WEST PALM BEACH, FL (July 31, 2014) – “Building a sense of community” is one of the guiding principles of the grantmaking at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The Foundation’s board of directors recently approved $3.1 million in grants to 38 nonprofit organizations in the two-county region. The funding priorities for this year’s competitive grants included affordable housing, arts and culture, the environment and hunger. Collectively, the Foundation will provide more than $7 million in grants and scholarship in its 2013-2014 fiscal year.
“This was a particularly exciting year for our grantmaking,” said Brad Hurlburt, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Market improvements provided a greater return on our endowment, which is what we use for our competitive and responsive grant funding. This increase allowed us to focus on several areas of need in our community, instead of just one or two. We were also able to take some chances on a few unique, creative projects that have the potential to really impact the community in a positive way.”
Grants were awarded through several charitable funds at the Foundation, including the MacArthur Foundation Housing Initiative; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund; The Environmental Fund; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund. The grant cycle opened last fall and the process includes letters of inquiry; invitations for full proposals; site visits; committee evaluations and scoring; and final recommendations to the Community Foundation board in May.
“One of the strengths of any community foundation is its local knowledge. We look for gaps in nonprofit funding and try to fill those needs through our grantmaking,” said Debbie Pucillo, outgoing board chair. “For example, our housing initiative focuses on building, providing or preserving affordable rental housing in the community. Research shows that renting property is a critical step for homeless residents to get back on their feet, and to ultimately becoming a home owner. We have invested in several projects this year that will address this issue with tangible results.”
Competitive and responsive grants are only one part of the Foundation’s annual grantmaking. Most grants are directed by donors to the causes they care about. The Foundation also has nearly 100 scholarship funds, making it one of the largest providers of scholarships in the two counties. This year, the organization awarded more than $730,000 to 83 local high school students.
“We’re looking forward to supporting our grantees through all phases of their projects,” added Hurlburt. “From a new youth choir in The Glades and an environmental conservation project, to the rehabilitation of a 32-bed emergency shelter and transitional housing for victims of domestic abuse and their children – we all share a common mission to build a sense of community.”
For more information on the grants program, or about establishing a charitable fund at the Community Foundation, please call 561-659-6800 or visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.
Here are the 2013-2014 grantees by category: