PBC Diversity Venture Fund
United Way funds diversity aid
By Patty Pensa
February 6, 2003
Working with an $800,000 budget, Daniella
Henry figures she can spend about $100 on each of the 8,000 or so clients who
come to the Haitian
American Community Council in Delray Beach each
It's hardly enough, she said, but a special new fund from the
United Way of Palm Beach County offers hope.
On Wednesday, United Way
officials launched the Palm Beach County Diversity Venture Fund with $125,000
already in its coffers. The money is for nonprofit groups that serve minority
communities, especially grass-roots or community-based groups that have trouble
competing for grants.
Henry said the council cannot afford a professional
grant writer like those used by some larger organizations. The council didn't
get United Way funding last year, but the diversity fund could help, she
"We are in dire need of this," said Henry, the council's executive
director. "This will be a great way to reach out to the underprivileged and
The diversity fund was announced during a United Way event
for more than 100 black community leaders. The fund is intended for agencies
serving clients of various races, ethnicities, religions and sexual
orientations, said Eileen Boyle, the United Way executive vice
United Way officials have not decided whether they will direct
money from the 2002-2003 campaign to the diversity fund. Most of the fund's
money is expected to come from businesses and organizations, Boyle
The county's Children's Services Council contributed $50,000, as
did JM Family Enterprises. Palm Healthcare Foundation gave $25,000, and $100,000
is pending from the Quantum Foundation. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel increased
its corporate donation from $50,000 to $75,000 specifically for the diversity
fund, Boyle said.
Officials hope to raise about $500,000 for the fund
each year, Boyle said.
"Very often a community-based organization is the
best way to meet the needs of the community," she said. "The United Way is not
just a mainstream institution. We try to identify and meet the needs of all
Grass-roots and community groups have been longing for
help, said Debra Marcelle-Coney, executive director of the Revitalax Victorian
homeless shelters in Lake Worth and West Palm Beach.
With a budget of
less than a $400,000, the Revitalax Victorian homes served 35 people last year.
The clients, most of whom are minorities, are homeless, mentally disabled,
recovering addicts or infected with HIV.
The agency needs a grant writer
and volunteer coordinator, Marcelle-Coney said.
United Way officials will
begin allocating money in about three months. First, the board of about 15
people must be selected, said Wilfred Hawkins, temporary chairman of the
"Hopefully, we'll be able to assist these groups in
becoming stronger and more effective," said Hawkins, assistant city manager in
Patty Pensa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Copyright Ā 2003, South Florida
Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel