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The Honorable Brian J. Davis Now Leads The Community Foundation Board of Trustees
Lauren Rueger and R. Halsey Wise also join The Community Foundation Board

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – January 11, 2022  -- The Honorable Brian J. Davis, U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida, will lead The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida as chair of the Board of Trustees for the next two years.  Judge Davis has been a Trustee of The Community Foundation since 2014 and has actively volunteered with Leadership Jacksonville, NCCJ, Urban League, NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Jacksonville Community Council, Hubbard House, Help Center, PACE Center for Girls, OneJax, and the Jaguars Foundation; he also chaired the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force in 1999. Most recently, he chaired the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and he is an advisory board member of the North Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America. Judge Davis succeeds Martha Frye Baker, whose two year term as chair ended in 2021.

Also, two community leaders have joined the Board for an initial three-year term: Lauren Rueger and R. Halsey Wise, replacing Trustees Ryan A. Schwartz and Dori Walton, who rotated off the board at the end of 2021 after ten and nine years of service, respectively.

Lauren Rueger is a communications consultant and an alumna of the Foundation’s Weaver Philanthropic Initiative; she has also been a community member of the Foundation’s Program and Initiatives Committee. She is a member of the Baptist Health Foundation Board of Directors, co-chairs the Communications Subcommittee of the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Advisory Council and is an active member of the Parents’ Association at The Bolles School. She will remain on the Foundation’s Program and Initiatives Committee.

R. Halsey Wise is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of AfterNext HealthTech (NYSE: AFTR) and Founder and CEO of Lime Barrel Advisors, a private investment and advisory services firm. He served on the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia and continues to Chair the UVA Jefferson Scholarship Selection Committee for North Florida. Mr. Wise also served on the Board of Trustees of the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA and The Fessenden School in West Newton, MA. He is the Founder of the Garden of Hope at the Huntsville, AL Botanical Garden. Mr. Wise will join The Community Foundation’s Investment Committee.

Ms. Rueger and Mr. Wise join Carol Alexander, Martha Baker, Dr. Solomon Brotman, the Honorable Brian J. Davis, Michael DuBow, George Egan, Barbara Harrell, Robert Hill, Jr., Michael Meyers, Velma Monteiro Tribble, Buddy Schulz, Richard L. Sisisky, and Julia Taylor as Trustees of The Community Foundation. For more information, go to

About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (, Florida’s oldest and largest community foundation, works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community. The Foundation helps donors invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helps nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helps people come together to make the community a better place. Created in 1964, the Foundation has assets of more than $600 million and has made approximately $640 million in grants since inception.

Central Florida Foundation Announces $70 Million Contribution from Austin Russell
Entrepreneur has Vision to Help and Grow the Orlando Community with the Foundation

Orlando, Fla. – December 27, 2021 – Luminar Technologies CEO and Founder Austin Russell has personally partnered with the Central Florida Foundation, the Orlando-region’s community foundation.

“I established Luminar’s HQ in Orlando after seeing its incredible yet underrated potential, specialized talent, community, and opportunity to become a premier global technology center,” said Austin Russell. “I’m glad to be playing a role in realizing that vision – with Luminar for the local economy, and now with Central Florida Foundation in helping the local community and beyond.”

Russell has previously experienced firsthand how an initial philanthropic grant for innovative thinking can result in long-term systemic change as a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship. His early passion for physics has developed into laser LiDAR technology and software that is changing the future of transportation safety across the globe. The efforts of this partnership will collaboratively focus on high-impact efforts for local and system-level improvements here in Florida, as well as bolder bets on a broader scale that Russell sees as underinvested opportunities.

“The Foundation serves as a launchpad for high-impact philanthropy that connects innovation to capital and capital to innovation with having already made more than $80 million in high-impact charitable investments focused on making sustainable change,” said Mark Brewer, President/CEO of Central Florida Foundation. “This contribution will have an incredible positive impact on our community, and we’re honored to work with a passionate and visionary individual like Austin to build a transformative and inspiring partnership.”

Since 1994, Central Florida Foundation has invested in philanthropic efforts thanks to generous fund holders committed to improving the region. The Foundation continually challenges the status-quo when it comes to addressing complex social issues like attainable housing, early childhood education, poverty and beyond. With a special focus on systems-level solutions and community-wide collaboration, the Foundation has a proven track record of addressing the region’s challenges and creating measurable, sustainable change.

In its commitment to excellence and accountability, the Central Florida Foundation is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations.

About Central Florida Foundation
Central Florida Foundation stewards philanthropic dollars on behalf of individuals, families, and nonprofits. We partner with people who are determined to make a difference in their community. Knowing that true change demands more than dollars and cents, we foster collaboration, fuel ideas, and spearhead the innovation that will transform our region for good. Learn more at

Mark Brewer, President/CEO, Named Orlando Business Journal CEO of the Year

Congratulations to Mark Brewer, President/CEO of Central Florida Foundation, on being named one of the Orlando Business Journal’s CEOs of the Year. The entire Foundation team and Board of Directors is honored to see Mark recognized for his contributions to the community.

The Foundation works to bring all essential partners to the table to generate ideas on how to best address the root causes of the challenges rather than simply fixing the symptoms.

Read the full press release here.

Community Foundation of Sarasota County Awards 12 Grants Promoting Equity for Healthcare, Education, and Human Services
The more than $320,000 in funding will support nonprofit organizations in equitably expanding access to services and opportunities.

PHOTO I.D. – A student and teacher dive into a spelling lesson at SOAR Learning Center, one of several nonprofit grantees awarded an Equity and Access Grant. Photo by Karen Arango Photography.

