OUR POSITION: The Charlotte Community Foundation’s generous donations each year to nonprofit groups is a sorely-needed source of income that is transformed into many good works.

Investing in your community — providing opportunities, education and sometimes a hand up for people — is one of the noblest and wisest gestures that can be made.

The Charlotte Community Foundation embraces that calling and makes it a goal each year to dole out money — $1.2 million this year — to nonprofit groups who need a little boost. The Foundation’s gifts, albeit very generous, are not meant to be the sole means of support. The Foundation’s plan is to help finance a specific need or provide an opportunity for that group to offer a program or dividend it normally could not afford.

The money is awarded in the form of grants, funded mostly by donations from throughout the region. Ashley Maher, executive director of the foundation, said the goal is to “enhance the breadth and depth of our nonprofit assistance.” In a Sun story last week she went on to extend kudos to “the generosity and foresight of donors who contributed to our mission of ‘connecting people who care with causes that matter.’”

Among those groups who benefited:

• The Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County, who will use the funds awarded it for a new outreach program at Gulf Breeze apartments in Punta Gorda. The money will enable up to 60 young people who may not have the means to participate to attend an after-school program directed by employees and volunteers of the club.

• Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will be able to expand a program for third-grade students who want to learn how to use a musical instrument and participate in an interactive concert with the orchestra.

• Guardian ad Litem Foundation will receive some funding to help stabilize children who have been removed from their home and placed in foster care while being assigned a guardian ad litem volunteer.

• The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda will be able to help students interact with programs there while learning U.S. history.

• Virginia B. Andes Community Clinic, a life line for so many residents who have no health insurance, will get a boost in funding to enable the purchase of a new Physio-Control defibrillator, Dragon Medical one dictation software and software to streamline automated scheduling at the clinic.

• Punta Gorda History Center will be able to buy physical equipment, software and technical support for an onsite history kiosk, a traveling exhibition framework and software to offer online exhibits.

• Suncoast Humane Society will enhance its mobile “Fido-Fixer” unit that offers spay and neuter services free or at a reduced cost to low-income pet owners in Charlotte County.

• Gulf Coast Partnership will utilize its grant to recruit and train landlords to better manage rental housing inventory, create a roommate matching program and educate tenants and landlords on the legalities associated with renting. The goal is to make a dent in the homeless population in the area.

All these groups, and others, will see significant benefits from the Charlotte Community Foundation’s gifts. Kudos to foundation members and volunteers who wade through the requests for funding and do their best to maximize the impact of their grants.


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