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Member Spotlight: Roots and Wings in Delray Beach

Posted By Marilyn Bieber, Thursday, July 30, 2020

Our member Roots and Wings in Delray Beach helps disadvantaged students lift themselves out of poverty by becoming strong, confident readers and life-long learners.

The nonprofit also collaborates with other community partners in improving education for all children.

We asked the organization’s Founder and President Ted Hoskinson to explain further what Roots and Wings does and how it has made a big difference in the lives of children in Delray Beach and beyond.

1) Explain what Roots and Wings does in the community.

Ted Hoskinson: At Roots and Wings, our mission is to improve the quality of education in our extended South Florida community by supporting the students who most need help in learning to read and providing encouragement for the teachers who are working hard each day to influence and inspire children to learn. 

Our founder was an elementary school teacher for many years, and his heart is still very much tied to early learning. Each of us involved with Roots and Wings has a deep passion for education, and particularly for helping disadvantaged students lift themselves out of poverty. We are helping the children who most need support to become strong, confident readers. We hope our efforts will lead them to life-time learning. In line with this goal we also reward and encourage Master Teachers who we recognize as our most important partners.

2) How has COVID 19 impacted your operations, and what services are you still offering?

Ted Hoskinson: With Palm Beach County public schools not opening this fall, Roots and Wings is diligently focused on working with the School District of Palm Beach County, elementary school principals, the City of Delray and community partners to ensure that internet connectivity in poor neighborhoods of Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Boynton Beach is sufficient, helping to ensure that every child has internet access to participate fully in distance learning.  

We are also working with our partners to devise a meaningful distance learning solution for Project UpLift, our free, intensive, small group after school reading program slated to serve seven schools and 420 2nd and 3rd grade students this fall. We are determined to ensure that young students who are struggling to read, and already engaged in a perilous COVID-slide, have the support they need to regain ground and achieve grade level reading. New research tells us that on average students are only retaining about 70% of what they learned last year. 

With our school-based and community partners, we are developing an individualized distance-learning program utilizing certified teachers who will establish tailored learning pathways and monitor weekly reading progress through distance learning for each of the struggling 2nd and 3rd grade students that Project UpLift primarily serves. In addition, when schools open again, we are hoping to expand our after-school programming from three afternoons a week to five afternoons a week, and to stretching our hours to 6 p.m. each day. This expansion will allow Project UpLIft to help the students most-in-need to catch up on their skills so they can pass that all- important Florida Standards Assessment in reading at the end of 3rd grade. 

3) Explain the difference Roots and Wings has made in the community through the years.

Ted Hoskinson: When Roots and Wings was founded in 2016 we had one small teacher recognition program, the Above and Beyond Awards at Pine Grove Elementary School, a Title One school in Delray Beach.  In the early days we gave our award-winning teachers a small gift bag containing $100 and some candy to share with their students. Four years later we can proudly say that we have presented nearly 1,000 Above and Beyond Awards at 18 Title One public schools to dedicated teachers and public school staff in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton. Now, our award-winning teachers and staff receive $100 in cash and nearly $1,000 worth of gift cards for area restaurants and service providers.  Their goodies are presented in a handsome canvas tote inscribed with “Dedicated Educator” and are accompanied by a framed certificate recognizing them as Above and Beyond Award-winners. 

Project UpLift, our free, intensive, small group after school tutoring program will serve 420 kids at 7 area Title One schools in 2020-21. In just 3 years we have grown from serving 30 students to serving 420! The proof of Project UpLift’s effectiveness is in the impressive reading growth our participating students are demonstrating.  Due to COVID-19, students were not tested at the end of the 2019-20 school year, but we are proud to say that in January of 2020, at the school-year’s mid-point, more than half of our Project UpLift students had already achieved a year’s worth of reading growth. 

Roots and Wings board and our small team are also champions for community collaboration. We partner with the School District, the City of Delray Beach, many other non-profit organizations and area businesses to achieve our goals. We truly believe that “all boats rise on the same tide,” and it is very important to us to collaborate in improving education, but more broadly, to collaborate for a strong, vibrant, cohesive South Florida community. We are working hard to set an example as a community collaborator and we have been formally recognized by the School District for two consecutive years as an “outstanding community partner.”

4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?

Ted Hoskinson: Our South Florida community is fortunate to have an organization that supplies such comprehensive services to non-profit organizations that are working so hard to achieve their missions and improve the quality of life for all of us. The educational seminars, workshops and networking opportunities that Nonprofits First provides are very helpful. They assist our non-profits in learning what they need to know to be most effective at achieving their philanthropic goals and they open the door and invite meaningful collaborations among us.  These efforts make a big difference. 

