In a neighborhood where quality education and school choice are limited, CARE Elementary School has a simple mission: to bridge the reading, literacy and technology gap in under-served communities. CARE is a free, private nonprofit elementary school located in one of Miami’s under resourced communities, Overtown. When CARE opened its doors for the first time in August 2015, according to their Lexia Core5 results, five percent of third graders were working at grade level. Today, 94 percent of the class is working on grade level material.

Through its Community Grants program, The Miami Foundation invests in local nonprofit organizations, such as CARE Elementary School, dedicated to addressing well-being of children and youth and other pressing civic issues that shape quality of life in Greater Miami.  The Foundation yesterday announced the 70 nonprofits that will share more than $1 million in grants this year for their innovative programs expanding access to opportunities for thousands of Miami-Dade County residents.

“There is one common denominator to a firm future – education and literacy. When you immerse kids with literacy and give them that strong foundation, that opens so many doors,” said CARE Elementary School Principal Christopher Simmonds to a crowd of more than 200 community leaders during The Miami Foundation’s Community Grants reception. “You help sustain us. When students see you support them, they grab onto it and move forward.”

Over the past 49 years, more than 100 donors have created funds with The Miami Foundation to support causes they care about, forever. “The foresight of philanthropists who have entrusted their charitable dollars to us guides our Community Grants work,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Their generosity enables us to invest in efforts that connect their philanthropic legacies with civic issues shaping Greater Miami now and in the future.”

Other 2016 Community Grants recipients such as Legal Services of Greater Miami help homeless veterans to secure housing. Florida International University Foundation, Inc., and Nova Southeastern University bring residents in low-income areas critical access to primary health and dental care. Miami City Ballet and Miami Music Project offer under-served youth quality arts education. BAN Productions connects communities in need with nutritious foods.

The Miami Foundation celebrated this year’s 70 grant recipients and honored donors at its annual Community Grants reception, held at HistoryMiami, a 2016 Community Grants awardee. Principal Simmonds, of CARE Elementary School, and Marilu Villa, program manager of Mexican-American Council in Homestead, Florida, spoke from their experiences of how funding they received has enabled their organizations to empower youth and families through quality education and mentoring programs. Guitars Over Guns Organization’s student band, another grant recipient, performed.

“These organizations provide access to opportunity for thousands of Miamians,” said Soto. “We are privileged to partner with them in helping to build a greater Miami.”

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