PCF Social Justice Fund Supports Youth STEM and Wellness Programs

by | Jul 22, 2022 | Children & Youth, Education, Social Justice | 0 comments

Since 2018, the Pinellas Community Foundation Social Justice Fund, using a trust-based philanthropy approach, has awarded over $700,000 in grants to more than 35 nonprofits.

The Pinellas-based nonprofits funded by the PCF Social Justice Fund work in under-resourced neighborhoods, focusing on racial, economic, educational, housing, and health justice. In addition to monetary support, the PCF Social Justice Fund provides capacity-building and training services to increase the organizations’ success rates.

According to the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, there are six practices used by philanthropists and philanthropic organizations to provide the best outcomes for low-income and resource-starved communities. These practices include multiyear, unrestricted funding, long-term flexible funding, and simplifying and streamlining paperwork. The PCF Social Justice Fund uses the same methods to offer grants to nonprofits that don’t have a long enough track record to qualify for other grant funding.

Check out some of the organizations supported by the Pinellas Community Foundation Social Justice Fund!

AEDI Foundation

AEDI Foundation’s flagship program, the Super Sprockets STEM Club, targets children in racially and socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods who may have limited exposure to STEM education. The Super Sprockets STEM Club has tremendously improved students’ STEM attitudes and content knowledge while stimulating interest in STEM careers.

Participants use hands-on learning techniques to examine the human brain at the AEDI Foundation.
A young girl examines a circuit board while participating in an AEDI Foundation program.

The STEM Saturdays project, another AEDI youth program, targets underserved students who traditionally have less exposure to supplemental curriculum focused on STEM education. The programs offer technology, experiments, computer building, drone navigation, and culturally sensitive instructors to encourage students, increasing self-esteem and instilling empowerment.

Being a recipient of the Social Justice Fund grant from the foundation has allowed our organization to build the capacity to serve over a hundred kids in our community. We have used the funds to hire professionals, purchase resources, feed our participants, and deliver a first-class STEM experience for our most vulnerable kids. Partnerships like this will help bridge the gap in STEM education for the St. Petersburg community.Rafael Robinson, AEDI Foundation Founder

The PCF Social Justice Fund provided $25,000 in operational support for both programs.

Shihan School of Survival

The Shihan School of Survival Youth on Track program teaches students throughout Pinellas County the art of jiujitsu and karate. These martial art disciplines encourage today’s youths to develop their minds, bodies, and souls.

The program uses martial arts to help children combat youth obesity, diabetes, violence, bullying, gang activities, criminal behavior, suicide, and drug use.

Shihan SOS offers services to organizations, schools, and libraries, including Campbell Park Elementary, Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg, Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center, Artz 4 Life Academy, GRAYDI Neighborhood Family Center, and North Greenwood Library.

Shihan Walter Evans teaches children discipline, focus, and integrity at Shihan School of Survival.

Shihan SOS annually sponsors the Clearwater Open Karate Championships, which gives the youths and adults in Pinellas and surrounding counties an opportunity to participate in an independent martial arts tournament and competition. The tournament regularly brings competitors together from as far away as Miami, Ocala, Orlando, New York, and Puerto Rico; all participants receive awards for their efforts.

Over 1,250 youths and adults have participated in this event in the past five years. In 2022, Representatives Hakim Jeffries and Charlie Christ recognized Shihan Walter Evans and Shihan SOS.

The Shihan School of Survival is very appreciative of the Social Justice Fund and what it has done to help our program to continue servicing the youth in Pinellas County. We’re able to hold classes in several different locations because of the help we received in maintaining our transportation, which is vital — because so many youth in the community depend on my classes for support, giving them time and a place to come other than spending idle time in the streets. Many youth have left our program and go into the military or continue their academic pursuits in college.Shihan Walter Evans, Shihan SOS Founder

The PCF Social Justice Fund supported the organization through operational support and vehicle maintenance with a $25,000 award.

Expand Your Reach Through Trust-Based Philanthropy

If you are a Tampa Bay nonprofit with a social justice imperative as part of your mission and are interested in learning more about the Social Justice Fund, or if you are interested in donating to help change our community through the PCF Social Justice Fund, please reach out below.