EAST MANATEE -- This week, 15 Parrish not-for-profits are sharing $30,000 in grants from the Parrish Foundation.
For that, they can thank the public's love of chili.
The grants come from the proceeds of the annual Parrish Heritage Day Festival and chili cook-off.
In just three years, the fundraiser has generated $80,000 in grant monies.
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"It's like a snowball. You struggle to get it to the top of the ridge, and then it rolls on its own," said Ben Jordan, president of the Parrish Civic Association. "Last year, we
served 28,000 1-ounce cups of chili."
The next chili cook-off, set for March 7, is expected to attract about 30 teams and thousands of spectators.
"One of the biggest things when we survey residents is that they want more family events," Jordan said.
Parrish officials have been visiting the not-for-profits all week, personally delivering the grants, Jordan said. The awards process is expected to wrap up Friday.
"We are very grateful for the support of our sponsors, the Parrish Community, and all of our volunteers that, together, make this event a success," Parrish Foundation President Hugh McGuire said. "The foundation is proud to be part of this effort to support the small not-for-profits serving our Parrish community."
Receiving grants this year:
Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida
Manatee County Youth Rowing
Palmetto High School biomedical program
Boy Scout Troop 41
Learning Center of First Baptist Church of Parrish Day Care Program
Manatee County Lions Sight Foundation
Ellenton-Parrish Lions Foundation
Parrish United Methodist Church Food Pantry
Friends of Rocky Bluff Library
Parrish Arts Council
Florida Railroad Museum
Parrish YMCA Branch Scholarship Fund
Duette Educational Foundation
Cub Scout Pack 41.
The grant amount each nonprofit received was not disclosed.