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Tampa Police Strengthen Community Bonds, Award $35,000 to Local Programs

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The Tampa Police Department awarded $35,000 in total funding to eight local community organizations. The funding will aid community partners who are engaged in projects and programs benefiting the citizens of Tampa and that support the spirit of the Tampa Police Department’s mission to work in partnership with our community to reduce crime, improve quality of life, and make Tampa safer, together.

"Tampa thrives because of the strong partnerships of our dedicated police department and a community committed to safety and improvement,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “Together, we have built a reputation as being one of the safest cities of our size in the nation. Just like the award recipients we honor today; every resident has the potential to make a positive impact in our community.”

TPD C.A.R.E.S. funding must serve residents within the municipal boundaries of the City of Tampa by addressing a youth or adult program geared towards crime prevention and community engagement. This includes but is not limited to social development, mentorship, prevention and treatment of drug or domestic abuse, and mental health.

The organizations selected to receive 2024 TPD C.A.R.E.S. funding are:

MEN OF VISION, INC. (awarded $10,000)
Men of Vision, Inc., was selected to receive $10,000 in support of their “Changing the Narrative” program. The mission of Men of Vision, Inc. is to expose young men to new ideas, and opportunities, and to encourage the practice of responsibility & accountability for their future.

Their “Changing the Narrative” program aims to provide scholarships for college, trade, or technical schools for young men in our community. As part of this effort, Men of Vision will also provide the support needed for high school students to graduate and move on to secondary education, summer tutoring for students to avoid a “summer slide” of knowledge, and provide mentorship and tutoring of college students while monitoring their educational progress.

Academy Prep Center of Tampa, Inc. (awarded $5,000)
Academy Prep Center of Tampa Inc. was selected to receive $5,000 in support of their Graduate Support Services project. Academy Prep makes a substantial impact in the lives of students, boasting impressive results with 99% of their graduates successfully graduating from high school on time, 83% of graduates enrolling in college, and an additional 5% proudly serving in the military. 

Through four core components - a demanding academic curriculum; afternoon and Saturday enrichment activities; family and community engagement; and providing at least eight years of support through their Graduate Support Services program after graduation – Academy Prep Center of Tampa is working toward eliminating generational poverty through education.

MRG Labs, Inc (awarded $5,000)
MRG Labs, Inc, was selected to receive $5,000 in support of their Guinn Center program. 
The Guinn Center will provide STEM tutoring, college prep, career mentorship, internship and volunteer opportunities, mental health sessions and workshops, wellness programs, and community connection events. With a focus on the teen community, the Guinn Center will offer events to persuade young people to spend their nights and weekends doing positive things with, and for, the community.

SOAR First (awarded $5,000)
SOAR First was selected to receive $5,000 in support of their Shine Enrichment Pulse program. This initiative is aimed at enhancing community safety and well-being through proactive engagement and crime prevention strategies; ultimately creating a safer and more cohesive neighborhood environment. With multiple events planned, they will keep our youth engaged in positive experiences, deterring them from engaging in criminal activities. Through these initiatives, the Shine Enrichment Pulse program aims to create a vibrant and thriving community where residents feel empowered, connected, and safe.

Cornerstone Kids, Inc. (awarded $2,500)
Cornerstone Kids, Inc. was selected to receive $2,500 in support of their After-School Program. Program activities focus on homework assistance and tutoring, reading and math programs, technology, mentoring, nutrition, and the socio-emotional development of at-risk children, ages 5-11 years old. The program operates at St. James House of Prayer Episcopal Church with a staff of seven and a small pool of volunteers. In addition to the activities offered, a hot nutritious meal is served daily. There is no cost to the children who attend the program.

During the summer, Cornerstone Kids, Inc. operates on a modified After-School Program schedule Monday through Thursday, where lunch is served daily. The curriculum includes arts and crafts, Vacation Bible School, field trips, indoor board games, organized outdoor activities, reading and math programs, and other enrichment activities – including a planned summer course on “Understanding Banking for Children” and a field trip to the Glazer Children’s Museum this month.

Tampa Alumni Guide Right Foundation Inc. was selected to receive $2,500 in support of their Kappa Leadership Development League program. Members of the Foundation's Kappa League program will organize neighborhood clean-up projects focused on removing garbage and other debris from the City of Tampa's rights-of-way, thus improving neighborhood safety and appearance, and deterring criminal activity. The program may include litter/debris abatement, invasive plant removal, landscaping, and/or river/waterway cleanups. 

United Bikerz Jamboree Inc. was selected to receive $2,500 in support of its community initiatives. United Jamboree is a Multicultural motorcycle event that aims to bring the motorcycle community and Tampa area community together for fun, great entertainment, and mentorship opportunities. Led by Chairman Chris Hill who is a 30-year United States Marine veteran, the United Bikerz Jamboree has a goal of hosting quarterly community events that will connect residents to resources they may need and develop mentorships with high school students to aid them in the goal of graduation. United Bikerz Jamboree, Inc. will also continue its ongoing efforts to ensure less fortunate community members are provided nutritious meals during the holiday seasons.

West Tampa Little League Corporation was selected to receive $2,500 in support of their 2024-2025 season. West Tampa Little League is a community-based organization that brings the sport of baseball and softball to families in the heart of Tampa, with fall and spring programs. The policy is to never turn away any family who is financially unable to commit to the season registration fees. This grant will ensure that any child in need is provided with proper equipment to enjoy America’s pastime.