Photo: Cosby Hayes
A Community for All
The characteristics of generosity, thoughtfulness, concern, and a willingness to pitch in to effect change are the essence of what it means to be a Tallahassean.
Tallahassee braced itself for Hurricane Michael in 2018, but the city was spared major damage. The surrounding communities were not. Rebuild 850, a volunteer group chaired by former Florida House Speakers Allan Bense and Will Weatherford, provided post-hurricane donations and assistance. Tallahasseans have similarly come together to meet community needs.
In 2018, the United Way of the Big Bend shifted its strategic direction.
“After an extensive review of our Tallahassee community and our seven surrounding counties, we determined those most in need were our neighbors living in poverty as well as the working poor living paycheck to paycheck,” says Berneice Cox, interim president and CEO.
The move had a ripple effect.
“Tallahassee is lucky: We have community leaders and citizens who recognize the need to address and fund researchbased services through a collective impact model with proven results that move businesses, academia, churches, and schools out of silos to work together collaboratively,” says Tim Center, CEO of the Capital Area Community Action Agency.
Recent community projects include:
• The new Care Point Health & Wellness Center, bringing state-of-the-art medicine to the city’s underserved.
• 32304 Prosperity for All Summits, convened by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor to target poverty though a collective impact model.
• Tallahassee Community College’s Eagles Nest, a food pantry for food-insecure students.
• The Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the Women’s Economic Security Summit.
• ASPIRE, Tallahassee Community College partnering with WFSU Public Media and others to help struggling students.
• CareerSource Florida, managing Apprentice Florida, an apprenticeship program providing mentorship and technical instruction to job seekers.
• Inspired Technologies’ apprenticeship program.
• A partnership between the Capital Area Community Action Agency and ECHO Ministries to develop an Employer Resource Network to assist employees with emergency microloans and services.
• Independence Landing, the brainchild of Allison Tant Richard, an affordable, safe, residential community in the works for adults with varying intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
• The Kearney Center, a state-of-the art shelter providing comprehensive emergency services to Leon County’s homeless population.
• The Dwellings, a revolutionary tinyhome community of 89 occupied homes that fills a gap for people in need of affordable housing after crises.
• Purpose Built Communities, working with the South City Foundation and other local agencies to revamp a public housing complex.