MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — More than $3 million impacted 16 local charities on the panhandle.

The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation hosted its annual check presentation night in Miramar Beach.  

Presenters distributed $3.4 million dollars to 16 local charities that are dedicated to helping panhandle kids.  

“This year’s contribution is truly a testament to the philanthropic spirit of the DCWAF community,” said Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation President Karah Fridley-Young. “These funds will have a profound impact on the lives of thousands of children, and we are grateful for the opportunity to support our charity partners; all of whom are doing important work within our community.”

The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation hosts fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for check donations.  Each charity in partnership hosts a dinner to raise more money for their cause.  

The biggest check this year was given to the Emerald Coast Autism Center.

The group is looking to put the finishing touches on their new academic center to help older kids function in society with autism.  The group was set to gain a match for the $315,000 presented by the foundation.  

Heidi Blalock emerald coast autism center CEO 

“We are in the process of opening Emerald Coast Learning Center, so between this and the match, we are going to be able to help more kids in the community, both for education and transition to work-type services. So we are absolutely thrilled it couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Emerald Coast Autism Center CEO Heidi Blalock.

To restart the fundraising season, the Harvest Food and Wine Festival will be held Oct. 19 in Santa Rosa Beach.  

The 19th annual Destin Charity Wine Auction will be Friday, Apr.26, 2024 – and Saturday, Apr. 27, 2024.

To date, DCWAF has donated more than $31 million help to children in need in Northwest Florida since its inception in 2005.

The 2023 recipients of Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation funds include:

  • AMIkids Emerald Coast received $125,000 to fund a GED program for at-risk students between the ages of 16 – 24.
  • Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast received $200,000 to fund a new CT scanner to help diagnose and accurately treat pediatric patients in the emergency department.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to allow 285 students from low-income or single-parent households to attend programming for one full year. The programming is designed to provide unique opportunities to learn, grow, and recognize youth for their achievements in an effort to steer them clear of personal failure.
  • Children in Crisis received $200,000 to fund the facilitation of housing for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. On-site housing provides stability, shelter, house parents, food, clothing, and necessary items to help children live a safe and healthy lifestyle over the next year.
  • Children’s Volunteer Health Network received $250,000 to fund and serve underinsured and uninsured children in need of dental care. These funds will allow for hygienists and staff on the Mobile Dental Clinic, the Healthcare Referral Network, and dental supplies for the Mobile Clinic to assist with children in need of dental care.
  • Ellison McCraney Ingram Foundation received $200,000 to fund scholarships for teens who have received help from at least one DCWAF charity partner in their lifetime.
  • Emerald Coast Autism Center received $315,000 to support the ECAC Phase II Learning Center Capital Campaign which will provide a new building for teens entering the Transition to Work program and in turn, allow the Autism Center more space on their primary campus to serve young children on the spectrum in need of behavioral therapy.  
  • Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center received $300,000 to support mental health therapy programs, the case advocacy program that facilitates a child-friendly atmosphere offering counseling, family services, and coordination of investigations for child abuse and neglect, and the CARES prevention program that educates and empowers students and adults with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to all types of child abuse and exploitation.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Walton County received $300,000 to fund three new homes for families in Walton County with the expected impact of 3,650 annual nights of safe and secure housing for the children of the recipient families.
  • Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties received $150,000 to fund the Brain Health Program geared toward early identification, assessment, and treatment for approximately 35 uninsured students ages 12 to 21 who experience mental health or substance abuse issues.
  • Opportunity Place, Inc. received $150,000 to fund immediate housing for homeless children and their families to ensure they are safe and secure. These funds will facilitate a variety of child services including child-centered case management support, literacy programs, shelter services, child and family assistance, and enrichment activities.
  • Point Washington Medical Clinic is DCWAF’s newest beneficiary and received $200,000 to fund the pediatric exam room and a teaching kitchen in their new facility designed to provide free medical care, education, and resources to uninsured families.
  • Shelter House of Northwest Florida received $200,000 to fund mental health play therapy, counseling, and advocacy for youth affected by domestic violence as well as childcare and other program supplies.
  • The Arc of the Emerald Coast received $130,000 to fund the renovation and expansion of their facility warehouse into an after-school program center for children living with developmental differences.
  • Westonwood Ranch received $225,000 for scholarships for individuals with developmental differences as well as funding their micro business programs and expansion projects.
  • Youth Village received $200,000 to fund program operations and scholarships for children from low-income households to attend their VPK and after-school programs as well as the renovation of two outdoor play areas.