CONTACT: Jayme O’Rourke, 850-414-7400

TALLAHASSEE — Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman today announced 12 organizations across the state that are participating in Volunteer Florida’s 2012-2013 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 facilitate positive community change.

“BEST Neighborhoods has been a great success for communities across Florida, and I am thrilled to announce this year’s grantees,” said CEO Spellman. “This program recognizes that every resident in a community has something to offer that can help a neighbor. It’s an excellent model of civic participation and I look forward to working with our 2013 participants.”

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. The 12 participating organizations are receiving a combined total of $233,069 and will serve recipients in 25 counties across Florida.

Volunteer Florida’s BEST Neighborhoods program is a three-year program contingent upon federal funding. Volunteer Florida created the program in 2010 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.

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The Governor’s Commission on 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 volunteers in a disaster; and inspires everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities to serve their communities. For more information, visit:www.volunteerflorida.org.

AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service each year and administers President Obama’s national service initiative United We Serve.  Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and apply online by visiting AmeriCorps.gov.