Triumph Gulf Coast on Thursday committed to awarding $17.6 million in new grants for various Gulf Coast projects and programs.
The grants will go toward bringing high-paying jobs and certified workforce training to four Gulf Coast counties.
Notably, Bay County’s AMIKids Panama City Marine Institute Stem and Business Entrepreneurship Labs will receive more than $1.7 million. Moreover, the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners will receive $6 million for infrastructure improvements to the Santa Rosa Industrial Park, East.
Triumph Gulf Coast noted the significance of the awards amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite this unprecedented year, Triumph Gulf Coast continued to execute new grant awards and grantees continue to implement projects and programs that will yield long-term economic transformation for the region,” the group said in a news release.
Triumph Gulf Coast, a non-profit corporation, is funded by money Attorney General Ashley Moody recovered from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the spill is the largest in history. In all, roughly 4.9 million oil barrels spilled for an 87-day period before finally being capped.
All grants are focused on eight Gulf Coast counties affected by the spill: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties.
“Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is required to administer the distribution of the funds to be used for the recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the eight Northwest Florida counties,” the nonprofit’s website says.
The Florida Legislature in 2011 passed HB 2156 to help address the spill’s economic and environmental damages.
The legislation mandates that 75% of the funds recovered by the state for BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill damage must be used to benefit the eight counties.
The legislation also designated the Department of Economic Opportunity as the lead agency for funds going to economic incentives and diversification efforts.
Since the first initial BP payment, Florida has committed to 44 grants for public infrastructure improvements, workforce development education and regional economy marketing and promotion.
The grants thus far total more than $246 million in direct funding.