Learn more about Roots and Wings here.

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Tags:  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit Nugget  Palm Beach County  Philanthropy 

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Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches - COVID-19 UPDATE

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, June 26, 2020

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, Inc. is a locally founded 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to nourish home bound seniors in our community with a freshly prepared and nutritious hot meal. Our volunteers deliver the lunchtime meals 5 days a week to our senior clients along with a friendly hello and wellness check, reporting back any concerns for communication to the family.

We serve those individuals age 65 and over who are home bound due to age, infirmity or debilitating illness and are unable or struggling to food shop and prepare nutritious meals.  Our clients typically are no longer driving or driving infrequently.  They are either living alone or living with their spouse/partner who may also be home bound.  We also serve households where one of the two individuals is homebound and the other is mobile and the primary caregiver.  Our clients all contribute to the cost of the meal service based on a sliding scale and according to their financial ability.  

CURRENT UPDATES:  Due to COVID-19 we have temporarily adjusted our operations to ensure the continued health and safety of the vulnerable senior population we serve, as well our volunteers many of whom are over 60 themselves.  We have shifted from daily deliveries to once a week delivery of a multi-pack of frozen dinner meals along with three breakfast meals.

In addition, we opened temporary meal service eligibility to seniors who are normally mobile and able to shop for themselves but who, due to COVID-19, are not shopping in public to minimize their exposure.  They receive weekly delivery of the multi-pack of meals delivered at no cost which is made possible by special grant funding.

To inquire about eligibility and setup service please call (561) 802-6979 extension 6.

Tags:  COVID-19  Nonprofit  Nonprofit; Membership  Palm Beach County  Resources 

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May Member Spotlight: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, May 26, 2020


As schools turned to distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak, Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has helped to make sure students continue getting educated on career readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and financial literacy.


The organization’s Google Classrooms and virtual Career Speaker Series have served more than 10,000 students in Palm Beach County schools. They have offered “real-world” experiences for students and helped them prepare for a bright future.


As part of our May member spotlight, Nonprofits First asked Katie Spitzig, the agency’s Middle and High School Programs Manager, to explain what Google Classrooms is all about and tell us what Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast does in the community.


1) Explain your Google Classroom learning project.


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has created Google Classrooms in order to serve teachers, students and parents within our community. The specially-created digital classrooms provide resources which help to foster career readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and financial literacy. Our grade level specific classrooms include lessons, worksheets, interactive activities and educational games which teachers and parents can use to help their students understand these important life skills. 


We are constantly updating our Google Classrooms with new programs, lessons, activities and career speaker videos and encourage the community to join our classrooms and check back often! 


2) Explain, in general, the work Junior Achievement does in the community.


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast helps to bridge the gap between the business world and the education world by creating experiential learning opportunities for local students. We work with volunteers to teach programs K-12 which support Junior Achievement’s three pillars: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Junior Achievement works to empower young people to own their own economic success through volunteer-delivered programs. Our goal is to not only inspire our local youth and prepare them to be productive members of a global society but in doing so, also prepare our local families as well.


3) Are there other virtual programs that Junior Achievement offers?


Katie Spitzig: In addition to our Google Classrooms, Junior Achievement has also partnered with The School District of Palm Beach County and our local business leaders to create a Virtual Career Day. Elementary students from around the county will watch videos created by local volunteers from a variety of professions in which they discuss their career path and a typical day in their life. Students will then work to explore different careers and reflect on their personal interests and future potential career paths.


Currently, our Google Classrooms and virtual Career Speaker Series have served over 10,000 students in Palm Beach County schools! With so many Career Days being cancelled in the District, we are excited to offer these “real-world” experiences for our local students and help them to prepare for a bright future!  


4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast values its relationship with Nonprofits First because they help to ensure that we maintain excellence in nonprofit management. The partnership is essential as it helps Junior Achievement with networking, professional development, grant writing assistance and so much more!  


Learn more about Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast here.


If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Tags:  Education  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit  Palm Beach County 

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Member Spotlight: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, March 27, 2020

Learning about science doesn’t have to stop just because we are limited in where we can go during the coronavirus crisis.


South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach is still open – virtually. They offer many programs on their website related to science, technology, engineering and math.


We are spotlighting the Center this month, and asked Melinda Grenz, the director of marketing, to highlight their new virtual activities.

