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The UWS award, part of a $6.05 million investment in the community, will support LEAP

An effort to increase the number of working age adults in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with a degree or high-quality credentials to 60 percent by 2025 continues to thrive thanks to the collaborative nature of two of the area’s leading nonprofits: Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and United Way Suncoast.

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay will receive $22,000 in Community Investment Funding from United Way Suncoast as it continues to support the LEAP Tampa Bay.

CFTB serves as the backbone partner for LEAP Tampa Bay and is one of 17 founding partners. In addition to its founders, LEAP overall has more than 70 organizations among its collaborative partners representing education, business, philanthropy and government. All their collaborative efforts are pointed at developing the regional workforce through credential attainment after high school.

“Education and training credentials are vital as people seek a more prosperous future for themselves and their families,” said Chuck Tiernan, the CFTB senior director who leads LEAP Tampa Bay. “But getting to the finish line – let alone getting started – can be overwhelming, so community organizations working together to help students along their chosen pathway is a big difference maker.

“United Way Suncoast has been and continues to be a terrific partner in our LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network efforts such as FAFSA Completion campaigns and the Complete Tampa Bay Coaching initiative. We look forward to continuing to work with them and the other five dozen-plus partners who are collaborating to move Tampa Bay toward the goal to have 60 percent of adults finish education and training after high school.” 

The lasting community impact of the LEAP Tampa Bay’s efforts aligns with United Way’s priorities. As households continue to grapple with the financial fallout of the pandemic and parents strive to navigate a challenging educational year, United Way Suncoast has stepped up with a $6.05 million boost to 77 area nonprofits for the 2022 fiscal year.

UWS continues its 97-year mission of lifting up the community by sustaining its focus on four priority areas: early learning, youth success, financial stability and asset development. The investment extends to all five counties in UWS’ region – DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota – and underscores the organization’s long-time commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We are proud to support high-impact programs that will do so much good across our region,” said United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff. “As we look to emerge from the pandemic and strengthen our commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion with a new strategic vision, it’s never been more important to advocate for our community. Through our partnerships and expertise, we will continue to create bold solutions to our biggest challenges – uplifting lives and achieving equity for generations to come.”

For the second consecutive year, the organization convened a group of dedicated volunteers who conducted a thoughtful and thorough job in choosing the nonprofits. The allocation, an increase of more than $400,000 from the 2020 allocation, will impact nearly 150,000 people in UWS’ five-county region. UWS also raised and distributed $1.9 million for pandemic relief over a six-week period in 2020.

Each grant will fund specific programs that support the interconnected priority areas and help ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families who stand just one unexpected expense from enduring hardship.

About Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

The mission of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay (CFTB) is to build a better community through creative philanthropy, vision and leadership. As part of this mission, CFTB leads the convening of community initiatives such as LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network, which has fostered its own mission – to transform lives by leveraging the power of community collaboration to accelerate personal, workforce, and community prosperity through education.

About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast severs the constraints that prevent families from thriving. We dismantle the barriers to human prosperity, uniting our community along the way. When we provide pathways to early learning, financial stability and youth success, we lift up families as they cultivate a future beyond circumstantial constraints. We provide choices. We provide opportunities. We create space for families to grow without limitations, elevating communities by building a future with equity for all. We are proud to serve the people of DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by operating and funding services and programs to help our community have the Freedom To Rise.

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