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Gov. Rick Scott has approved $250,000 for Selah Freedom to expand its outreach and residential programs. The nonprofit’s mission is to abolish sex trafficking and exploitation by setting the standards and leading the implementation of best practices, programs and services.

 


 

Laser Pegs Venture, LLC donated 50 lighted construction kits for Littles of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast to assemble at a special Bigs & Littles Match event. The STEM Smart activity will take place from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25 on the Goodwill Manasota Corporate Campus, 2715 51st Ave. E. in Bradenton. The match activity will conclude with lunch provided by Bright House.

 


 

Kevin Monsen, a Florida State University senior majoring in economics, was the winner of the two-year lease on a new Ford Mustang courtesy of Sarasota Ford, a presenting sponsor for the 31st Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival. Matt Buchanan, operating partner for Sarasota Ford, included the car raffle as an additional way to raise money for Suncoast Charities for Children, which produces the festival and Fourth of July bayfront fireworks.

 


 

The Manatee Community Action Agency received a five-year, $4.98 million annual early education grant. In addition to addressing challenges identified by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading, the grant also enables MCAA to offer before- and after-school care to accommodate working parents. MCAA will also be able to increase slots for infants and toddlers.

 


 

Children First received a $45,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to hire a licensed mental health counselor to work with children who are not meeting age-appropriate social and emotional expectations. The funds will also help families who are lacking effective supports in the area of emotional and behavioral well-being. The grant is made possible through the Community Health Endowment Fund at the foundation.

 


 

An anonymous donor has granted $25,000 to the Stars and Stripes Foundation, a fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County created by the Military Officers Association of Sarasota and the Pops Orchestra, for the organization’s successful community Flag Day event held last month. The gift was made to acknowledge the collaborative effort of two all-volunteer organizations, to seed dollars for future events at Patriot Plaza, and to support the Military Officers Association of Sarasota.

 


 

The University Park Women’s Club raised $5,000 for The Food Bank of Manatee to help provide more than 1,500 meals to needy children over summer break.

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