Volunteer Florida Announces 2012 BEST Neighborhoods Grantees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2011
CONTACT: Jayme O’Rourke, 850-414-2974

Volunteer Florida CEO Wendy Spencer recently announced 13 organizations across the state that are being awarded grants through Volunteer Florida’s BEST Neighborhoods initiative. The BEST program, which stands for Build-Engage-Sustain-Transform (BEST), is based on “neighboring,” a model concept of community engagement that uses volunteering as a tool to empower, mobilize and facilitate positive changes within communities.

“This past year’s BEST Neighborhoods program was a great success that exceeded our expectations, and I am thrilled to announce next year’s grantees,” said CEO Spencer. “Our BEST Neighborhoods program recognizes that every resident in a community has something to offer that can help a neighbor. By reaching out to marginalized populations, these BEST programs lift up citizens and communities through their volunteer engagement by rolling up their sleeves to meet local needs. It’s an excellent model of civic engagement and I look forward to working with our 2012 grantees!”

Organizations who were awarded grant funds were selected based on their abilities to address one or more of the following areas in qualifying counties: economic recovery, education, disaster preparedness, environment and human needs. In total, 13 grants are being awarded covering 11 counties throughout Florida.

Volunteer Florida’s BEST Neighborhoods program is a three-year program contingent upon federal funding. Volunteer Florida created the program last year as one of 19 state commissions to receive a Volunteer Generation Fund Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds the BEST program’s administration and implementation. See below for a full list of grant recipients!

Belafonte TACOLCY – Miami-Dade County

Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter and AmeriCorps – Bay County 

Chain Reaction – Escambia County

Community Drug and Alcohol Council – Escambia County

Community Vision – Osceola County

Earth Learning – Miami-Dade County

Flagler Volunteer Services – Flagler County

Gainesville Police Department – Alachua County

HandsOn Broward – Broward County

Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA – Hillsborough County

United Way of Suwannee County – Suwannee County

VolunteerLEON – Leon County

Volunteer Services of Manatee County – Manatee County


Visit the BEST webpage for more information.

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The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

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The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, Volunteer Florida, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; coordinates volunteerism in disaster preparedness, response and recovery; and helps to strengthen and expand volunteer engagement for everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.