Former St. Petersburg Free Clinic Women’s Residence director Susan Canty was honored as a Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning’s Community Hero program recognizes grassroots heroes whose noble efforts make a positive impact of others.

Over the past 20 years, Canty has mentored over 800 homeless women in the Tampa Bay community. She volunteers weekly at St. Petersburg Free Clinic Women’s Residence, a transitional residence that supports single homeless women. Canty helps determine what is necessary for individuals at the Women’s Residence to become self-sufficient while educating and encouraging them to achieve their goals. As a mentor, Canty helps homeless women connect with their community by discovering new skills and hobbies.

Canty received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program. She will donate $30,000 to St. Petersburg Free Clinic, and the remaining $20,000 will be distributed to Pinellas Community Church’s Feed St. Pete, Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity and Daystar Life.

She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and her work has helped provide permanent housing to more than 100 Tampa Bay families. Canty served 12 years as a family support coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and organized speakers and workshops for the nonprofit. To date, Canty has provided over 1,000 individuals with the tools and resources to be self-sufficient through her volunteer work. 

The Lightning showed an in-game video of her volunteerism and good works as part of the Community Hero ceremony during the Dec. 19, 2019 game against the Dallas Stars. It helps inspire Lightning fans to help make a difference in the greater Tampa Bay community. 

Canty becomes the 386thLightning Community Hero. Through the Community Hero program, the Lightning Foundation has granted a total of $19.3 million to more than 750 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area since 2011 – an amount that continues to grow.