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In February of 2020, United Way of Collier and the Keys announced a $3.5 million grant from the United Arab Emirates to catalyze funding for NOAA’s Mission: Iconic Reefs and complementary educational initiatives.  As one of the largest investments in reef restoration anywhere in the world, by restoring corals at seven iconic reef sites in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Mission: Iconic Reefs will change the trajectory of an entire ecosystem and help save one of the world’s most unique areas for future generations. In addition to the restoration efforts, interwoven educational components are included in this project to ensure sustainability. These include the UWCK-UAE Marine Science Educational Advancement Scholarship to support Monroe County residents pursuing their degree in a marine science related field at state universities and colleges committed to Florida Keys reef restoration efforts.

A Scholarship Committee will review the applicants taking into consideration educational achievement, career objectives, school activities, references, and financial need. Scholarships awarded are paid directly to the institution.

Awardees are eligible and encouraged to apply annually beyond their first year of funding as they continue to pursue this educational track. Scholarships may be used to offset tuition, books and materials, and room and board expenses. Applicants may apply for scholarships to support marine science related certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor’s programs.

Purpose: UWCK’s goal is to support Monroe County residents pursuing their degree in a marine science related field at state universities committed to Florida Keys reef restoration efforts for students already engaged in this work and demonstrating financial need.


Must be a full-time Monroe County resident for past 12 months (since 1/1/22)
Must be able to demonstrate engagement in Florida Keys marine science.
Must have a 2.5 GPA.
For upcoming terms/semesters. (Beginning on/after August 1, 2023)
Higher education only

Award amounts: $500-$5,000 (Depending on application ranking, educational track and other criteria)

Application Form

*Application period:  February 23rd, 2023 - April 7th, 2023*

Click for an update on our work post-Hurricane Ian.


On April 1, 2020, United Way of the Florida Keys merged with United Way of Collier County, bringing us together as United Way of Collier and the Keys.  This unification will allow the organization to increase operational efficiency, ultimately resulting in more resources available to improve the lives of struggling residents.

Money raised in the Keys community will serve the community as it always has, with existing local programs and funding to partner agencies continuing. More details...

United Way has been making a difference in the Keys community for 40 years, supporting strong working families through direct programs and in partnership with dedicated local nonprofits that provide critical services to Keys residents. 




The Role We Play

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