The Citrus County Education Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non- profit corporation created in 1988 to support public education in Citrus County, prekindergarten through twelfth grade. CCEF funds a variety of programs including First Library which provides young, at-risk students from low income families with books to take home and call their own. Grants are provided to classroom teachers to develop innovative and creative learning. Golden Citrus Scholar Awards recognize top graduating seniors with scholarships each year in eight academic categories. Black Diamond Foundation has provided $27,000 of funding over the past two years. Visit the Citrus County Education Foundation web site.
YMCA of the Suncoast has been in operation since 1957 and grown from its initial location in Clearwater to multiple branch locations including the Citrus Memorial Health Foundation YMCA. In addition to its community, health, fitness and sports programs, the YMCA offers a number of children and teen programs. One of the Academic Enrichment Programs serves 54 low income / at-risk children in three Citrus County elementary schools. The YMCA provides state certified teachers at each elementary for after-school tutoring of low performing first grade students to prevent them from falling hopelessly behind. In 2019, Black Diamond Foundation has given $10,000 toward the Academic Enrichment Program and issued an additional challenge grant to match up to $5,000 in donations from the general public. YMCA web site.
Take Stock in Children is a state-wide non-profit organization founded in the early 1990s to lower high school dropout rates. In Citrus County, the organization seeks to break the cycle of poverty for low-income, academically qualified students by providing opportunities for a post-secondary education. The program provides a one-on-one mentor for children eighth grade and higher for guidance and encouragement and provides full college scholarships for the successful student. In 2018, Black Diamond Foundation provided $10,000 of funding to Take Stock in Children of Citrus County. See the web site.
The Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast, a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization, was initiated by Florida statute that established Florida's Office of Early Learning and local early learning coalitions. The Florida Legislature recognized that "school readiness programs increase children's chances of achieving future educational success and becoming productive members of society". The Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast operates the School Readiness Program and the Voluntary PreKindergarten Program in Citrus, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Sumter Counties. ELC currently is serving approximately 850 to 900 children by contracting with local child care providers to offer quality early learning programs in the area of literacy and character development. Black Diamond Foundation gave $10,000 to the Coalition in 2018. This was matched by $160,000 in federal/state funds. Click for their web site.
Withlacoochee Technical College provides local adult education in a variety of trades and careers including information technology, automotive, welding, air conditioning, building construction trades, corrections and law enforcement, cosmetology, culinary arts, and nursing. Black Diamond Foundation contributed another $15,000 in 2019 to the WTC general scholarship fund. The fund has been used over the years to help proven students with tuition, educational supplies and licence/certification fees. Black Diamond chef, Ben Defazio, is a graduate of WTC and a beneficiary of the Black Diamond scholarship fund. Link to the WTC web site.
The Boys and Girls Clubs provide a positive bridge between the end of the school day and the parent’s arrival home. Located in Homosassa, Beverly Hills and Inverness, the three Citrus County sites provide after school and summer programs to more than 120 children per day - ages 6 to 18. Their goal is to expand to 250 children served per day. The clubs’ development programs focus on education and career development, character and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills, and fitness and recreation. Black Diamond Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to BGCCC in 2019. Click for their web site.