The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys is awarding $500,800 in grants to 49 Keys nonprofits for projects in all areas of the Keys that will directly benefit residents, communities and the environment. 

    “The need is greater than ever as we received 113 applications this year, compared to 57 last year,” said Jennifer McComb, president and CEO of the foundation.

    Ten community members – representing Key West, the Lower Keys, the Middle Keys and Upper Keys – reviewed and scored the funding applications.

    When McComb first oversaw the process in 2020, she said, the foundation granted $144,500 to 27 organizations. The dollars awarded this year are 63% higher than the $307,750 granted to 48 Keys nonprofits in 2022 and more than twice as much as the $215,266 granted to 35 organizations in 2021.

    The foundation grants over $2 million a year, but most of the funding is earmarked for specific nonprofits, per the wishes of individual donors.

    Grants committee chair Marian Buccafurni said the reviewers scored programs for basic needs like food, housing, childcare and health care highest, as well as projects that would help a large number of residents or be one-time fixes for serious issues, like the lack of a computerized identification system for individuals staying at the homeless shelter.

    McComb said trends in this year’s applications revealed a disquieting state of nonprofits in the Florida Keys. “Volunteers and staff at organizations are having to pursue creative solutions to their challenges, but there was a sentiment of hope and pride for the Keys community threading throughout the proposals,” she said.

    The 2023 grant recipients are: 

    A Positive Step Inc.: $10,000

    Active Disabled Americans: $5,000 

    AH of Monroe County Inc.: $20,000

    Anchors Aweigh Club Inc.: $2,000

    Chapters Health Foundation, Inc.: $5,000

    Conch Republic Marine Army: $2,500 

    Cornerstone Resource Alliance Inc.: $8,000 

    Crane Point Museum & Nature Center: $8,000 

    Diocese Of Southeast Florida Saint Columba Episcopal Church: $3,500

    Domestic Abuse Shelter: $10,000

    Educational Coalition for Monroe County: $10,000 

    First Baptist Islamorada Community Ministry: $5,000 

    Florida Keys Area Health Education Center: $20,000

    Florida Keys Children’s Shelter Inc.: $10,000 

    Florida Keys Council of the Arts: $9,500 

    Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition: $13,000

    Florida Keys Outreach Coalition:  $20,000 

    Florida Keys Wildlife Society: $5,000

    Friends of Pennekamp: $4,800 

    Friends of the Key West Library: $5,000 

    Good Health Clinic: $10,000 

    Grace Jones Community Center: $20,000 

    Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys: $15,000 

    Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys: $20,000 

    Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys: $20,000 

    Islamorada Firefighters’ Benevolent Association: $3,000 

    Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation: $5,000 

    Key West Botanical Garden Society: $5,000

    Key West Cultural Preservation Society: $10,000

    Key West Preschool Cooperative: $5,000

    Key West Wildlife Center, Inc.: $2,500 

    Kids 4 Kids USA, Inc.: $10,000

    Kids Come First In the Florida Keys Inc.: $10,000

    Literacy Volunteers of America: $12,000 

    Marathon Community Theatre: $5,000

    Metropolitan Community Church: $10,000

    Monroe Assoc for ReMARCable Citizens: $15,000

    Mote Marine Laboratory: $2,000

    Plant a Million Corals Foundation: $14,000 

    Presents in Paradise: $5,000 

    Reef Relief: $9,500

    Salvation Army: $3,000

    Samuel’s House Inc.: $20,000

    South Florida Symphony Orchestra: $16,000 

    Southernmost Hockey Club: $2,500 

    Tennessee Williams Theatre: $20,000 

    Tropic Cinema: $20,000 

    Wesley House Family Services Inc.: $15,000Womankind: $20,000