Gulf Power helps further mission of local nonprofits through Power of Service awards

PENSACOLA, Florida – Holding back tears and clutching at papers in her left hand, Candy Nowling stood in front of a small crowd and thanked Gulf Power for recognizing her organization for its community outreach and service to others.

Nowling, executive director for The Matrix Community Outreach Center, joined Gulf Power executives and members of the community Tuesday in DeFuniak Springs to celebrate the Power of Service awards given by Gulf Power to deserving nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of others in their community.

“I am truly humbled for the outpouring of support from not only Gulf Power, but the entire community for this award,” said Nowling. “Our organization is much bigger than all of us. It’s about the people we serve and how we can help them get back on their feet again. We are truly humbled.”

Along with The Matrix Community Outreach Center, Building Up Hope Inc., was also recognized for helping to build stronger communities. Both organizations were presented with an award as well as a $2,500 grant from Gulf Power. 

The Matrix Community Outreach Center is dedicated to serving individuals and families in need in Walton and Okaloosa counties who have been impacted by unemployment, divorce, domestic violence, aging and homelessness. According to Nowling, the grant will go a long way in helping the organization meet the needs of those they serve.

“This is personal for us,” added Nowling. “Not only can we fund activities, but this grant will help us build awareness and get the word out about what we are doing to help serve others.”

Keturiah Baldwin, director of Building Up Hope Inc., was also emotional upon receiving the award, stopping occasionally to wipe away tears and gather her composure. Comparing it to winning an Academy Award, Baldwin said she was honored to be a recipient and how the grant will come in handy for the small, but important nonprofit organization.

“This award will allow us to move forward,” Baldwin said. “As a small nonprofit we rely heavily on the community and businesses such as Gulf Power for support. We are very appreciative of the award, which means we can now afford to conduct activities for the youth we serve. Hopefully, we can now help those who come to us think about what they are doing today and what their future holds for them.”

Building Up Hope Inc., is dedicated to empowering and encouraging today’s youth and young adults to set personal, educational and career goals. Recent activities of the organization have focused on financial education, drug and alcohol prevention, cyber-bullying, and academic success. 

Gulf Power started the Power of Service awards in 2012 as a way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service, and recognizes organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of others. Since its inception, 34 organizations in Northwest Florida have been recognized and awarded more than $85,000 in grants from Gulf Power.

According to Bentina Terry, vice president of Customer Service and Sales for Gulf Power, the Power of Service awards recognize smaller nonprofits in our community that often go unrecognized.

“These nonprofits are involved in things that make a big difference in the lives of those in their communities,” said Terry. “We live and work in these communities, and for Gulf Power, it’s important for us to help strengthen and help fund these organizations.”


Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 447,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at or on the company’s Facebook page. News information can be found at