'Addressing the biggest needs': Community Foundation spreads help across Tampa Bay area

A local foundation is fulfilling its mission of making the Tampa Bay area a great place to live by spreading their help around. 

Daniyah Gay, a student at Academy Prep Center for Tampa, has big plans. She said she wants to be a surgeon or work for NASA asa mathematician. 

Her dreams began at the free private school for students who want to get a top-flight education, but can't afford private school tuition. 

WHAT'S RIGHT: 'Tasha is my sister': Friend authors book for goddaughter's college fund after father passes away

"I think it's a really good school, because it prepares us for the future, and we know how because, like, we're taking higher courses now," said Gay. "So we're like on a higher level than other schools. So I think it's like a really grateful opportunity to be at." 

Part of the reason she is able to come to Academy Prep, is because of the Community Foundation Tampa Bay. They provide funds to non-profits to help them reach their mission of building a better community. 

"It's a wide gamut of nonprofit organizations. Anybody that registers a 501c3, it could be a religious organization," said Jesse Coraggio with the Community Foundation Tampa Bay. "It could be an educational institution. It could be a social service organization. It could be a wide variety of folks from the perspective of feeding organizations, really addressing the biggest needs in our community building, transportation services, education." 

Last year, they gave a record amount of money away to local organizations. Mary & Martha House, got $50,000, Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay got just under $50,000 and St. Petersburg Arts Alliance received $25,000.  

MORE: St. Petersburg College celebrates 95 years

"From July through June, we gave out $72 million in grants into the community. That was about just under 1,300 organizations received funding with those grants," Coraggio said. 

L'Tanya Evans, the head of school at Academy Prep, said she's appreciative of organizations like Community Foundation Tampa Bay. 

"We would have to work incredibly hard to find other donors and probably taper our program. We're able to do so much more as a result of that support," she said. 

It's support that is helping students reach for their dreams. Money comes from private donations, and they have helped hundreds of non-profits.