The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has invested $112,618 to continue the work of the Community Resource Center in Port St. Joe, and another $15,000 to introduce students at Port St. Joe High School to STEM studies through Florida A&M University.

Both grants were made through the Port St. Joe Capacity Building Fund, established by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in 2008.

The Community Resource Center — a collaborative venture of Career Source Gulf Coast, the Christian Community Development Fund, the Washington Improvement Group and other local entities —  was established in 2011 to provide coordinated support, job training and job placement services to underserved residents of Port St. Joe. In the last three years, the Center has placed 102 individuals in jobs.

In addition to job training and placement, the Center offers youth development programs, provides food distribution and emergency assistance to those in need and has become a hub for the underserved community.

The grant was awarded to Career Source Gulf Coast.

Florida A&M University received the $15,000 grant to create eight events for Port St. Joe High School students that will engage them in hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

FAMU graduate students will provide four events at the high school, three events on the FAMU campus and one event in the field. The goal of the one-year pilot is to increase student interest in STEM subjects and motivate more students to pursue post-secondary education in STEM fields.

Since 2008, the Port St. Joe Capacity Building Fund has awarded 66 grants valued at $4.3 million to support activities that increase academic performance and healthy development of children 0-18, support job skills training and asset development for working age individuals, and increase access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

Written by
Melanie Cost Young