FORT WALTON BEACH — The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties announced at its recent grant award check presentation ceremony that it will invest $660,181 in the two counties in 2018 and 2019.

Included in the amount is $420,000 in community impact grants awarded to 25 programs in the areas of health, education, and financial stability, according to a press release from the United Way.

Checks for the grants were presented to representatives from 18 community partners. They were AMIKids Emerald Coast, Arc of the Emerald Coast, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, Children in Crisis, Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast, Eleanor J. Johnson Youth Center and the Emerald Coast Science Center. Also, Northwest Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation, Independence for the Blind of West Florida, Mental Health Association of Okaloosa-Walton Counties, Opportunity Place, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida, Sharing and Caring of Okaloosa County, Shelter House, Florida Panhandle 2-1-1 (at Chautauqua Healthcare Services), and the Walton Okaloosa Council on Aging.

This year marks the first time the United Way has awarded program grants under a community impact model adopted by its board of directors last year.

“Approximately one year ago the board and staff adopted the new community impact concept initiated by United Way nationally,” said Alan Wood, Florida president of CCB Bank and current chairman of the United Way board of directors.

He added that awarding the community impact grants represented an exciting day for all involved.