The time to apply for Community Foundation grants is on the horizon

Jennifer McComb, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about funding.

The Community Foundation distributes funding to area nonprofits. More than $34 million in community grants have been given out since 1996.

McComb said, “Our application will be available in a couple of weeks, September 1. However, anyone involved with a nonprofit can go to our website right now and we have a PDF available with all the questions we’re going to be asking on the application. It’s a lot different than in the past. We really listened to the nonprofits and they told us they didn’t like doing projects. They liked doing it, but they really had other expenses and operating expenses and they need money just for doing their main mission. So this year, for the first time, we’re giving not only program support, but also general operating funds for important work that will help the residents of the Florida Keys.”

The Community Foundation also helps with hurricane preparation as well as recovery efforts.

McComb said, “Starting with Hurricane Wilma, and then Irma, and then Ian most recently, we’re ready. We have our relief fund web page ready, but we also do have money socked away so that if something happens, any kind of emergency, such as a pandemic, we have money available to give out on the frontlines right away for the nonprofit’s to help people, like the food banks and shelters. It’s a so much better day to be at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys than the Hawaii Community Foundation. I have a friend there, Janelle, and she told me that among the 13,000 residents, which are basically all homeless at this point, they’re all displaced, with 2200 structures gone. Even the Community Foundation’s own employees are displaced. So they’re out on the frontlines helping people yet most of them are homeless. So I would ask, everyone around the world helped us when we had hurricane Irma, so if you have an extra dollar or two to put into the Maui Strong Fund, help give a little help for the wildfires. They could really use it.”

Folks at the Florida Keys Community Foundation could help get your donation where it needs to go, so call 305-292-1502.

Florida Keys Nonprofit Day will be held on September 12.

McComb said, “Last year, we decided that Florida Keys Funders Alliance, and the three main members are the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the Ocean Reef Community Foundation, and United Way of Collier and the Keys. There’s some other private foundations and funders and the Arts Council, Golden Fleece Foundation that are in the group too. But our three main organizations said, hey, up in Miami, they have a day where everyone gets together and after the pandemic, we just really wanted to see each other, the people from the other nonprofits. So we said, let’s throw together a Florida Keys Nonprofit Day, and hopefully somebody will show up. We were thankful when over 100 people showed up. They had a great time. Great speakers. So we’re doing it again, the second annual on September 12. Anyone’s welcome. We’re going to be talking about AI, artificial intelligence.”

How will AI work in the nonprofit world?

McComb said, “Especially for our nonprofits here and the Keys, because so many of them are so small. We have some of them running with only volunteers, so such as writing of their grant application. They might not be able to just type it in Chat GBT and have it write the whole grant application for them, but it could be a start. It could do some research for them. Fundraising letters, appeals newsletter articles. There’s a lot of ways that nonprofits can use it and I guess I’ll be learning a lot about it myself on September 12. We have another panel, too, that’s going to be we’re excited about this storytelling for nonprofits. We read the grant applications and we know that they have great stories, these nonprofits, and they’re just not telling them to us correctly, and telling them to the public, and it can be endearing when you tell the right stories and really raise a lot of money for their cause. So we’re going to have a storytelling for nonprofits panel, just different nonprofit leaders to talk about the best way to tell stories and what they found is successful. Then we’re going to have a whole lot of networking.”

The event will be at the Marathon Community Theater.

McComb said, “It’s totally 100 percent free, even the reception thanks to First State Bank. Last year we had mostly nonprofit leaders and people who work at nonprofits, board members, but really anyone who’s interested in learning is welcome to come. We’re happy to have you. It can be good networking. If you’re thinking about getting a job with a nonprofit or being on a nonprofit board, you’ll meet a lot of people.”

The Community Foundation welcomes volunteers.

McComb said, “We just celebrated our one year anniversary of the Florida Keys Nonprofit Center, the volunteer center. So anyone who wants to volunteer, you can go to We have lots of opportunities there for you and we now have over 200 volunteers signed up, so it’s really getting going. It’s been a year and we’re celebrating that birthday.”

For more information on grants or the foundation, click here: