Eleven Tampa Bay nonprofits will share a quarter-million dollars for projects that will tackle homelessness and food insecurity throughout the region.
Bank of America on Tuesday awarded $257,500 to organizations across Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties to fund programs such as building new homeless shelters, feeding families in need, connecting veterans with disabilities to needed resources, and providing weekend meals to elementary school students.
Bill Goede, Tampa Bay market president for Bank of America, said it received 20 to 30 applications for funding this year.
"We feel very comfortable that the 11 selected will all make a significant difference in our community," he said.
B of A's donations are made annually to local nonprofits. But this year's awards were all made in one day. Bank officials drove from site to site Tuesday, spending time with each of the winners.
"I think they very much enjoyed being a part of this process," Goede said. "We're investing a quarter of a million dollars in Tampa Bay in the span of one day, and that makes for a pretty fun day."
Metropolitan Ministries Inc. will use the $50,000 it received to create a new emergency homeless shelter for women and families in Holiday, according to spokesman Shawn LaFata. The new Pasco County facility is expected to include 12 units and is set to open in December. Then in 2016, Metropolitan Ministries will try to double its capacity and go to 24 units.
LaFata said there's definitely a need: Last year, about 700 Pasco families asked Metropolitan Ministries for shelter.
"It might provide a little bit of a spark to that county as well and get things rolling," LaFata said. "At least, that's what we're hoping."
St. Petersburg's Daystar Life Center Inc., a basic-needs provider, got $25,000 that will help sustain its day-to-day operations. Daystar staff help clients pay utility bills and obtain bus passes and identification. When 96 percent of your resources support client services, executive director Jane Trocheck Walker said, donations like these mean everything.
"(The donation) keeps the doors open," she said. "We're one of the few places downtown people can walk in and use the restroom without being a customer."
Feeding America Tampa Bay got $30,000 to help pick up daily donations of food from grocers. The Beth Dillinger Foundation received $9,500 to provide weekend meals to elementary-aged children. The foundation was started by Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger and his wife, Kay, to help children and especially to combat chronic hunger. They named the foundation after their daughter, who died in 2006.