At The Miami Foundation, and specifically in my role, we get a bird’s eye view of the hundreds of nonprofits on the ground every day, making sure everyone who lives here has access to resources they need to thrive. This helps shape a unique perspective of how each nonprofit serves as a vital piece of a greater puzzle. It allows us to see what’s working, where opportunities for improvement exist and how people are coming together to make this work happen.

Every year, we invest more than $1 million to advance these efforts through the Community Grants program. Sixty-four outstanding local nonprofits will receive funding this year, made possible by generous philanthropists in our community who created permanent, charitable Funds with us. We unite the quality of life issues they care about with the 2016 Our Miami Report’s findings, allowing us to address emerging needs throughout Miami-Dade.

One of the forward-thinking proposals we received this year was from Arts & Business Council of Miami, pictured above. They’ve long leveraged partnerships between the creative and private sectors behind our thriving cultural landscape. Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which provides pro-bono legal assistance to artists, creatives and social entrepreneurs, came out of one of these strengths-based partnerships. They plan to use their grant for a new Patent Project, supported by the United States Patent Office, which will give free legal services to creatives, making it easier for them to protect their work as they pursue new ventures using emerging technologies.

At Venture Café Miami’s 50 Years of Nonprofit Innovation Thursday Takeover last night, hundreds of folks came out to celebrate – and experience first-hand – the amazing work of these organizations over the past 50 years and how they’re moving the community into the future. Guitars Over Guns’ youth musicians rocked it out; South Florida National Parks Trust brought us an immersive Everglades experience; and Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative shared stories of how volunteers, partners and donors have reached 100,000 homes, going door-to-door throughout the county annually to provide life-saving education to prevent breast cancer and heart disease.

Students from 2017 Community Grants recipient Guitars Over Guns organization play at Venture Café Miami’s 50 Years of Nonprofit Innovation Thursday Takeover on June 8. Photo courtesy of L. David Stewart for Year 60 Photography.

Other grantees are empowering residents with tools and knowledge to make more informed decisions and improve quality of life. For example, Capital Good Fund, launched in Florida last year, provides low-income individuals with credit-building programs, interest-free microloans and credit coaching so they can avoid poverty. Their grant will finance 25 residency loans, which borrowers can then put toward costs related to securing safe, affordable housing, such as placing security deposits on new apartments, paying past-due rent or utilities or covering moving expenses. Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida will bring their Decisions for Your Life program to 11 sites in low-income neighborhoods and public housing communities throughout Miami-Dade. Whereas most other scout troops are led by parents, Girl Scout staff and community-based volunteers partner to guide the 300 girls participating in the Decisions program, linking young girls with new opportunities, discovery, connection and goal-setting for a successful future.

Last night, over a dozen additional grantees showcased their innovations, collaborations and impact of the last 50 years. It helped us reinforce how all these seemingly different programs actually unite together to drive holistic community change in Greater Miami. With help from each Miamian joining the effort, we can ensure our nonprofit organizations continue innovating over the next 50 years and beyond.

Victoria Fear is programs officer at The Miami Foundation.

See photos from the 50 Years of Nonprofit Innovation event on our Facebook page.

  • Mimi Pink
    Posted at 18:23h, 09 June Reply

    Thrilled to be a 2017 Community Grants recipient to advance Food Forests for Schools!

    Thank you Miami Foundation for 50 years of Adventure and Accomplishment!

    Mimi Pink, The Education Fund

  • Ark
    Posted at 19:16h, 09 June Reply

    Many of the grants are going to the usual large organizations. Regardless of the important services they provide, they already have a mono[poly of access to foundations nation wide.
    They might provide local services but are not local organizations, additionally are organizations with LARGE marketing budgets and FAT salaries. There is very little courage on the selection of the organizations, it looks more of a political parade.

    • The Miami Foundation
      Posted at 17:16h, 09 June Reply

      Thank you for your valuable feedback, Ark. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about the small, local organizations you believe should be on our radar. Please reach out to our programs officer, Victoria Fear, with introductions to those organizations we should meet. Thanks again.

  • David Feigenbaum
    Posted at 19:50h, 09 June Reply

    Fantastic job. What an incredible, indelible impact you make thru your support of those institutions and the community.

  • Ana Laura Alexander
    Posted at 15:09h, 31 January Reply

    One World Soul of Dance is challenging the separation of cultural traditions in our cities. This is sorely needed and underfunded. Our Center is addressing a need to empower the unifying determining force of multicultural education, entrenched in the maintainance of cultural boundaries.. We empower multicultural education and cultural intrgrity through traditional folkloric dance…. in the theater….to educate, preserve and unify the American dream.
    The roots of European culture are enshrined in high art. Then compare this to the street festivals where folklore, the ancestral roots of the ‘other’ Americans, are preserved and in grave danger of being lost. Unity is in the roots of our ancestors, our traditions and in ‘dancing’ together.

    • The Miami Foundation
      Posted at 17:24h, 31 January Reply

      Hi Ana,

      Thanks for your comment! We’d encourage you to apply for our 2018 Community Grants program. You can find out more information about the guidelines and the types of projects we’re funding at

  • Ricardo Calderon
    Posted at 20:07h, 15 February Reply

    I wish to apply for a grant.

    • The Miami Foundation
      Posted at 21:30h, 15 February Reply

      Hi Ricardo,

      Our pre-proposal deadline for the 2018 Community Grants program has now passed, but we do have a few other grant programs that your organization may be eligible for. You can take a look at all of them here:

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