Community Grant Program
Providing funding for local organizations and area schools
Community Grants are made each spring to various 501(c)3 organizations located in Boca Grande or to those that provide support to the Boca Grande community.
In early February, grant applications are sent to previous grantees, with a March 1 deadline. At the March board meeting, the Board reviews applications and approves a budget, or the amount to be distributed in Community Grants by April 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The Community Grants Committee spends a day in March interviewing grant applicants and deciding individual awards to be recommended to the Board. After approval of the individual grants by the Board at its April meeting, checks and letters are mailed to the recipients. In some instances, special needs arise and funds are distributed outside of the regular cycle. These disbursements also require Board discussion and approval.
In April 2020, the Board established the Emergency Relief Fund to provide immediate, short term relief for the economic hardships incurred in the community by the shuttering of business activity to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The number and amounts of the Community Grants were reduced to provide $250,000 to the Emergency Relief Fund. This was augmented by gifts from throughout the community. Ultimately, over $550,000 was distributed to more than 200 individuals and 30 local businesses.
In its 70-year history, the Club has been instrumental in supporting major island initiatives and this support has brought needed improvements and changes to the island. Examples of these initiatives include:
- the drive to bring a fresh water system to the Island in 1966;
- funding for the preliminary study which resulted in the establishment of the Boca Grande Community Center;
- support for the establishment of a capital improvement fund for the Community Center;
- long-term support for the Boca Grande Health Clinic, including attaining the Crowninshield membership level;
- contributions to the GICIA Land Conservancy Fund, including $150,000 towards the purchase of the Mercabo property at the north end of the Island;
- major contributions to the Island School;
- early support for Island theatrical and drama efforts, leading to the establishment of Royal Palm Players.
In April 2022, the BGWC Community Grant Program distributed $210,584 to the community, providing support to the following organizations: Barrier Island Parks Society, Boca Grande Art Center, Boca Grande Charities, Boca Grande Preschool, Boca Grande Historical Society, Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association, Gasparilla Island Conservation & Improvement Association, Gasparilla Maritime Museum, Lee County Parks and Recreation, L.A. Ainger Middle School Band Boosters, Lemon Bay High School Band Boosters, Lemon Bay High School Chorus, Lemon Bay High School Softball, Lemon Bay High School Football Program, Lemon Bay High School Girls’ Basketball, Lemon Bay High School Project Graduation, Lemon Bay High School Theatre Guild, Mote Marine Laboratory, Royal Palm Players, and The Island School.