Give Well Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This is a combined community funder that supports the Florida Counties of Polk, Hardee, and Highlands. One foundation program accepts unsolicited grant requests for Polk County programs related to education, arts and culture, community, environment, health and human services, and animal welfare.

FUNDING AREAS: Health and human services, education, arts and culture, community, environment, animal welfare

IP TAKE: Groups in Hardee and Highland Counties can’t directly apply for grants with this funder, unlike ones from Polk County. But it’s still a good idea to get on GWCF’s radar to be considered for donor support.

PROFILE: The Give Well Community Foundation (GWCF) is based in Lakeland, Florida, and also has an office in Winter Haven, Florida. It serves the Florida counties of Polk, Hardee, and Highlands, and has more than 280 charitable funds under management. The foundation dates back to 1997, originally as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. The current name was settled upon in 2013 when the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland joined forces with the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven.

Most GWCF grants go through donor-advised funds and collaborative grantmaking initiatives. Most of the funds here do not accept requests, as distributions are made based on donor preference with final approval by the GWCF board of directors. A list of nonprofit and community funds is here.

Impact Polk, however, is a competitive grantmaking fund that serves Polk County exclusively and accepts unsolicited applications. Previous annual deadlines for these Polk County grants have fallen in November, with final award notices sent out between March and June of the following year.

Topics of interest for Impact Polk are Health and human services, education, arts and culture, community, environment, and animal welfare. Grants often go to basic needs services, like food and housing, as well as early learning, closing the student achievement gap, career opportunities, and adult literacy. This fund also awards grants to local arts groups that focus on diversity and collaboration, as well as historical preservation, protection of outdoor spaces in the county, and the wellbeing of animals. These grants are up to $20,000 and mostly go towards projects and programs. General operating costs, research, and events are not typically funded.

The foundation has assets of over $160 million and made at least $21.8 million in grants in a recent year. Since 1997, the funder has given out well over $140 million. Current financial data is here.

Terry Simmers is the president and CEO and leads a staff of six other professionals. Grants Manager Johnna Martinez is a good contact for grantseeker questions; reach her at jmartinez@givecf.org.

General questions can be directed to info@GiveCF.org or (863) 683-3131. The address is 1501 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, Florida, 33803. Check their news page and events calendar to keep up with happenings and upcoming events.

PEOPLE:

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