Earlier this week, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, recognized as one of the top charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine, donated a record breaking $2.66 million to 14 local charities serving children in need in Northwest Florida. The private check presentation ceremony was held at the WaterColor LakeHouse. The attendees from the charities didn’t know how much they were to be awarded until the checks were presented to them onstage, leading to some big cheers and grins and even some tears of gratitude. The foundation has donated more than $13 million to non-profit organizations since its inception in 2005. This year’s results are a $360,000 increase over the $2.3 million donated last year. “Today is the day in the world of our Foundation,” said John Russell, the president’s foundation. “Today, we honor our supporters, recognize those who have gone above and beyond and most importantly award funding to the great organizations that are on the front lines for the children of our community.” In addition to funding the 14 local charities, the foundation has created the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation Children’s Fund, which represents the funds set aside for any of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation charities that have an emergency need during the year. “Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation identified a need to prepare for the future, so we created a safety net for our charities that may have an emergency need outside our normal contributions,” Russell said. “It is our hope to continue to grow this fund as an insurance policy for our charities over the coming years.” The 2016 recipients of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation include: AMIKids Emerald Coast received $125,000 to fund one Mental Health Counseling Academic Interventionist for high-risk youth. Funding will allow facilities the purchase of a new, safe bus for students to be transported to and from school. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to allow double the amount of students from last year (200 children across four counties) to attend programming for one full year. The programming is designed to provide unique opportunities to learn, grow and to recognize youth for their achievements in an effort to steer youth clear of personal failure. Children in Crisis received $225,000 to fund the facilitation of housing for abused, neglected and abandoned children. The Opportunity Home, Sue Sue’s Cottage, YaYa’s Home, and the Travis Tringas Home provide stability, shelter, house parents, food, clothing and necessary items to help children live a healthy lifestyle. Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) received $200,000 to fund and serve underinsured and uninsured children in need of dental care. These funds will allow for two hygienists on the Mobile Dental Clinic, and one full-time dentist and support staff at the CVHN Dental Clinic to assist with children in need of dental and medical care. In addition, they will be able to purchase new detail supplies and cover the maintenance and repairs of their equipment. Emerald Coast Autism Center received $200,000 to fund scholarships and their capital campaign, a new facility to serve children on the autism spectrum. The new NWFSC Campus Facility will allow Emerald Coast Autism Center to increase their capacity levels, serving up to 130 students. Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center received $300,000 to aid in construction costs for the new Walton County facility, a child-friendly atmosphere to provide counseling, family services and facilitation of investigations for child abuse and neglect. Food For Thought Outreach received $175,000 to provide nutritious meals for school-aged children on weekends, holidays and summer break. Habitat for Humanity of Walton County received $180,000 to fully fund the building of two new homes for families with children in Walton County. Homelessness & Housing Alliance received $20,000 for long-term solutions to homelessness. Opportunity Place received $75,000 for immediate housing for homeless children and their families. Pathways for Change received $200,000 for comprehensive addiction treatment programs including men’s residential treatment and operations for the family center. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast received $225,000 to fund the expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will provide a larger nursery to accommodate a 10-bed Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the future. Shelter House of Northwest Florida received $155,000 to fund support groups, counseling and advocacy for youth ages 6 months to 17 years, touched by domestic violence. Funding will also support their Youth Prevention Program, therapists for children, supplies such as school snacks and diapers, tutoring materials, community outings and the Youth Community Action Team. The Arc of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to support Early Intervention and Family Education Program at the Early Intervention Center for children living with disabilities. Youth Village received $125,000 to fund capital campaign purchase of land and facility construction along with afterschool programming for more than 40 low-income children along the Emerald Coast. DCWAF Children’s Fund received $55,000 that will serve as a contingency fund for charity partners and will be used as a safety net to serve children in need in the event of an emergency. DCWAF has realized a long held dream to create a fund for future needs. The DCWAF Children’s Fund is cash held in a separate account available to any of the DCWAF charities who have an emergency need. The dates for next year’s Destin Charity Wine Auction Weekend, the Foundation’s signature fundraising event, are set for April 28-30, 2017. For more information, visit www.DCWAF.org.