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United Way of Central Florida Recognizes Community Volunteers and Donors at 2022 Annual Meeting

LAKELAND, Fla. United Way of Central Florida honored community members Thursday night at its Annual Meeting, awarding Philanthropist of the Year, George W. Jenkins Outstanding United Way Volunteer, Citizen of the Year and more.

Greg Littleton, President & CEO of Citizens Bank & Trust and UWCF 2021 Board Chair, announced new Mission and Vision statements for the organization.

"Our Vision Statement, or goal for United Way is, To unite our community and empower everyone to achieve their full potential," Littleton said. "Our New Mission Statement is: To inspire our community to give, advocate and volunteer by identifying needs and mobilizing vetted resources to create positive, local change."

Littleton also acknowledged awards UWCF received over the last year.

"(UWCF was) honored with local and national recognition, receiving the National Philanthropy Day award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Exemplary COVID-19 Response Award from United Way Worldwide," he said. "Congratulations to the entire team regarding their resilient and innovative response to the various impacts of COVID-19. CEO Christina Criser Jackson and COO, Rod Crowley were recognized during United Way's Southeast Regional Conference in Greenville, South Carolina by Angela F. Williams, CEO of United Way Worldwide."

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was on hand to recognize the hard work done by United Way of Central Florida staff, volunteers and United Way Ambassadors. He also highlighted the generosity of UWCF's Top 50 companies and a group of key donors.

"(Démocratie and Alexis de Tocqueville Society members) raised $1.5 million to improve lives in this community and secured additional funding above and beyond," Sheriff Judd said.

Via video presentation, Barney Barnett and sons Nicholas and Wesley announced the renaming of UWCF's Family Fundamental, a program founded by the late Carol Jenkins Barnett. A resource center for parents, Family Fundamentals will be renamed The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children's Resource Center when it reopens this fall at Bonnet Springs Park.

United Way also presented awards for Philanthropist of the Year, George W. Jenkins Outstanding Volunteer, Spirit of Central Florida, Citizen of the Year and Difference-Maker award.

Women’s Foundation of Collier County raises over $12,000 for homeless senior women and programs for young women empowerment at Waterside Shops event

Naples, FL (May 20, 2022) – The Women's Foundation of Collier County (WFCC) raised over $12,000 in donations and pledges at the Shop & Share event at Waterside Shops on May 6th to benefit homeless senior women and programs and scholarships for women and girls as part of their Women Lifting Women (WLW) campaign. These funds will increase the total amount raised by the campaign to over $600,000.

Waterside Shops and General Manager, Anne Fleming, are longtime supporters of the Women's Foundation. Since 2011, special events at the upscale shopping venue have raised $209,000 for programs and scholarships for women and girls. At this year's event in May, several of the female shoppers "weren't aware there is a women's foundation or about the needs in this community. It's a tale of two cities, really. They were shocked to learn there are homeless senior women living in our county," said Fleming, who is serving her fourth year on the Women's Foundation board. "We're thrilled to use the center to build awareness." The funds raised will support the WLW campaign, which aims to meet the current needs of senior women in our community by assisting homeless senior women in need and addressing isolation concerns. It also funds scholarships, mentorships, and career development for young women and girls.
Invest in the Women Lifting Women campaign benefiting senior and young women and learn more about the Women's Foundation of Collier County at

About the Women's Foundation of Collier County: The Women’s Foundation of Collier County (WFCC), established in 1996, is a field-of-interest fund administered by the Community Foundation of Collier County whose mission is to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls in Collier County through grantmaking, advocacy and education. WFCC has granted more than $744,000 to local women and girl’s programs and organizations. Learn more at

Photo caption: Donna Messer, Lynda Waterhouse, Anne Fleming, Eileen Connolly-Keesler join forces to raise funds for women and girls at the Waterside Shop & Share event.  Photo by Photography by Lane

NetHope’s Collective Impact Fund Raises $500,000 for Collaborative Humanitarian Programs
The Fund will create cross-sector initiatives to meet the biggest challenges in the developing world

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2022) – NetHope, a global consortium of over 60 of the world’s leading nonprofits, has raised $500,000 from individuals, organizations, technology companies and long-time funding partners for its Collective Impact Fund. The Fund is designed to harness the powers of technology and cross-sector collaboration to maximize outcomes for some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian and environmental challenges.

