Project Surf Camp doesn't win top prize, but still gets $50,000

A Morro Bay surf camp for kids with special needs didn’t win the $100,000 grant offered through a “Today” show special promotion. But it will wind up with an extra $50,000.

Viewers of the NBC morning show were asked to vote for one of four finalists in the What Do You Care About TODAY contest. After the voting deadline ended yesterday, it was announced that the Bay Area Food Bank, founded in Alabama, would receive the $100,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The food bank is providing food to places plagued by the Gulf oil spill.

Other finalists receiving money include the Gateway Greening program in St. Louis and the Urban Art Works in Seattle.

Project Surf Camp, a nonprofit founded by John Taylor in 2006, provides surf lessons to children with special needs. The camp strives to build confidence, self-esteem and social skills with one-on-one surf instruction in Morro Bay.

Taylor is a special education teacher and former area coordinator for the San Luis Obispo Special Olympics.

The camp is held in Morro Bay through mid-August.

-Pat Pemberton