Fentrice Driskell seeks funding for minority, underserved communities
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/21/22-Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, speaks Tuesday during Organizational Session at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Her largest ask would support security enhancements at Florida's 4 HBCUs.

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell didn’t file many appropriation requests this Legislative Session, but the four she did file are meaningful to minority and underserved communities.

Driskell requested a total of $27.2 million for local projects benefiting women, persons of color, and homeless and other at-risk individuals, most of it for security upgrades at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Driskell requested $25 million for security enhancements at Florida’s four HBCUs — Bethune Cookman University, Edward Waters University, Florida Memorial University and Florida A&M University.

The funding would be used to enhance security on those campuses, as well as improve infrastructure. The universities have suffered hate crimes over the past five years and desire enhanced physical security as well as strengthened infrastructure, upgraded cybersecurity and improved communication systems.

Driskell is also seeking $1.5 million for Tampa Hope Cottages, a shelter that offers both housing and wrap-around services for clients, including mental health and substance use counseling, basic health and dental care, employment skills training and financial literacy courses.

The facility plans to expand to provide an additional 100 climate-controlled temporary homeless cottages, which would expand its capacity to 300. The organization, through Catholic Charities, works closely with the Tampa Police Department to get people off the streets and into housing and jobs.

Driskell also seeks $500,000 for the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association Fellowship, which provides access to legal resources for underserved populations and for individuals with limited resources. The program helps with certain noncriminal matters, such as legal advice, filing pleadings or responses and assistance at trial or administrative matters.

Additionally, Driskell filed a request for $200,000 for the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation’s (FCDI) entrepreneurship and small business support and innovation education programs. Funds would be used to build out the FCDI tech center for mechatronics learning lab, part of the Equity in Entrepreneurship program and the AMRoC Fab Lab.

Together, they work to bridge the race and equity gap in early-stage entrepreneurship access in the Tampa area. Driskell’s request notes that the program has launched more than 35 businesses in the last three years, including more than 80% Black- and Brown-owned businesses and more than 60% women-owned businesses.

The project also is asking for $400,000 from federal grants and $300,000 from local sources.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    February 26, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Good evening Fentrice,
    With a Republican majority why just wish for money? Be pro-active and start getting the “Vote Trump” message out in the churches and on the souls to the polls busses.
    Y’all know nobody in the Black communitty wants to stay trapped on the Democratic Plantation any longer.
    Thanks Fentrice,
    Earl Pitts American
    *ps dont worry about N. Fried she’s not your master any longer ….. FREE FREE FREEAT LAST*

    • Rick Whitaker

      February 27, 2024 at 9:33 am


Comments are closed.


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