CHIPLEY - Area Dunkin' Donuts restaurants joined forces to help raise $4,360 for the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, a donation that will result in a total of $69,760, thanks to an educational grant program that will match each dollar with $16.

Local Dunkin' Donuts representatives presented the check to the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida September 21 at the Dunkin' Donuts location in Chipley.

Funds were collected from August 29-31 during a fundraiser held at 21 Dunkin’ Donuts locations throughout Southern Alabama and Northwest Florida, including: Alabama – Dothan and Enterprise; Florida – Chipley, Callaway, Crestview, Destin, Ft. Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze, Lynn Haven, Miramar Beach, Niceville, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Pensacola.

Coalition board members, child care center directors, staff, and local media shared in the celebration. Darby Cook, a local 5-year-old Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten student, Darby also presented Chipley Dunkin’ Donuts Store Manager James Jones with an original piece of artwork as a thank you. Cook said the artwork was a gift from “me and my friends.” Jones said that he was proud to partner with the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, and even more proud to hang Cook’s artwork in their store.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Suzan Gage, Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida Assistant Director. “Because of our $1 to $16 grant match agreement, this donation of $4,360 means we will be able to pull down $69,760 for direct client services. This donation will change the lives of several families in Northwest Florida.”

"Currently, there are more than 700 eligible children on the waitlist needing services provided through the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, so donations from Dunkin’ Donuts will be used to help serve more parents and families."