belafonte-tacolcy-community-center-court_web.jpgFlorida International University

Liberty City and other South Florida residents can propel the Belafonte TACOLCY Community Center towards winning a $50,000 grant for renovations by voting online in a nationwide competition sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee.

The company’s “Drops of Good: Maxwell Community Project” contest will award the grants to the five community centers receiving the most online votes by June 17.

TACOLCY, under its formal name, “The Advisory Committee of Liberty City Youth,” was leading the tally by deadline time Tuesday afternoon, receiving 5,291 of 37,325 votes cast.  A center in New York was a close second, with 5,157.

Supporters may vote once a day by going to  All voters receive a $1 coffee coupon and can nominate other organizations for $1,000 “Do-Gooder” grants.

The Maxwell House contest, run in conjunction with Rebuilding together, a nonprofit working to preserve affordable housing and revitalize communities, launched the project April 13.

Other centers in the running for the grants are in Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Indianapolis, South Central Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

The centers were chosen based on their community impact and the level of renovation needed to continue their work.

Isheka Harrison, a TACOLCY spokeswoman, said the grant would enable her agency to renovate classrooms, ventilation and ceilings in its 44-year-old main building.

“As we continue to evolve and grow, so do the demands of the building,” Harrison said. “Many other community organizations use our facilities to host a number of events. It’s important for us to meet our community’s demands.”

TACOLCY trailed the pack at ninth place when the voting began but has steadily rose in the ranks, as Harrison rolled out a social media campaign, turning to Facebook and Twitter, in addition to e-mail blasts.

“People have been very responsive and we are very excited,” she said.“It’s been guerilla marketing at its finest.”

Jessica Padilla may be contacted