Escambia County gives $1.2 million to community partners. Here’s how it was spent

Escambia County commissioners finalized on Thursday more than $1 million dollars in funding for a variety of community partners to be included in the 2023-2024 fiscal budget. The county annually allocates funding to a number of different organizations, most of which comes from Third and Fourth Cent Tourist Development Tax Funds. Here’s a breakdown of where that money will be spent in the community.

Keep Pensacola Beautiful, Inc.: $100,000

Keep Pensacola Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Through community cleanups and educational programs, the organization aims to improve the quality of life in Escambia County by addressing common environmental challenges. Currently, their efforts are focused on education, litter reduction and recycling initiatives.

African American Heritage Society, Inc.: $60,000

The African American Heritage Society of Pensacola is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and integrating African American history, heritage, culture and diversity through education and the humanities, as well as supporting and promoting cultural tourism in Northwest Florida.

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Inc.: $100,000

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation supports the National Naval Aviation Museum, National Flight Academy, DoD STARBASE Pensacola, and the Flight Adventure Deck, which advances STEM education for our nation’s youth. The non-profit organization also aims to promote the history and heritage of naval aviation for current and future generations.

West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc.: $225,000

West Florida Historic Preservation collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the history of Northwest Florida with visitors and the community. It was established by the Florida legislature and charged with a number of responsibilities including acquiring and preserving local historic monuments, sites, buildings and artifacts for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the public; and to research and disseminate written, audio and visual information to further the protection and preservation of historic sites, properties and human stories pertaining to Florida history.

This allocation would specifically go toward maintenance and conservation of St. Michael’s Cemetery, Mt. Zion Cemetery, AME Zion Cemetery, and Magnolia Cemetery.

General Chappie James Museum: $50,000

The museum showcases the life of General Daniel “Chappie” James. Originally from Pensacola, James was the first African American to become a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Washington High School and attended Tuskegee Institute where he became one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen and served in the 99th Squadron.  Through the historic museum and other outreach programs, supporters present General James’ life as a role model for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics and other qualities of good leadership like discipline, teamwork, self-esteem and confidence.

Santa Rosa Island Authority: $250,000

The Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) is the governing branch overseeing Pensacola Beach on Santa Rosa Island. It’s fully funded from lease fees collected from beach businesses and residences. The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners each appoint a member to serve on the SRIA board, whose term runs concurrent with the commissioner who appointed them.

Pensacola Mardi Gras Foundation Inc.: $250,000

The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports annual Mardi Gras events including the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade. According to its website, it’s the largest and most extravagant parade in Pensacola, with the largest gathering of people in Downtown Pensacola during the entire year. The Grand Mardi Gras Parade features most of the Krewes from the area, local organizations and companies and everything from marching bands to Scout groups. 

Pensacola Area Chamber Foundation Inc.: $96,000

The Pensacola Area Chamber Foundation says its mission is to support the economic prosperity and impact the economic wellbeing of the community. The foundation supports programs like Leadership Pensacola (LeaP), which aims to develop community-minded leaders as well as the West Florida Defense Alliance (WFDA), which supports the local military community.  

Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce Inc.: $85,000

The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce was formed to promote economic growth and give a voice to business owners on Santa Rosa Island. It is governed by a Board of Directors of local business leaders, and represents and supports a variety of industries, businesses of various sizes and geographic locations, on Pensacola Beach and beyond.

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