrooms but that fall outside the normal school budget. Proposals from the teachers are submitted and competitively graded to ensure best use of funds. Additionally, CFEF will match some of what they raise in grants and donations: $25,000 
  • Greater Pensacola Junior Golf Association – First Tee Gulf Coast – First Tee “Life Skills Experience” clinics are for young people, ages 5 – 18 . These clinics range from 9 – 11 weeks in length meeting once a week, from 1-2 hours based on age and certification level. Youth are taught life skills and golf skills based on Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, courtesy, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, confidence, perseverance, and judgment: $1,500 
  • Manna Food Bank – Manna’s Monthly Senior Program – Food insecurity among seniors is a continuing challenge for one in 12 Florida seniors. Manna’s Monthly Senior Program provides a 10-day supply of healthy food each month to approximately 50 senior citizens that are enrolled in the program: $10,000 
  • The Nature Conservancy – Rainwater Perdido River Preserve Stewardship – TNC will continue their preservation work at the Rainwater Perdido River Preserve, repairing Hurricane Sally damage, performing post-storm clean-up (downed trees and debris), and catching up on regular maintenance: $15,000
  • Pace Center for Girls – Girls Earning Diplomas – The GED program was established to assist young girls (at least 15) who are academically behind in their age group or have a desire to graduate early and begin college or a career. The ultimate goal is to help these young girls complete their high-school education and earn their diplomas: $5,000 
  • United for a Good Cause – Hope Squad to Peer Suicide Prevention Program for Schools –Hope Squad’s purpose is to address the issue of youth suicide. Hope Squad members are peer-nominated and overseen by certified Advisors who teach a dedicated curriculum that empowers the members to know what questions to ask, how to get help from a qualified adult, and to be the eyes and ears of the school. The program operates in 37 schools locally: $5,000 
  • UWF Foundation – Monitoring Gopher Tortoise Abundance, Distribution and Burrow Activity – UWF will collect more detail-oriented data on gopher tortoises in Northwest Florida to support conservation of this protected species. They will determine locations and number of gopher tortoises on public and private lands, characterize gopher tortoise burrows and their associated habitat, collect data, monitor populations over time (including burrow occupancy), and study the effects of management activities: $9,950 
  • Waterfront Rescue Mission – Homeless to Home-Working Homeless Program – Waterfront serves the homeless and disadvantaged with unstable housing situations, including many who are employed. A night of housing includes dinner and breakfast, a shower, toiletries, laundry and access to clothing when needed. They can also take advantage of life skills training, including money management or teamwork: $5,000 

Grant spotlight: Enhancing education for future generations 

The Escambia County Public Schools Foundation grant will help with its mission of enhancing educational opportunities for Escambia County students. 

“Our Foundation works with school leaders to determine how and where private-sector investment and volunteer involvement can have the greatest impact on student success,” said Kristie Kelley, executive director for the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation. “We are grateful for the partnership between our organizations.” 

The Gulf Power Foundation’s grant will help support the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation’s Grants for Excellence program, which provides dollars to teachers to cover the cost of enriching educational opportunities for the benefit of students throughout the district. Helping more than 40,000 students during the 2019-2020 school year, the Escambia Foundation was able to share funding with 25 schools – nearly half of the county’s schools – distributing 14 collaborative grants of nearly $90,000 and providing 21 teacher opportunity grants for a total of nearly $19,000. 

Grant spotlight: Rainwater Perdido River Preserve 

For more than 30 years, The Nature Conservancy has worked with state and local partners to protect and conserve some of the most important lands and waters in Florida and Alabama. TNC’s focus is on conservation that allows nature and people to thrive.  

TNC will continue their preservation work at the Rainwater Perdido River Preserve, repairing Hurricane Sally damage and catching up on regular maintenance. The repair work is even more necessary in this COVID-19 environment. The Preserve has attracted even more visitors this past year as people sought “natural spaces” as a way to get out and experience relief from quarantine and still social distance. 

“We are honored to receive this support from Gulf Power,” said Mitch Reid, director of The Nature Conservancy. “This grant will allow us to maintain and increase access to the Betty and Crawford Rainwater Perdido River Preserve. The preserve is part of a significant protected corridor that runs through Florida and Alabama and we are grateful to Gulf Power for their support in ensuring this great place remains a treasure for all.” 

The Gulf Power Foundation has operated for 30 years as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, partnering and investing in communities throughout Northwest Florida. The Foundation is one of the region’s largest corporate foundations, funded entirely through resources independent of Gulf Power’s customers. Learn more about the Foundation and its quarterly grant program here: https://www.gulfpowerfoundation.com/. 


About Gulf Power 

Gulf Power is part of Florida Power & Light Company, which is the largest energy company in the U.S. as measured by retail electricity produced and sold. The companies serve more than 5.6 million customer accounts supporting more than 11 million residents across Florida with clean, reliable and affordable electricity, including more than 470,000 customer accounts in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. In 2020, Gulf Power was recognized with the 2020 ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast suburban/rural service area while FPL won the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Excellence Award for the fifth time in the last six years. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2020 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.GulfPower.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.    


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