The Skills Center uses sports as a powerful learning tool to teach the youth how to transfer the skills learned naturally through sports and apply them to other environments in their lives. The Skills Center was created in 2007 to utilize athletics to generate change through academic success, life skills, mentoring and health for young people ages 3-18 in Tampa Bay. A collaboration of four local nonprofits will come together to reimagine Youth Opportunities. This scholarship aims to create positive educational outcomes and upward economic mobility. With year-round operations, services will provide students with improving academic achievement, developing the potential of youth, preparing and succeeding in employment and supporting the next generation. Last year, The Skills Center served approximately 800 youths in the Tampa Bay area.
Racial Equity Grant Program
In response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others who have perished unnecessarily, the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund created the Racial Equity Grant Fund to build power within communities that have been historically overlooked because of systemic racism.
The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund are committed to upholding equity and inclusion and will be committing $100,000 annually in the fight against systemic racism. Proposals for grants will be accepted from nonprofit organizations throughout the nine counties in the Tampa Bay region. Applicants must submit an application via the online form.
2022 Racial Equity Grant Recipients
Pace Center for Girls – Hillsborough serves over 240 girls annually. PaceWorks is a structured college and career readiness program that prepares at-risk girls ages 11-18 with the skills they need to find, obtain, maintain and grow within the workforce. Hillsborough County Public Schools have now begun to offer the PaceWorks program as an elective, where young girls can accelerate their success by creating a direct connection and clear pathway between their high school education and post-high school engagement.
Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, a non-religious human services agency inspired by Jewish values, created a diversity program that emphasizes client-centered, trauma-informed care and decades of positive community impact. Gulf Coast JFCS tackled mental health and overdose calls by connecting with St. Pete's PD Chief of Police Anthony Holloway to reimagine policing. The city of St. Pete receives 10,000 calls annually that involve nonviolent and noncriminal matters. The "CALL" initiative that Gulf Coast JFCS and St. Pete PD created has completed nearly 4,800 client contacts and responded to 2,000 live calls since December 31, 2021. Their ability to establish MOUs with local providers allows a link to clients and services who seek immediate support and long-term stability. Gulf Coast JFCS and St. Pete PD wish to grow the program and respond to a more significant portion of the city's calls.
Arts Conservatory for Teens educates, empowers and enriches the lives of youth and teens. ACT provides quality arts education for low-income youth in our south St. Petersburg neighborhoods. ACT uses evidence-based psychosocial and psychoeducational workshops with licensed therapists and creative professionals to help students combat the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their mental and social-emotional wellbeing. Funding from this grant will help ACT underwrite the cost of the licensed therapists who will help measure and analyze the program’s effect on students. Additionally, ACT uses its programs to evaluate different areas within students’ lives.
Brain Expansions Scholastic Training continues to teach, guide and mentor thousands of students who are now doctors, nurses and physician assistants in our communities. B.E.S.T. prepares our youth to become the next generation of medical professionals. Using Medical Pathway Paradigm, B.E.S.T. has implemented the following programs for students: Summer Medical Academy, the Bridge Program, the Social Determinant Program, the Leadership Academy and so much more. B.E.S.T. served 300 students in 2021 and hopes to expand its program in 2022. They have begun a mentorship program where students can receive peer-to-peer and student-to-professional guidance.