FKHRF formed after Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys and the Ocean Reef Community Foundation (ORCF) approached one of our (now) board members, George Neugent, looking for a method and/or charitable organization with a strong county-wide ties and an understanding of the resulting needs of the affected workforce. Thus, the FKHRF was born. In an effort to begin distribution of donations immediately, the FKHRF sought out an organization that, despite a broader mission than support of the Keys’ workforce, was already accepting applications for financial assistance from the community- Coldwell Banker Schmitt Charitable Foundation (CBSCF). With the ORCF funds, the FKHRF was able to provide charitable assistance to those CBSCF applicants that met our more limited criteria and thus help more members of the community. The opportunity to utilize the established process of a well-respected foundation and our ability to provide funding for applicants they might otherwise have financially been unable to assist created a win-win situation for all involved. This process guided the FKHRF work from October 2017 until recently.
While the mission appropriate applications to CBSCF have reduced in number over time, the need for charitable support of the Keys’ workforce remains and, some would argue, continues to grow as we enter a deep-recovery time post-Irma. The ORCF continues to support the FKHRF mission and has committed to additional donations as a result of our excellent work over these past months. The FKHRF will begin to directly accept applications from organizations or individuals whose work or need meets our mission. For example, we have recently received donations of gift cards from Farm Share that we were able to distribute. We have also been approached by the Florida Key’s Community Land Trust seeking a financial donation that will assist their efforts to build affordable rental units on Big Pine. If the demonstrated need continues to maintain or grow, the FKHRF may seek additional monetary donations from sources other than the ORCF to allow us to make charitable contributions to organizations/individuals such as these that are assisting the resident workforce as they rebuild their lives in our community.