Nonprofit Partner: Project LIFT

Initiative Funded: Project LIFT Belle Glade

Area of Focus: Belle Glade, Palm City

Innovation is at the heart of Project LIFT’s mission to improve the lives — and employment prospects — of youth in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The organization, which was awarded the 2022 Nonprofit of the Year Award by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, provides vocational training that doubles as mental health support.

At no cost, at-risk young men and women ages 14 to 21 engage in hands-on training in welding, HVAC, solar installation, metal forging, barbering and cosmetology, construction, auto repair, screen printing and more, while licensed therapists work with them to address issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, abuse and anger management. Its newly launched Girls Program provided training for teenagers in fields typically dominated by males, including HVAC and construction.

“While our focus is on youth, lifting individuals and families out of poverty entirely — and forever — is the goal,” said Bob Zaccheo, Project LIFT’s CEO. “We believe that starts with offering a lifeline for those with mental health challenges, and a path to a livelihood, too, for entire families.”

This year alone, Project LIFT has impacted the lives of more than 500 youth in Palm Beach County, with an 87 percent success rate in helping at-risk teens and young adults secure employment. In Belle Glade, the organization grew its Strong Families program, with more than 20 parents or guardians completing a 16-week program that teaches economic self-sufficiency, including understanding credit or writing a business plan.

“The Community Foundation and its supporters played an important role in our success this year. Together, we are making a difference today that will have ripple effects for generations,” said Zaccheo.