Left to right: Javier Alberto Soto, President of The Miami Foundation; Tina Brown, Executive Director of Overtown Youth Center; Yance Torres, Development Director of Overtown Youth Center and Stephen Marino, Board Chair of Overtown Youth Center at the foundation’s 50th Anniversary Signature Grants Awards Ceremony, held June 2.



Special to South Florida Times

MIAMI – In celebration of The Miami Foundation’s 50th anniversary, the foundation awarded $50,000 grants to many local organizations, including Breakthrough Miami, the Overtown Youth Center, Carrfour Supportive Housing, Grameen America and Voices for Children.

Last Friday, the organizations were recognized at The Miami Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Signature Grants Award Ceremony.

“We are at a pivotal point in our program. This funding allows us to create a greater impact in Miami and allows OYC to provide a continuity of services,” Tina Brown, executive director of the Overtown Youth Center, said in an e-mail.

The organizations plan to use their funding to hire, train and develop their staff, which are predominantly people of color.

“We are planning to provide support to additional students in the Little Haiti area,” Brown added.

Overtown Youth Center provides comprehensive in-school, after school and summer programming that includes mentoring, academic enhancement, tutoring, exposure trips, performing and visual arts and other overall support systems for elementary, middle school and high school students at select schools.

With the signature grant, they plan to expand into Miami Edison Senior High School to continue servicing the middle school students from Jose De Diego enrolled in their program that will matriculate at Edison.

Breakthrough Miami builds a vast network of educational resources to increase graduation rates at both the high school and collegiate levels.

“We serve about 1,200 under resourced students throughout Miami-Dade County, so those funds will definitely go far in providing academic resources for our students,” said Dwanita Fields, a senior site director for Breakthrough Miami.

“We recruit students from under resourced areas throughout Miami-Dade County and provide a summer program, as well as, a school year program for them. There is no cost for anyone in our program,” Fields continued.

According to Breakthrough Miami’s grant application, their funding will also be used to accelerate execution of the organization’s three-year plan which includes hiring new staff to implement and manage a new technology platform as well as upgrading and retooling the capacity of existing team members.

Matthew Beatty, the Director of Communications for The Miami Foundation, said the foundation is committed to supporting all of Miami’s residents.

“As Greater Miami surges forward, it is critical that opportunities be equitably distributed across the community. Our 50th Anniversary ‘Opportunity’ Signature Grants are about supporting the social and economic conditions needed for all residents to thrive,” Beatty said. “These grantees have a history of proven success and are clearly positioned to continue driving solutions to achieve even greater impact for the future.

It’s our privilege to support them.”

At the event, each organization expressed gratitude to The Miami Foundation as well as excitement about continuing to improve Miami through its community work.

“The Miami Foundation is one of our key community partners and we are grateful to Mr. Javier Soto and his leadership team; as well as the collective impact that the Miami Foundation has had in many of our communities,” Brown said.