GULF BREEZE — Gulf Breeze Will Do’s 256 members support the 32561 and 32563 zip codes with grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. One hundred percent of the members’ $250 annual dues go to projects members choose to fund.
Since the founding of the organization in 2014, GBWD has donated $150,000 to support 27 area projects.
Current president Wei Ueberschaer was there when the founder, Susan Nitterauer, began bringing her idea to light.
“The founder, Susan, is a friend of mine and she just had this vision of what she wanted to do in the local community, pooling money to make a significant difference in projects or initiatives that otherwise would not get funded,” Ueberschaer said. “She contacted a few friends to run the idea past us and we just started throwing ideas in for how we wanted to see it evolve. It snowballed from there to what we have now.”
The intention was to recruit at least 100 women for GBWD, Ueberschaer said.
“We had over 200 the first year, which exceeded our expectations. This year, we have 265 in the second year of membership. We hope to continue to grow. We’re so grateful our community has embraced this idea of collective philanthropy.”
GBWD has two grant cycles per year. The following are the 2016 fall project winners:
Microscopes for Woodlawn Beach Middle School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math program: $3,327.12
Automatic External Defibrillators for the Gulf Breeze Police Department: $9,144
Drum line Equipment for the Gulf Breeze High School marching band: $9,999
Three sink stations for the Interfaith Ministries Good Samaritan Clinic: $9,689
“(The winners) are not necessarily 501c3 but it’s still a need in this community to have those things,” Ueberschaer said.
GBWD has changed how it organizes grant requests according to Ueberschaer. Previously, the leadership organized them by amount requested. To increase the variety of projects awarded grants, projects cover four categories: arts, recreation and sports; public and private education; hardship supplies and services; and public safety and environment.
“We still award requests between $1,000 and $10,000. Now, we’ve earmarked $10,000 in each category,” she said.
During the Aug. 10 Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners meeting, the commission honored GBWD with a proclamation.
“You’re all passionate about our community,” said Commissioner Lane Lynchard, whose wife, Lori, is a GBWD member. “You put actions above words. You actually make a difference in the things that matter for our area. It’s refreshing to see a group of people come together to actually improve the lives of people who live here helping kids, teachers, first responders and the list goes on. Gulf Breeze Will Do as an organization is 256 women strong. You should all be very proud of what you’ve accomplished in just a few short years. I know I will continue to support you.”
While GBWD will accept new members, it has no plans to expand geographically.
“We thought if we’d focus on one area, we could be much more efficient in it,” Ueberschaer said. “The goal has always been that the idea spreads so that there will eventually be a Navarre Will Do or Milton or Pace Will Do. We’re prepared to help any group of women to set one up, to learn what we’ve gone through.”
The grant application deadline is Sept. 18. Visit www.gulfbreezewilldo.org for more information.