For more than two decades, NetHope has formed broad coalitions of organizations and companies working together toward a single goal: using the power of data, digital and partnerships through its Member network to better serve people and communities across the world. The Collective Impact Fund will help make that model repeatable and intentional, creating new opportunities for NetHope’s nonprofit network to respond quickly to needs and challenges identified through their efforts throughout the developing world.

NetHope launched the Collective Impact Fund during its 20th Anniversary Summit in November 2021 before an audience of 1,800 people from over 100 countries, representing more than 100 of the world’s leading nonprofits and technology companies. Several entities contributed toward the Collective Impact Fund’s $500,000 funding goal, including Accenture, Microsoft and NetHope’s seven original NGO founders: CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Children International, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, Winrock International and World Vision.

“NetHope’s 20 years of sustainable change around the world is a reflection of the outsized impact made possible when partners sharing a common vision and resolve bring their collective assets to bear,” said Lance Pierce, CEO of NetHope. “The Collective Impact Fund will drive an essential evolution of NetHope’s work for an ever-changing world, optimizing those collaborations for years to come. The enthusiastic response to the Collective Impact Fund from our supporters — including board members, NetHope Member organizations and former NetHope leadership — affirms this shared project and approach.”

Extensive research into the strategic plans of NetHope’s Member organizations informed the idea of the Collective Impact Fund. Through the Fund, NetHope will engage key stakeholders to identify common issues where Members need assistance, workshop and refine new initiatives with tech partners and potential funders, and manage initiatives to ensure on-the-ground services are delivered effectively.

The Patterson Foundation, NetHope’s longest continuous foundation funder, seeded the Collective Impact Fund through two separate catalytic gifts: an immediate $100,000 contribution with the announcement of the Fund, and a $100,000 capping contribution when the Fund reached $400,000 in total donations. The gifts aspired to engage both new and legacy NetHope partners and funders through celebrating 20 years of impact while affirming their continued commitment to collaboration through NetHope’s next generation of work. Beyond the Collective Impact Fund, The Patterson Foundation has contributed more than $2 million to strengthen NetHope’s operations around the world in efforts addressing challenges such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the Ebola epidemic, Hurricane Dorian and more.

“NetHope has a demonstrated track record of building successful cross-sector collaborations that prove crucial to restoring critical infrastructure in the wake of large-scale humanitarian crises,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “Through its Collective Impact Fund, NetHope will be able to do so with even greater efficiency to strengthen communities as they cope, adapt and innovate through adversity. The Patterson Foundation is proud to have served as a catalyst for this flexibility funding benefiting NetHope’s global network.”

This funding achievement follows a recent $15 million multi-year grant from long-time corporate partner Cisco to NetHope’s Digital Breakthrough Initiative. Cisco’s grant will support efforts focused on enhancing shared nonprofit cybersecurity capabilities, bolstering NetHope’s core capacity to better support Members and scaling up the NetHope community’s collective ability in the face of cyber crime to help preserve program continuity for the 1.2 billion vulnerable people served by the NetHope Membership.

To learn more about NetHope and opportunities to support its efforts around the world, visit

About NetHope
NetHope, a consortium of over 60 leading global nonprofits, unites technology companies and funding partners to design, fund, implement, adapt, and scale innovative approaches to solve development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. Together, the NetHope community achieves positive change, building a shared platform for insight and action for those who receive aid, those who deliver it, and those who steward the environment for future generations. To learn more about NetHope, visit

Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Board Approves $6.3 Million In Grant Funding

