Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida receives $25,000 gift from Gulf Power Foundation to support local mentoring programs

Pensacola, Fla. – As a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida (BBBSNWFL), the Gulf Power Foundation has donated to the agency $25,000 to support local mentoring programs that serve over 550 children from Pensacola to Panama City.

Summer break is typically a time for children to relax, indulge in a little extra screen time, play outside, and embrace the kind of freedom that only comes with being young and having zero responsibilities. However, all of this free time can lead to the summer slide, getting into trouble, regression in academic proficiency due to summer break, and experts warn it is hindering children’s progress when they head back to school.

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Yet, one in three will grow up without this critical asset; that’s more than 57,000 children in Northwest Florida.

Summer is around the corner, and this gift will help ensure all children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program from Pensacola to Panama City continue to receive the life-changing support from their mentors during the critical months when children are away from the structure of their school. BBBSNWFL strives to provide Bigs and Littles with fun and safe activities to keep them engaged and motivated during the summer months.

“I’m so excited about this gift! With growing pressures on families in our community, the need for Big Brothers Big Sisters is even more urgent,” said BBBSNWFL President and CEO Paula Shell. “Children are facing so many elements today and we are seeing a higher increase in mental health issues than ever before. We want all children to grow up healthy, safe, and prepared. That is why children need strong role models and relationships with adults who nurture their confidence and their character. Thank you, Gulf Power, for believing in us and helping us spread our message and further our reach here in Northwest Florida.”

The Gulf Power Foundation played an instrumental role with BBBSNWFL when the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2019, BBBSNWFL received the Amplify! grant from the Gulf Power Foundation that provided BBBSNWFL staff members with the appropriate tools and technology equipment that were needed to keep the agency running remotely, including personal laptop computers for every staff member. BBBSNWFL would not have been able to operate properly over the past year without the grant from the Gulf Power Foundation.

“At Gulf Power, we understand that investing in children and their healthy development is investing in our future,” said Sandy Sims, executive director for the Gulf Power Foundation. “We are part of the fabric of Northwest Florida and our mission will always remain to support our communities where we live and work. Grants from the Gulf Power Foundation are just one way we can help build strong and sustainable communities.”

The Gulf Power Foundation has operated for 30 years as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, partnering and investing in communities throughout Northwest Florida. The Foundation is one of the region’s largest corporate foundations, funded entirely through resources independent of Gulf Power’s customers. Learn more about the Foundation and its quarterly grant program here:

This gift is one more example of the strong partnership between BBBSNWFL and Gulf Power. To learn more about how to get involved in BBBSNWFL by becoming a Big, donor, or friend, visit or call 850.433.5437.###

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida BBBSNWFL has been the area’s leader in one-to-one mentoring for 30 years by serving children ages 5-18. Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida served 646 children in Northwest Florida.
About Gulf Power Gulf Power is part of Florida Power & Light Company, which is the largest energy company in the U.S. as measured by retail electricity produced and sold. The companies serve more than 5.6 million customer accounts supporting more than 11 million residents across Florida with clean, reliable and affordable electricity, including more than 470,000 customer accounts in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. In 2020, Gulf Power was recognized with the 2020 ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast suburban/rural service area while FPL won the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Excellence Award for the fifth time in the last six years. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2020 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites:,,,

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