The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation on Tuesday rewarded 15 local charities with a record $2.7 million in proceeds from its annual Destin Charity Wine Auction.
The recipients received large, ceremonial checks onstage during the 12th annual Destin Charity Auction Foundation Check Presentation Ceremony at Watercolor LakeHouse on Tuesday.
Since 2005, DCWAF has donated more than $15 million to Northwest Florida children’s charities to help more than 90,000 kids.
DCWAF is currently ranked as the third largest charity wine auction in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine. The foundation’s mission is to connect wine enthusiast with children in need in Northwest Florida.
“These charities have worked with us all year round and are true partners,” said John Russell, the foundation’s president. “We are also proud how they work and support each other in helping children in our community.”
Russelll said none of the charities knew how much money they were going to receive until Tuesday’s ceremony.
“It’s like Christmas and New Year's all in one,” he said. “It’s always a big surprise for them.”
Russel said the money can go to paying bills, buying food, and other basic needs children might need on a daily basis.
“If we can help in that, then they can focus more on the kids,” he said.
With its $225,000 donation, Children in Crisis will be able to better help abused, neglected and abandoned children.
“This is really the highlight of our year,” said Ken Hair, the CEO of Children in Crisis. “With this money we be will able to feed, clothe and care for children that are living in our houses.”
Hair said his organization's daily operations wouldn't be possible without DCAF.
“They are difference makers,” he said.
Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center also received $225,000 that will help provide mental health therapy and medical programs. The money will also help coordinate investigations of child abuse and neglect, according to Julie Porterfield, the charity’s chief executive officer.
“We are sure our children thank God every day for events like Destin Charity Wine Auction. … It is such a blessing,” she said.
Food for Thought Outreach, which helps feed students in Okaloosa and Walton counties, received $240,000.
“DCWAF has helped us grow and expand our services in the last five years,” said Tiffanie Nelson, Food for Thought's founder. “This money will go toward our backpack program.”
The money will help buy 2,500 food items each week to fill backpacks that are distributed to local schools during the school year.
“This is the only source of funds that we know we will get every year,” she said.
The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation also set aside $15,000 in an emergency children’s fund that can be used if one of the non-profits needs a quick influx of emergency funding.
“This children’s fund is set aside for our benefiting charities should they ever find themselves in a tough spot,” said Kate Mikos, DCWAK's communication manager.
Other recipients included:
• AMIkids Emerald Coast, $120,000
• Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, $200,000
• Children's Volunteer Health Network, $225,000
• Emerald Coast Autism Center, $200,000
• Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, $150,000
• Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton County, $150,000
• Opportunity Place, $85,000
• Pathways for Change, $170,000
• Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, $225,000
• Shelter House of Northwest Florida, $170,000
• The Arc of the Emerald Coast, $200,000
• Youth Village, $100,000
For more information on the DCWAF, visit www.dcwaf.org.