Sarasota, FL—The essence: Recently approved grants from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation will address areas such as hunger and food insecurity, support affordable housing opportunities, and promote projects that enhance diversity, equity, and civil rights in the region.
Addressing Food Insecurity for Children
•    Our investment: A $2,500,000 million grant to All Faiths Food Bank to expand food insecurity screening programs in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
•    Why it matters: Health care providers are an essential first line of defense to combat child hunger. All Faiths currently works with 10 health care providers to screen children and families for food insecurity, and these funds will help them expand this work.
Removing Barriers to Social Services
•    Our investment: A $546,220 grant to Mothers Helping Mothers to build a suite of wrap-around services at the organization’s Sarasota drop-in center. Funding for this initiative will remove barriers to their services, such as program costs, limited transportation options, and lack of childcare.
•    Why it matters: Time, or lack of it, is a common and overwhelming challenge for families living on the economic edge. Many have tenuous transportation that requires them to spend long travel times on bus routes or have unreliable transportation, which causes them to miss work, appointments, and other opportunities. This funding will help deliver more human services at a single location, removing the burden of having to visit multiple locations for assistance.
Supporting Housing First Models
•    Our investment: A $300,000 grant to Second Heart Homes to purchase additional homes to help address homelessness.
•    Why it matters: The Housing First approach to ending homelessness, grounded in the underlying principle that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed, has helped many overcome homelessness and has proven to deliver effective mental health and addiction recovery outcomes.
Keeping Teachers in the Classroom
•    Our investment: A $300,000 grant to support Barancik Foundation’s Teacher Retention|Recruitment initiative.
•    Context: Barancik Foundation launched the Teacher R|R Initiative in 2017 to examine issues affecting teacher recruitment and retention.  These efforts have helped support the development of a new local teacher pipeline while also focusing on existing teachers’ wellness and professional development.
Expanding Capacity to Enhance Community Arts Impact
•    Our investment: A $300,000 grant to the Hermitage Artist Retreat to help the organization grow its capacity to deliver programming focused on community impact, education, and social justice.
•    Context: The Hermitage continues to keep its programs free and accessible to all members of our community, reaffirming its commitment to being one of the most inclusive arts organizations in the nation. 
Preventing Homelessness with Flexible Funding
•    Our investment: A $250,000 grant to Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness to establish a flexible housing fund.
•    What’s happening: The grant will allow the organization to bridge the gap when lease renewals become financially unattainable for residents when all other available funds and support in the community have been exhausted.
Building Affordable Housing Opportunities
•    Our investment: A $250,000 grant to Community Assisted & Supported Living (CASL) to build and operate affordable rental units.
•    Context: CASL is partnering with Gracewater and Blue Sky Communities to develop land in Sarasota County that will provide about 370 affordable rental units (80 in the first phase) and add access to amenities such as a clinic and a grocery store. Additional funding will come via Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and the Florida Housing Finance Corp.
Providing Programming to Address Important Community Issues
•    Our investment: A $250,000 grant to WEDU PBS to boost local programming that focuses on diversity, equity, community wellness, attainable housing, and civil rights. 
•    What’s happening: This funding will act as seed money toward producing local issue-focused programs and help leverage other philanthropic support. WEDU's ability to expand and meet the needs and interests of the growing populations of Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties is anticipated to result in heightened awareness of the issues affecting our communities.
Creating Health Equity
•    Our investment: A $150,000 investment into collaborative, community efforts to combat diabetes and obesity in underserved communities and create a five-year health equity plan in Sarasota County.
•    Why it matters:  There are substantial health disparities between people of color and their white counterparts because of structural racism and a series of societal failings. For example, African American adults are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than their white counterparts. They also are twice as likely to die from complications related to the disease.
Supporting People with Vision Loss and Their Families
•    Our investment: A $132,141 grant to Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center to support capacity expansion to better serve blind and visually impaired individuals.
•    Why it matters: Strong support from family is crucial for an individual experiencing vision loss. When the family understands what their loved one is going through, it is much easier to be supportive. The Lighthouse will be a resource for families of loved ones struggling with the diagnosis and be a place for support and hope.
Supporting LGBTQ+ Students
•    Our investment: A $130,000 grant to ALSO Youth to assist the organization in relocating their Manatee County service center.
•    Context: The housing and office space market is not only putting a strain on residents and businesses but also nonprofit organizations. The grant will help them relocate to a new space that allows for a visible and continued presence in Manatee County.
Supporting College Transfer Students
•    Our investment: A $103,341 grant to New College Foundation to improve equity by helping area students aspire to and attain a bachelor’s degree.
•    What’s happening: Funds will be used to continue Barancik Foundation’s efforts at New College to provide in-person and online college essay writing workshops, ease transfer students’ transition to the campus, and provide targeted advising to first-time college students.
Building Connections Between Young Professionals of Color and the Community
•    Our investment: A $100,000 grant to Emerge Sarasota to improve the relationship between our community at large and Black and Indigenous young professionals. 
•    What’s happening: Emerge has three programs through which they help educate, support, uplift, and shine a light on talented young professionals of color in the region — health and wellness, arts and culture, and professional development. These funds will help the emerging organization expand its capacity.
Easing Economic Strains
•    Our investment: A $100,000 grant to purchase gas cards for clients of human service agencies.
•    What’s happening: We all know rising inflation and gas prices are putting a strain on those that help those most in need in our community. These funds will be used to purchase gas cards that will be distributed to clients of partner agencies that provide assistance in our community.
Addressing the Needs of Foster Children
•    Our investment: A $100,000 grant to The Children’s Guardian Fund to provide unrestricted funding to help respond to children’s immediate and ongoing needs when they are removed from abusive or neglectful homes.
•    Why it matters: Too many children removed from chaotic environments may have never had a birthday cake, a book, or even the calm, undivided attention of an adult in their lives. This grant will help fulfill the range of basic and more profound needs of children in foster care.
Expanding the Healthy Ponds Initiative
•    Our investment: A $100,000 grant to Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START) to improve the quality of our waterways by emphasizing the reduction and flow of excess nutrients out of our ponds.
•    Context: In 2021, Barancik Foundation partnered with START to launch a new collaborative aimed at helping more neighborhoods upgrade their ponds, more effectively remove red-tide causing nutrients, and cost-share the improvements. Building on the successful pilot program, these funds will help the organization expand its efforts into Manatee County in partnership with the county government.
Investing in Local Arts Teachers
•    Our investment: A $100,000 grant to Sarasota County Schools to create engaging Professional Learning opportunities for K-12 art teachers.
•    What we learned: An increasing number of prospective art teachers come to our district with little or no educational experience or formal training. The grant will help the Sarasota School District deliver rich art and music-based professional development for teachers.
Supporting Blind Children and Teens
•    Our investment: A $75,000 grant to Southeastern Guide Dogs to support its Children & Teens Program.
•    Context: In 2019, with Barancik Foundation support, the organization lowered its age limit and expanded its children and teens guide dog program, making it available for teens ages 14-17.  SGD is the only guide school in the country that offers guide dogs to teenagers as young as 14. For a child, losing sight can have lifelong effects, putting them at risk for failing in school, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
Increasing Mentorship Opportunities for At-risk Youth
•    Our investment: A $60,000 grant to Gulf Coast Sports Group to support the "A Lions Reach" Youth Mentoring Counselor/Ambassador Program.
•    What’s happening: The organization is comprised of current and former sports professionals who provide mentoring opportunities and student internships to underserved students in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Programs include not only on-the-court experiences but also related support functions like video production, sports management, and other sports-related jobs.
An additional $500,000 was awarded to support programs and projects with partner organizations.
About Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. For more information, visit  

