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Four Pensacola Bay Area non-profits have been awarded a total of $100,000 in grant awards from Sunday’s Child, a Pensacola Bay Area nonprofit that promotes LGBT acceptance and inclusion in Northwest Florida.

The awards were announced after a live vote at the Pensacola philanthropic organization’s fourth annual membership meeting held Sunday at the Pensacola Improv Center in Pensacola’s Brownsville neighborhood.

The organizations that are recipients of $25,000 each are OASIS Florida, the Pensacola Little Theatre, Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers, and Feeding the Gulf Coast.

“We are thrilled to award $100,000 this year to such deeply deserving organizations,” said Drew Buchanan, president of Sunday’s Child. “Sunday’s Child has grown to record membership, with 2018 being our most successful year yet. With this collective award of $100,000, we’ve proved just how much the citizens of the Pensacola Bay Area care about diversity in their communities.”

Launched in 2014, Sunday’s Child is made up of members that donate funds annually. 100 percent of funds donated go towards grant awards, which are determined by the votes of members in June. 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. The four grants will go directly to the nonprofit recipients, funding a broad range of projects and activities:

OASIS Florida, which provides testing, prevention, case management and other types of care and support for people living with HIV, will hire more staff members for their new Mobile Outreach Unit program and vehicle that serves Northwest Florida. It is anticipated that the increased testing numbers will provide the basis for additional state funding which will sustain the Mobile Outreach Program.

Feeding the Gulf Coast, Inc., which was founded and incorporated in 1981, will install a modern 12’ x 40’ outdoor produce cooler at its warehouse in Milton, Florida. The cooler will expand their produce storage capacity, allowing it to store an additional 20 pallets of fresh produce each week/ With the addition of the produce cooler, Feeding the Gulf Coast estimates that it will be able to increase the amount of fresh produce provided to its agencies in the Florida panhandle by at least 15% and distribute an additional 318,000 pounds (approximately 265,000 meals) of fresh produce to more than 6,000 individuals.

Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers, Inc. will benefit through the establishment of the Capstone “Pet Barkery” Program, which will augment the existing employment/education training program at the Pet Place retail store in Milton. Funds will be used to purchase equipment to outfit the bakery including oven, hood, dishwasher, appliances, curriculum, and training materials. Students who work there will learn skills such as ordering supplies, baking, packaging, selling and marketing items, increasing their chances of later becoming gainfully employed. The “Pet Barkery” will bake home-made pet treats for sale at local farmers’ markets, festivals, businesses, and the new Pet Place pet supply store.

The Pensacola Little Theatre has been serving the Pensacola Bay Area continuously since 1936 – making it the oldest continually operating community theatre in the southeastern United States. The grant award will benefit the PLT by allowing them to purchase the equipment necessary to present HD-quality films at PLT at a level a patron would expect at a modern movie theater. It will also provide an opportunity for Pensacola’s LGBT film festival, Stamped, to grow and impact the community with their message. The funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a theater-quality projector and screen.

“Through their dedication to inclusion and embracement of diversity, each of these organizations is sending a clear message to all of our LGBT citizens: your voices matter and your experiences count,” said Buchanan. “After awarding more than $330,000 since 2014, we continue to prove that the Pensacola Bay Area can lead the way to greater inclusion and acceptance of the LGBT community.”

Funding for the Sunday’s Child charitable grants comes from $1,000 contributions from individual and ensemble group memberships. Sunday’s Child has grown to more than 175 members since its founding and with this year’s awards, the organization will have awarded more than $330,000 to Pensacola Bay Area non-profits since 2015.

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