The DeBartolo Family Foundation’s Spirit of Humanity Award honors local nonprofit organizations that impact the Tampa Bay community in a meaningful way. Recipients of this award create unity, demonstrate hard work, and extend their outreach by helping people in need to overcome obstacles that are beyond their control. Since 2002, 53 recipients have been recognized with the $25,000 Spirit of Humanity Award, awarded three times annually.

If you believe your organization, or an organization that you support, would be a candidate for this award, please download our nomination form by clicking the Apply Here button below. Please e-mail the completed form, along with the organization’s most recent 990 to Judy Bragdon, at jbragdon@debartoloholdings.com.


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Kids and Canines empowers disadvantaged youth by teaching them important life skills while receiving the therapeutic value of caring for and training a dog.  The Spirit of Humanity Award will support the organization’s newest program, HAPPY, which stands for ‘Hug A Puppy Program for Youth’ and brings therapy dogs into schools to comfort kids who are struggling with emotional and/or behavioral issues. The Spirit of Humanity award will also provide reading and youth development programs to underserved children.

“Our family considers our dogs an extension of our family. Nothing compares to the unconditional love an animal can provide and we understand first-hand the impact they can have on you therapeutically,” said Lisa DeBartolo, Chief Executive Officer of the DeBartolo Family Foundation. “Children today face so many pressures and we are grateful to have a partner like Kids and Canines in our community that empowers kids to find their voice and enriches their lives.”

In the last five years, Kids and Canines has grown from serving 15 kids in one school to now serving over 1,500 local students.

“What an honor to be recognized by the DeBartolo Family Foundation for our service to our community,” said Kelly Hodges, Executive Director of Kids and Canines. “Many of today’s children are facing uncertainty, major life changes, bullying, isolation and physical and mental challenges. School therapists are asking for more program services that focus on mental wellbeing. Your funds will ensure the HAPPY Program is available to help these kids.

“Like you, we are committed to improving the lives of the underserved, and believe that together we are all stronger.”

To learn more about Kids and Canines, please visit their website at kidsandcanines.org.