PENSACOLA, Fla. — As communities around the world grapple with the lasting economic and health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, community support organizations like the United Way are in need more than ever. The Gulf Power Foundation has committed $500,000 to the United Way organizations serving Northwest Florida to help members of our communities impacted by COVID-19.

The financial commitment will be divided between three United Way organizations serving the region:

  • United Way of West Florida – $250,0000
  • United Way Emerald Coast – $125,000
  • United Way of Northwest Florida – $125,000

“Gulf Power has always been a leader in our region,” said United Way of West Florida President and CEO Laura Gilliam. “During these unprecedented times, they are once again showing their commitment to the health and well-being of our community and the entire Northwest Florida region with this very generous contribution.”

“As part of the fabric of Northwest Florida, Gulf Power has a long history of helping our customers and our communities during difficult times. This crisis is different from anything we have ever experienced before and we must pull together as a community to lend help to those most impacted,” said Gulf Power President Marlene Santos. “We are committed to working with the United Way to assist those most vulnerable and hope that other companies will join us in this effort.”

The money will be used to address increased demand for services as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The assistance will focus on human services such as:

    • Support for families to include: Preschool and after-school programs, back-pack programs for children, childcare services;
    • Social service providers;
    • Senior services; and
    • People with disabilities.

Gulf Power’s emergency assistance is part of a larger $1.5 million commitment from NextEra Energy, the world leader in wind and solar energy, and its family of companies.

“I am constantly inspired by the Gulf Power team and we feel incredibly grateful for this gift from Gulf Power Foundation,” said United Way Emerald Coast CEO Kelly Jasen. “They have so much compassion for the communities they serve, it really is no surprise to see them step up first and make such a significant investment in our region.”

Individuals in need of immediate assistance accessing food, paying housing or utility bills, or other essential services are urged to dial 211 from their phones. You can visit 211nwfl.org for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties; or https://panhandle211.communityos.org/ for Okaloosa and Walton counties. These services provide information and referral services.

Bryan Taylor, President, United Way of Northwest Florida, agreed: “We are excited by the initiative that Gulf Power has taken to advocate on behalf of their local non-profit communities by reaching out to their partners and vendors and encouraging them to contribute to this COVID-19 relief effort. With so much uncertainty in our lives right now, it is truly a blessing to be able to be certain that Gulf Power is always going to step up and do the very best they can to support our local non-profit community.”

To assist our customers, Gulf Power has implemented the same policies that we do during major crisis events, including suspending electrical disconnections and providing payment extensions for customers in a hardship situation. These policies will remain in effect while Florida is under a state of emergency. If you are experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19, Gulf Power has resources available at GulfPower.com/Help.