Selby Foundation Awards nearly $1.1 million to Area Nonprofit Organizations in the Spring Grant Cycle

SARASOTA, Florida - The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation recently awarded nearly $1.1 million in grants to 17 nonprofit organizations which provide local communities with much needed services. The grants awarded this spring will have a wide-ranging impact in a number of program areas including Arts and Culture, Community and Civic, Education and Health and Human Services.

“To make a difference in the lives of the clients they serve, our area’s nonprofits seek funding to improve their facilities, technology, energy efficiency and their ability to reach clients beyond their physical location,” states Carol Butera, the Selby Foundation’s president and CEO. “The Selby Foundation is uniquely positioned to provide for those capital needs allowing the recipient organizations to more effectively focus on their respective missions.”

$1,075,314 in grants by program category total:
•    Arts and Culture - $83,000
•    Community and Civic - $442,480
•    Education - $100,000
•    Health and Human Services - $449,834

See full press release here

Apply for Selby Foundation Fall 2022 Grants Starting June 1

SARASOTA, Florida - The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Spring 2022 Grants Cycle opens on June 1 and will close at 3:59 p.m. on August 1.  The Grant Portal will be open during that period for area not-for-profit organizations to create an account and access existing accounts as they begin the application process. The Selby Foundation board meets in November to review grant applications and award grants.

The Foundation specializes in supporting local area not-for-profits with capital grants which support construction, acquisition and/or renovation of facilities as well as the purchase of equipment or software. Grants requests may also include the costs of related technical services like legal, architectural and engineering. Not-for-profit organizations are required to be primarily located in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee or Sarasota Counties.

