Our First Responders...
The first responders who serve Gulf Breeze—police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)—provide critical and life-saving services to our citizens and broader community. Occasionally, one of our own employees or volunteer providers is impacted by an unforeseen situation, such as an accident, natural disaster or family emergency.
This can be even more critical when this happens to a volunteer who receives little to no compensation for their service. During these challenging times, colleagues and Gulf Breeze citizens want to help those who put their lives on the line for us when called upon. This would also cover first responders from other jurisdictions—including but not limited to, Midway Volunteer Fire Department and Pensacola Beach Fire Department—in the event of a catastrophic injury or death of the first responder while working on or at an emergency event/situation occurring in the City of Gulf Breeze.
To assist in providing an effective and sustainable way to support first responders during times of need, we have established the Gulf Breeze First Responders’ Crisis Fund (GBFRCF).
The program may be funded through donations by citizens, fellow employees, or other persons/entities and is administered by the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida (CFNWF). The program was outsourced to a community foundation to objectively handle our first responders’ requests for financial support with compassion, confidentiality, and urgency.
As a separate public charitable fund, CFNWF, in its sole discretion, will review applications and determine incident eligibility and award amount. Their staff is available to assist the first responders in this process by calling CFNWF at (850) 434-5890 with any questions regarding the application process.
Eligibility and Grant Information
- Current and active first responders (employee and volunteer) who serve the Gulf Breeze community, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs.
- Eligible applicants may receive a maximum of one grant in a 365-day period, unless there are multiple personal injuries which put the first responder out of service.
The maximum grant amount is $2,000. The maximum award is not guaranteed, and in some cases a lesser amount may be awarded. In certain extraordinary circumstances, an exception to this maximum may be made at the discretion of the CFNWF grant committee.
When a distribution from the GBFRCF is approved, payment is made directly to vendors; assistance funds are not sent directly to applicants. Vendors include but not limited to, utility company, water/sewer company, telephone company, mortgage company to pay bill, or for expenses that result from the crisis/tragedy. In certain circumstances, an exception to this requirement may be made at the discretion of the CFNWF.
Qualified incidents are unexpected injuries or emergencies that arise outside of your control and cause an economic hardship for your family. It is typically a one-time event that occurs unexpectedly and causes unanticipated expense. The incidents must have occurred in the past 90 days and expenses must not be covered by other sources (current employer, insurance, etc.). They will fall into the following four categories:
Catastrophic Illness or Injury —The Fund is not a substitute for medical insurance; employees or volunteers do not automatically qualify for a grant when they, or their dependents, are diagnosed with or suffer a life-threatening or serious illness or injury. There must be resulting financial need including an inability to pay for basic living expenses. Doctor confirmation and/or medical documentation will be required.
Death Incident —This includes the death of the employee, spouse, or eligible dependent(s). The loss of income or the cost of funeral expenses or medical bills must prevent an employee or the employee’s family from affording basic living expenses. The Fund may also be able to pay expenses to bring a child whose parents have died to live with a new family, typically a relative.
Natural Disaster — Disasters such as tornados, hurricanes, wildfires, severe storms or floods which have heavily damaged or destroyed your primary residence and are not covered by property insurance, FEMA, etc.
Disasters such as tornados, wildfires, floods, severe storms or earthquakes that have damaged or destroyed the employee’s primary residence. The Fund cannot pay to repair other property and cannot pay to replace non-essential items, e.g. electronics, etc. Photographs and/or insurance and FEMA reports may be required.
Catastrophic or Extreme Circumstances —This includes but is not limited to: fire, major home damage that could not be prevented, serious crime against the employee (robbery, arson, assault, domestic abuse or another reportable crime) that significantly impacts the family’s resources. Police, fire, or other official incident report may be required.
Incidents that do not qualify include, but are not limited to:
reduced work hours or pay; legal fees; expenses associated with divorce settlements or child custody cases; items covered by insurance, insurance co-pays, premiums or deductibles (unless deductible triggers severe financial distress); routine on-going or long-term medical expenses; elective medical procedures; credit card bills; accumulated financial distress; student loans; property or income taxes; home foreclosure; car repair or replacement; accidental damages due to negligence; child care; pet care; damage to non-primary residence.
How to Apply
Complete and submit your grant application with supporting documentation to CFNWF, cfnwf.org/GBFRCF. Examples of supporting documentation include: police/fire reports; insurance claims forms or explanation of benefits; service provider estimates; vendor documentation (bills to be paid); lodging receipts in the case of evacuation; and photographs. CFNWF will contact each applicant when the application is approved or if additional information is needed.
Agreement and Authorization
The first responder must sign authorization granting CFNWF permission to contact and verify source of hardship and eligibility. There are no guarantees to receive a grant based on position, history of contributions to the GBFRCF or because of any precedent inferred from a previous grant from the GBFRCF. Any grant will not be made before a first responder has demonstrated financial need and provided all required documentation. Grants are contingent upon the availability of funds at any given time.
Who will know that I have applied for First Responder Crisis Funding?
Confidentiality is respected throughout the process. CFNWF will have a specific contact in Human Resources at the City of Gulf Breeze to verify eligibility. Non-identifying statistical information will be reported to the City on a periodic basis.
Why doesn’t the City of Gulf Breeze give directly to the first responder?
If the City of Gulf Breeze donated directly to an employee or volunteer, it would be considered taxable income. CFNWF was selected to administer the funding based on their experience in handling all types of funds. Grants awarded from the Gulf Breeze First Responders Crisis Fund are non-taxable to the first responder.
How to Donate to the Fund
We encourage all Gulf Breeze citizens and colleagues to support our first responders by contributing to the GBFRCF. All donations are tax-exempt. All donations are made into the fund and grants are paid out of the fund.
Can citizen or colleague donations be directed to a specific colleague in need?
Contributions into the fund cannot be made to benefit any one person or family per the IRS. Donations can be made to the GBFRCF knowing their first responders can apply for grants with confidential assistance.
Online donations can be directed to the Gulf Breeze First Responders Crisis Fund at www.cfnwf.org/giving.
Checks can be made payable to the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida with a memo listing the Gulf Breeze First Responders Crisis Fund.
Mail checks to: CFNWF, 17 West Cedar Street, Suite 2, Pensacola, FL 32502.
If your application concerns a medical issue, you must first have your physician fill out the PDF below. After the form is completed, email the completed PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org, or attach it into the provided area (in Step 4) as you complete the application.