1) Explain what the Center offers the community.


Melinda Grenz: The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium provides curious minds of all ages with an entertaining and educational journey through the latest discoveries in science and technology.


Featuring more than 100 interactive exhibits, dozens of public programs and events, a fresh and saltwater aquarium, planetarium, conservation-themed miniature golf course and the world’s most advanced human brain exhibit, the South Florida Science Center offers a mind-opening experience for all!


2) What are your operations now during the coronavirus crisis?


Melinda Grenz: Although our Center is temporarily closed, our mission “to open every mind to science” continues through our new virtual programming.


We still strive to be a STEM education resource for your family and will offer weekly live science demos, aquarium programs, exhibit tours and more. These programs are designed to keep the next generation of learners engaged and plugged into the world of science, technology, engineering and math.


Learn all about our virtual science program at


3) What do you recommend families do to keep their children interested in science while schools are closed?


Melinda Grenz: Keeping your child engaged in science while school is out doesn’t have to be a chore. We recommend utilizing the fun and exciting new virtual technologies that organizations are starting to launch in our local community and world-wide. The programs we offer are on a weekly schedule so you can plan ahead and even tag along with science experiments from your very own home!


4) How has your membership to Nonprofits First helped your organization?


Melinda Grenz: We are very excited about our new membership with Nonprofits First. We plan to benefit from their education and professional development programs, accreditation standards, grant research assistance, volunteer outreach, and more. The networking events and award ceremonies will be icing on the cake!


Learn more about the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium here:




If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

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Tags:  Charities  COVID-19  Membership  Nonprofit  Palm Beach County  STEM  Technology  Virtual Learning 

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Community Resources (COVID-19 Response)

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Dear Community Partners,
Please share these resources regarding hunger relief for school-aged children and families, the emergency business damage assessment survey, free counseling resources as well as other pertinent information regarding COVID-19 to assist during this challenging time.
Hunger Relief

Thirty (30) sites (listed below) be be open to provide breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 years and younger from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 20, 2020.  Meal service will be grab-and-go from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m..  Students must be present to receive a meal.

Additionally, below is what a few of our partners:
  • Feeding South Florida (FSF) is working with us to provide family meal boxes of food at the 30 sites for families of our students receiving our meals. This support from FSF will be ONLY given out on Tuesday, March 17th and Friday, March 20th. Please refer to this flyer.  Direct any questions to
  • Boca Helping Hands (BHH) is maintaining a modified operations throughout this crisis and is available for qualified families to receive food through the TEFAP commodities program.  All they would need to do is to come to one of their distribution points (East Boca and Boynton Beach) and fill out a two-page form and they would be entitled to a supplemental bag of groceries and frozen meat and/or fresh produce, when available.  The East Boca location is found at 1500 NW 1st Court, Boca Raton; and the Boynton Beach location is First Baptist Church Boynton Beach, 301 N Seacrest Blvd., Boynton Beach. Hours of operation are East Boca - 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and Boynton Beach: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Living Hungry (Maura Plante) - she is working with small local farmers to distribute boxes of farm fresh produce to the community.  One of her lead partners is Lox Farms along with others.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  Unfortunately, the School District is not permitted by the USDA to provide meals during Spring Break as it is an anticipated closure.  There may be an opportunity to have some of these schools open for community organizations to pass food out during the week of March 23, 2020 through March 26, 2020 (Monday - Thursday).  If you are interested please email as soon as possible, and copy Mrs. Allison Monbleau as well at (
Business Damage Assessment Survey

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.
"Gathering information about the impact COVID-19 has on Florida businesses and industries will be invaluable to the state's efforts in coordinating our response," said Governor DeSantis. "It is important that we understand the total impact COVID-19 has on businesses to ensure that we access the resources that may be available."

Free Counseling Support Helpline During COVID-19 Health Crisis

A bilingual, tollfree, 24-7 helpline is now open for all Floridians - no matter whether they are Florida Blue members or not - to help individuals cope with the stress and anxiety they may be feeling given the COVID-19 public health care crisis.  This is in collaboration Florida Blue's partners at New Directions Behavioral Health.
This information is also posted on the Florida Blue blog: or download the flyer here.
Other COVID-19 Related Resources

Please send us any information that you would like us to share with our community.
We will continue to provide information to you as situations arise. 
Jessica Cecere
Chief Executive Officer

Tags:  Charities  Community  Hunger Relief  Leadership  Palm Beach County  Resources 

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