Volunteer Florida Announces $272,000 in Grants for “BEST” Neighborhoods

CONTACT: Jayme O’Rourke or Mary Griffith, (850) 414-2974

TALLAHASSEE – Volunteer Florida CEO Wendy Spencer today announced the recipients of $272,000 in grants made available to Florida organizations through the Volunteer Generation Fund Initiative, Build-Engage-Sustain-Transform (BEST) Neighborhoods. The BEST Neighborhoods grant 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.

“I am thrilled to partner with these organizations throughout our state to strategically reinstate a strong sense of community in our neighborhoods,” said CEO Spencer. “Every resident in a community has something to offer that can help a neighbor, and the BEST model will build upon these existing frameworks and utilize the strength of local connections for the collective good of our state.”

The BEST program is designed to address needs in Florida counties with poverty levels of 16 percent or higher, and also counties affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Organizations who were awarded grant monies 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, 16 grants were awarded covering 17 counties throughout Florida.

The BEST Neighborhoods grant is a three-year program contingent upon federal funding. Volunteer Florida was one of 19 state commissions to receive a Volunteer Generation Fund Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service for its administration and implementation. See below for a full list of the grant recipients or click here.


Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) – Escambia/Santa Rosa Counties

Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter and AmeriCorps – Bay County

Florida Crown Workforce Board – Columbia County

Franklin’s Promise Coalition – Franklin County

Little Haiti Housing Association – Miami-Dade County

Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE) – Sarasota County

Tampa Metropolitan Area – YMCA – Hillsborough County

Volunteer Services of Manatee County – Manatee County

VolunteerLEON – Leon County


ARC Broward – Building Generations Initiative – Broward County

Belafonte TACOLCY Center – Miami-Dade County

Community Drug and Alcohol Council – Escambia County

Faith Family Resource Center – Leon County


Glad Tidings Community Church – Monroe County

Metropolitan Ministries – Pasco County

Samaritan’s Touch Care Center – Highlands County

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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; encourages volunteerism for everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities; coordinates volunteerism in disaster preparedness, response and recovery; and helps to strengthen and expand volunteer engagement. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.