Seven Incredible Tampa Bay-Based Philanthropic Organizations That Deserve Your Help

070117-N-2456S-153<br />  Norfolk, Va. (Jan. 17, 2007) - Sailors from amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13) raise a roof truss onto the top of the house they are building for Habitat for Humanity in Norfolk, Va. The work being done by Nashville Sailors is part of a ship-wide goal to dedicate 6,000 hours of community service time to the local area this year. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Suits (RELEASED)

Floridians love to give, volunteer and donate, but with the surplus of crowdfunding opportunities and non-profit organizations, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to figure out where one ought to donate their time. More than simply ignoring the internal strain that pulls at your heart, insisting that you give to local charities or volunteer at your neighboring soup kitchen, you should toss your support behind some incredible endeavors and organizations, including Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is an organization founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller. There are volunteers needed to construct homes across the Tampa Bay area.

Meals on Wheels: The delivery program that provides meals to shut-in individuals and others who are are unable purchase or prepare their own meals.

Metropolitan Ministries: The local, independent, faith-based nonprofit has long committed itself to providing hope and assistance to those in need located in the Tampa Bay region. By assembling and setting up furniture, and gathering school supplies, volunteers are generally able to help countless homeless adults, women, and children.

Moffitt Cancer Center: H. Lee Moffitt, who was a Florida state representative in 1978, roused conversation about developing a cancer center in Tampa. Though he himself had survived cancer, he’d lost more than more than one friend to the disease. The groundbreaking ceremony for his $70 million, the 162-bed facility took place during the early months of 1983. Today, volunteers can help to renovate the center. Also, they can help to bring in food, clothes, and school supplies, and they can assemble furniture.

United Way of Tampa Bay: A premier platform for community service and volunteering, UW connects helpful individuals with projects that are hands-on, fun, and flexible. Participants are offered a choice of sites to offer their services to.

Tampa Bay Harvest: TBH operates through sponsors and donors who enable city-wide growth. The volunteers who commit themselves to all-volunteer organization transport donated food to individuals who can’t otherwise afford it.

Sunken Gardens: Sunken Gardens is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museums and volunteers attending to this facility are tasked with feeding the birds, tending to the garden, and filing paperwork.
If you’re interested in learning about some other places to volunteer, click here to learn more.

Give Day Tampa Bay Raises Awareness Around the Work of Local Nonprofits

Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network event - NYCGive Day Tampa Bay, designed to increase philanthropy, was observed on Tuesday, May 3rd, and the 24-hour online event emboldened community members and sparked awareness of local nonprofits and they hard work they do.

The NOMAD mobile art studio, located in Saint Petersburg, turned a $2,275 in donations into a $20,000 gift when a donor learned about the terrific work the studio has done in underserved schools and neighborhoods. Tampa-based Meals on Wheels raised $10,000 in one day a year ago to assemble hurricane emergency packs. Also, the Suncoast Animal League raised $27,00 to rebuild part of an animal shelter that burned down.

After three years, more and more are participating in the local and national day of giving. Approximately 50 communities nationwide participate. On a local basis, the philanthropic day is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which matches donors, professional advisors, community and business leaders, volunteers, and nonprofits.

“We see it as a way to focus attention for this one day on all the work that all of these great nonprofits are doing in our community,” said Wilma Norton, a spokeswoman for the Foundation, according to Tampa Bay Times. “Besides raising money, it’s a good way for particularly the small nonprofits to get out the message about what they do.”

Nearly 600 groups participated this year, which is 50 more than last year, where they raised $1.75 million. Even though Give Day is over, donors can still visit www.GiveDay.org to identify a nonprofit they want to support on the list of participating organizations.

WEDU streamed Give Day pitches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on wedu.org and GiveDay.org, and many groups held events on that day in connection with Give Day to increase awareness around giving.

Housing Florida’s Homeless

Stephen Overton housingOn any given night in January of 2014, there were approximately 578,424 individuals experiencing homelessness. This means these people were either sleeping in the streets, spending the night at an emergency shelter, or in a transitional housing program. It’s clear that homelessness is an issue, and Ability Housing, a nonprofit based out of Jacksonville, is leading the charge to improve life for the homeless.

Founded in 1992, Ability Housing was originally a group home for individuals living with development disabilities. Today it is a nonprofit with a focus on the development and operation of quality affordable rental housing for people, and families experiencing (or at risk for) homelessness, and adults with disabilities. Ability Housing’s mission is to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods affected by damaging rental properties; improve the quality of life of the residents, neighborhood and larger community; preserve the existing affordable housing; improve neighborhood real estate values; provide housing to local vulnerable households; and provide a permanent solution to the local homelessness crisis. All of Ability Housing’s residents earn 80% or less than the area median income, and are therefore low-income. In fact, most of them earn less than 50%, and some, those who are extremely low-income, earn 30% less than the area median income.

At the end of 2015, Ability Housing was awarded a $150,000 grant to continue their cause. This gift from the Florida Blue Foundation will allow them to conduct research about the return on investment of providing the homeless with stable homes. Ability Housing’s Executive Director, Shannon Nazworth said the state is spending more on the homeless in the form of emergency stays and prison stays than they would if they homeless had stable homes. These expenditures are also counterproductive, because they don’t contribute to the stabilization of the individual. There is no Florida-specific data to prove this, so Ability Housing has launched “The Solution that Saves.” This three-year pilot study will gather data demonstrating that the return on investment is greater when a homeless individual is provided a stable home. Multiple state agencies are involved in the program, including Florida’s Department of Health, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ability Housing’s own tenants are volunteering in the study, some of which are living in the nonprofit’s newest apartment complex. I commend Ability Housing for taking the initiative to create solutions for a larger problem. Creating more opportunities for the homeless will only lead to more advancements for the larger Florida community.