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After a rigorous review process, five Pensacola Bay Area non-profits have been awarded $128,500 in grant awards from Sunday’s Child, a Pensacola Bay Area nonprofit that promotes LGBT acceptance and inclusion.

The awards were announced after a live vote at the Pensacola philanthropic’s third annual membership meeting held Sunday at Pensacola’s Community Maritime Park.

The organizations that are recipients of $25,700 each are Manna Food Pantries, Independence for the Blind, Friends of Escambia County Animal Shelter, Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries, and the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Sunday’s Child awarded more than $128,000 to five Pensacola Bay Area nonprofits Sunday, June 25, 2017. (The Pulse)

Launched in 2014, Sunday’s Child is made up of members that donate $1,000 annually, which goes toward grant awards determined by the votes of members. The group places an emphasis on grants to nonprofit organizations and initiatives that place value on diversity, inclusion, and equality in the Pensacola Bay Area of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

“Leading change and acceptance of others is our main mission,” said Dr. Chuck Presti, founder and outgoing president of Sunday’s Child. “With the award this year of $128,500 in grants to five deserving non-profits, we’ve shown just how much the citizens of the Pensacola Bay Area care about diversity in their communities.”

The five grants will go directly to the nonprofit recipients, funding a broad range of projects and activities. Manna’s winning proposal will fund the development and construction of a climate-controlled dry room within the organization’s new headquarters and distribution facility. The room will be large enough to allow space for repackaging bulk items as well as storage for more than 30 pallets of dry food that is distributed weekly to nearly 900 families in the Pensacola Bay Area.

Sunday’s Child awarded more than $128,000 to five Pensacola Bay Area nonprofits Sunday, June 25, 2017. (The Pulse)

Independence for the Blind, the only nonprofit entirely devoted to educating the blind and visually impaired in Northwest Florida, will utilize grant dollars to build their SOAR (Safe Outdoor Area for Recreation) project. The project will span a half-acre and will be developed into a safe, appropriate place for blind children, teens, and adults to engage in physical activity. Included within the project is the purchasing of custom sports equipment for blind youth, a new watering system, recreational facilities, and three new raised garden beds.

Friends of the Escambia County Animal Shelter will purchase a transport van to allow the support organization to transport animals from over-capacity local animal shelters to areas of the country less burdened with pet overpopulation. The transport will connect to the established Puppy Pipeline in Hoover, Alabama, where pets are professionally transported to no-kill shelters in other locations where there is a high demand for adoptable pets.

Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries will benefit from the purchase of a new state-of-the-art walk-in refrigeration unit to assist in the charity’s mission to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people suffering from hunger within Pensacola’s Brownsville community and the Pensacola Bay Area. The new unit will greatly reduce food spoilage and will expand the efficiencies of more than 20,000 hot meals annually at their Brownsville facility.

With their grant dollars, the Children’s Home Society of Florida will be able to expand their services to care for the thousands of children in the Pensacola Bay Area who are malnourished and alone. Their project will support securing host homes for runaway and homeless youth, including those who have behavior challenges, identify as LGBT, are pregnant, parenting, or human trafficking victims. The project will support a recruiter to participate in outreach and innovative marketing strategies to recruit, secure, and train host families willing to parent homeless youth. Sunday’s Child funding will also provide direct street outreach to area youth.

“Our goal with the award of these grants is to promote a community that embraces diversity, especially among LGBT citizens,” said Drew Buchanan, vice president of Sunday’s Child. “Each non-profit awarded grants today has proven they are being proactive in promoting diversity and embracing inclusiveness within their organizations and the communities they serve.”

Funding for the charitable grants comes from $1,000 contributions from individual and ensemble group memberships. Sunday’s Child has grown to more than 150 members since its founding and with this year’s awards, the organization will have awarded more than $230,000 to Pensacola Bay Area non-profits since 2015.

To learn more about Sunday’s Child, make a donation, or to apply for a grant visit www.sundayschild.org.

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