PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Gulf Power Foundation recently awarded nearly $100,000 to local charitable or nonprofit organizations to support our communities throughout Northwest Florida.

“Gulf Power is proud to support the communities in which we live and work, and our quarterly grants through the Gulf Power Foundation help build strong and sustainable communities here in our region,” said Sandy Sims, executive director for the Gulf Power Foundation. “Our mission at the Foundation is to improve the lives of Northwest Florida residents, and during difficult and uncertain times like we currently face, we are honored to be able to give back to others through these grants.”

Recent quarterly grant recipients for the region are:

  • Bay Youth Summer Work Foundation – $3,000
  • Every Child A Reader in Escambia – $3,800
  • Florida Insititute for Human and Machine Cognition – $8,500
  • Food4Kids – $10,000
  • Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders – $12,000
  • Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center – $5,315
  • Studer Community Institute – $5,000

In addition, the Gulf Power Foundation awarded two other grants in partnership with its parent company’s charitable foundation, the NextEra Energy Foundation:

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast – $37,500
  • Boys & Girls Club of Bay County – $12,500

Learn more about two recent grant recipients

Supporting education initiatives

Nearly 53% of children in Escambia County are not ready for kindergarten when it comes time for them to go. ECARE – Every Child A Reader in Escambia – wants to change that. That is why ECARE is one of several recipients of quarterly grants for 2020 distributed by the Gulf Power Foundation.

“Our ultimate mission is for all children to be ready when they enter kindergarten,” said Leah Harrison, executive director for ECARE. “Through years of data our pre-K mentor program, ReadingPals, shows that students who receive a mentor in our program have higher increases in their assessment scores.”

Additionally, ECARE helps build at-home libraries where one book a month is sent home with students in Escambia County’s six Title I partner schools.

“Gulf Power’s generous gift means that our children in all Title I schools will further build their libraries and engage families within and outside of the school district,” Harrison said. “We already had plans to expand our family engagement program this fall for our families in the Title I schools, and this funding will help us serve even more classrooms.”

Protecting our environment

Part of the beauty of Northwest Florida is its environment – from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the natural ecosystems throughout the region. The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center is dedicated to helping preserve one of the native inhabitants of this ecosystem – the threatened and endangered sea turtle.

This mission is why Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center was selected by the Gulf Power Foundation for one of its quarterly grants for 2020.

“Our mission is to conserve and protect threatened and endangered sea turtles, and we work to accomplish this through three mission activities: conservation initiatives, public education and partnered research,” said Jennifer Polus, executive director for the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. “Our center was founded on one guiding principle, that one person can make a difference in sea turtle survival, and to that end we work to inspire and provide education and action opportunities to the public. The greatest threat to sea turtle survival is human activity, but that also means our choices stand to be their single greatest hope.”

The center plans to use the grant to rejuvenate an area in the Shanna Litterst Education Center that has not been updated since it opened in 2016.

“The exhibit design is dynamic, providing fun learning opportunities in a variety of ways for different styles of learners,” Polus said. “This project would not have been possible without Gulf Power, particularly with the financial impacts of COVID-19 on our organization. We are very excited and honored to be selected as a grant recipient.”

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/.