The Selby Foundation is a private foundation founded by William G. and Marie Selby in 1955. The Foundation supports Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties through capital grants and scholarships. Since its establishment, the Selby Foundation has provided more than
$120 million to the community. For more information on the Foundation’s grant and scholarship application process, including its Small and Mighty Grants program, visit

See full press release here

Callie Neslund Joins GiveWell Community Foundation as Chief Operating Officer

LAKELAND, FL (April 13, 2022) -
GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) has hired Callie Neslund as its Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly to President and CEO John Attaway. Neslund will work with Attaway and the GWCF team on future initiatives stemming from the United Community Needs Assessment currently underway, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations for the organization.

Read the full press release here.

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida Announces 2022 Class of Emerging Philanthropists
Thirteen selected for this year’s Weaver Philanthropic Initiative

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – March 10, 2022  The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida proudly announces the selection of thirteen ‘next generation’ philanthropists who will participate in a six month course of learning sessions and hands-on grantmaking opportunities to better inform their giving. These newest members of the Weaver Philanthropic Initiative follow in the footsteps of eight previous classes, many of whom are actively engaged in philanthropic and civic leadership activities.
Read the full press release here.

The Partnership: For Mental Health Concludes After Investing $2.4 Million in 49 Local Organizations

Improved access to services and heightened awareness are among the positive results of the initiative

Jacksonville, FL – March 9, 2022 – The Partnership: For Mental Health, an initiative of the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and Baptist Health, has concluded its three-year, $2.4 million investment to improve access and strengthen the region’s mental and behavioral health care systems. Sixty grants ranging from $1,200 to $160,000 went to 49 local agencies in their pursuit of innovative ways to address mental health needs in our region.

Delores Barr Weaver called for ‘new levels of ingenuity in providing a fully responsive mental health ecosystem’ when she originally envisioned The Partnership in 2018. She was joined by Baptist Health to begin funding opportunities to move this work forward. That challenge took on a new urgency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as the need for mental health support soared.

“The Partnership: For Mental Health created tremendous learning opportunities, not only for the funders, but for the organizations with whom we worked,” said Delores Barr Weaver. “The challenges in the field are widespread, and we learned that targeted investments in areas like direct service and stigma reduction could help move the needle in Northeast Florida. I am proud of the stimulus the grants created, and look forward to continuing to learn from the organizations doing this very important work.” 

Read the full press release here.

United Way of Central Florida and GiveWell Community Foundation Launch Survey to Identify and Address Community Needs in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties

LAKELAND, FL (March 1, 2022) – GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) and United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) announce the launch of the United Community Needs Assessment, a community needs assessment survey across the three counties both organizations serve – Polk, Hardee, and Highlands. The survey is designed to gather residents’ opinions on a variety of critical issues such as education, economy, employment opportunities, infrastructure, quality of life, and transportation.

The United Community Needs Assessment (UCNA) is administered through an online survey which can be found at The survey takes about 15 minutes to fill out and residents who are 18 years of age and older are encouraged to participate and share the survey with their community. Participants may enter to win a $50 Visa gift card upon completion of the survey.

Read the full press release here.

"Season of Sharing" surpasses $4.4 Mission in Donations as 22nd Annual Campaign Reaches Historic Milestone
Seven matching gifts totaling $700,000 contributed by The Patterson Foundation enhance the millions provided by the community to support neighbors in need all year long.

SARASOTA, FL – Building on more than two decades of community generosity, the annual “Season of Sharing” campaign surpassed $4.4 million in donations – the highest annual amount raised since its establishment in 2000 by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to provide a safety net for neighbors in crisis. During the last three months, more than 3,600 gifts were given by donors of all means to offer stability for those on the economic edge in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties.

Now in its 22nd year, the campaign has restored security and peace of mind for nearly 50,000 individuals and families from Punta Gorda to Parrish by providing more than $34 million to assist with housing, utilities, child care, and transportation.

“This outpouring of generosity reflects the deep trust our community puts in Season of Sharing to be a dependable lifeline for people during their most challenging moments,” says Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The complex, everyday challenges that our neighbors are facing call on us to meet them – however we are able – with hope and support so they have the staying power to keep them on their feet long after a crisis has passed. Thanks to everyone who counted themselves as a supporter, this historic response will enable us to fulfill that promise of community care in the months and year ahead.”

Read the full press release here.

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

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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