This assistance typically comes in the form of hardship grants, which help pay for necessities, such as mortgage payments, prescriptions and other medical costs, and putting groceries on the table while guides are recovering from a serious sickness or injury that prevents them from working for prolonged periods.
Importantly, requests for assistance are initially submitted to an active guide’s local association, namely the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association (FKFGA) or the Lower Keys Guides Association (LKGA). Close-knit and fair minded, these guide-based organizations provide a high level of peer review and scrutiny before deciding to present a formal request to GTF for consideration.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the unprecedented collapse of business during the Covid lockdown of 2020, GTF rallied to provide much needed financial assistance to the vast majority of its fishing guide beneficiaries. Although GTF’s Covid-related grants were distributed equally among the guides, in the case of Hurricane Irma, the largest grants were made to those most in need – typically guides who had completely lost their homes to the power of the storm. Also in the case of its Irma-related relief efforts, GTF was honored that major outdoor industry corporations such as Maverick Boats, Yeti, Orvis, Costa and Simms, along with local business and conservancy groups such as the Ocean Reef Conservation Association, Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited and Cheeca Lodge & Spa (to name a few), all opted to utilize GTF as the optimum route for distributing their relief to those in need in the fairest and fastest way possible.