SARASOTA, FL – The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has awarded 12 nonprofit organizations with grants totaling more than $320,000 in its third Equity and Access competitive grant cycle. The support will strengthen local, direct service programs focused on serving populations within Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties that face systemic barriers to healthcare, education, and human services.

While each proposal centered its own unique cause – from mobile health clinics to STEM experiences for young students living with disabilities – all shared a commitment to strengthen their diversity, equity, and inclusion framework and build a region where all who call it home can thrive. Access to healthcare and human services emerged as top priorities as a diverse committee of volunteers, staff, board members, and community leaders reviewed each application and made decisions enriched by their own experiences.

Read the full press release here.

LEAP Tampa Bay receives 2021 Member of the Year Award

Awarded by the National College Attainment Network, LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network received the 2021 Member of the Year Award.

Nominated by the President of St. Petersburg College, Dr. Tonjua Williams, LEAP Tampa Bay is the first Florida network to win this award. This is the third national recognition in 18 months for LEAP Tampa Bay.

Read the full press release here.

Teri A Hansen Named Top 500 Executives Across State for Third Year Running

Sarasota, FL (September 30, 2021) — For a third year in a row, Teri A Hansen, President|CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, was named one of Florida Trend Magazine’s Florida 500, a recognition that highlights the most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state. Since first being recognized in 2019, Hansen joins a dozen philanthropic leaders positively impacting the lives of children and families in their communities.

Under her leadership, Barancik Foundation became a major catalyst for improving the lives of the less fortunate in Sarasota County and beyond—spearheading work like First 1,000 Days, Here4Youth Mental Health Initiative, and COVID-19 response efforts.  Previously, Hansen transformed Gulf Coast Community Foundation into a regional philanthropic powerhouse that awarded more than $200 million in grants during her 13-year tenure.

Hansen earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Diego State University and served as a public affairs officer in the U.S. Air Force. She also completed the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. She serves on the Boards of Ringling College of Art and Design, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and Gulfside Bank

Barancik Foundation Names Five Teachers as Ripple Effect Award Winners in Honor of Late Philanthropists

Sarasota, FL (September 29, 2021) — Recently, five Sarasota County teachers were recognized by Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. In partnership with Sarasota County Schools, Barancik Foundation named five winners of its Ripple Effect Teacher Awards on Tuesday, September 28th. The semi-annual prize acknowledges five outstanding teachers on Chuck Barancik’s birthday in May and five on Margie Barancik’s birthday in September. Each teacher recognized for their impact on lives in and outside classrooms are awarded $5,000 to spend on professional development experiences, material and equipment for their classrooms.

Margie’s fall semester awardees are: Christine Dapra of Venice Elementary Deb Hogue of North Port High Taleisa Schlemmer of Gocio Elementary Tina Slattery of Phillippi Shores Elementary Brian Upholz of Triad

TD Charitable Foundation launches the 16th annual Housing for Everyone Grant

Applications are now live for the annual TD Charitable Foundation’s Housing for Everyone grant competition. This year’s competition is committing $5.8 million to help affordable housing providers continue, or increase capacity to offer, needed resident services like workforce development and eviction prevention. Grants will range from $150,000 - $250,000.

You can find more information here and email any questions about the competition/application to and include "Housing for Everyone" in the subject line

The Partnership for Mental Health Awards Nearly $600,000 in Grants
Applications for the last round of funding are due November 15

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – September 14, 2021  Eleven nonprofit organizations in Northeast Florida received a total of nearly $600,000 to increase access to mental health services and strengthen the system that provides mental and behavioral health care for all citizens of Northeast Florida in the latest round of grantmaking from The Partnership for Mental Health.

Read the full press release here.

Local Black-Led Nonprofit Organizations Join National Give 8/28 Giving Day to Build a More Equitable Community
Grant support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County will help organizations kickstart their campaigns.

SARASOTA, FL (August 24, 2021)– To culminate the month-long celebration of Black Philanthropy Month in August, several local nonprofit organizations will participate in the fourth annual Give 8/28, a national giving day hosted by the Young, Black and Giving Back Institute to inspire philanthropy by and for Black communities. For the second year in a row, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded $250 kickstart grants to more than 10 nonprofits in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties to encourage local involvement and help build greater support for a more equitable community. This year, these local organizations will be joined by more than 300 Black-led and Black-serving causes across the nation. 

Read the full press release here.

Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Board Approves $3 Million in Grant Funding

Sarasota, FL (August 9, 2021)— Recent funding from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation strengthens workforce development programs, reinforces health equity efforts, and jumpstarts efforts to restore local waterways.

Read the full press release here.

Community Foundation of Collier County Launches New Website and Donor Portal

Naples, FL (June 16, 2021) – The Community Foundation of Collier County has launched a new look online with a new website and donor portal providing increased access to information and an easier granting and donation process for fundholders and donors accessible at

The new website is easier to navigate, user-friendly, and makes information regarding community trends, philanthropic impact, and collaborative efforts more accessible. The site highlights critical community needs and how the Community Foundation addresses the areas of mental health & substance abuse, housing & hunger, education & employment, seniors & veterans, environment & accessibility, and crisis and disaster relief through its Your passion. Your Collier. campaign.

Read the full press release here.

Connecting Art & Humanity
Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the 2021 winner of the Annual Art of Philanthropy Award presented at the 62nd Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. This year the winning piece was selected by Foundation Vice President and Treasurer, Mary Ellen Hutcheson, and is based on a combination of a love for humanity and philanthropy at its very best.
The 2021 award goes to the unpretentious ‘Sharing Bowl’ by Mark Gardner of Saluda, North Carolina. Carved from a fallen maple tree, the ‘Sharing Bowl’ represents the abundance of nature to be shared. The ‘Sharing Bowl’ is also reminiscent of the classic children's story book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.

Read the announcement here.

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