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Arbor School Named To Receive Grant

ORLANDO, Fla. - September 8, 2016 - Central Florida Foundation, today announces the grants from our annual Community Investment Grant Round.

The eight projects and nonprofits to receive grants include:

  1. Up to $7,400 to The Arbor Schools of Central Florida to purchase iPad minis and software and apps to enhance student learning through integration of technology based instruction in the music and arts programs at the school.
  2. Up to $12,680 to HOPE Helps, Inc. for the purchase of a commercial refrigerator and commercial freezer to keep healthy perishable food items fresh.
  3. $51,000 to McCormick Research Institute for the addition of an outdoor arena and the completion of its new facility. This grant will help maintain or increase the number of clients the nonprofit serves, and the completion of the new building will allow the nonprofit to keep its research compliance to continue its studies on equine therapies and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  4. Up to $10,000 to Pathways Drop in Center to upgrade the laundry facility to allow the center to continue to provide laundry services to its clients living with mental illness and increase its ability to serve new clients. Some of these clients are also experiencing homelessness. This facility is the only place to wash clothes for most of its clients.
  5. Up to $32,000 to Seniors First for re-branding, a social media plan and a part time resource development staff member to increase its volunteer base and diversify its funding streams.
  6. Up to $20,000 to Central Florida Zoological Society for the design and purchase of educational materials for the Black Bear education program to help educate the community on how to coexist with black bears and for the purchase of ActivPanels to provide an interactive experience during education programs like the curriculum programs, home school programs and summer programs.
  7. Up to $5,000 to Canine Companions for Independence for training equipment to establish a hearing dog program in Central Florida to increase the quality of life for deaf clients and those with hearing impairment.
  8. Up to $30,550 to Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando to create a computer lab for clients to job search, write resumes and fill out applications for benefits, lifestyle and employment workshops for clients and the purchase of a new server and workstations for staff.

The eight grants total up to a $168,630 investment in the community.

“This investment from the Central Florida Foundation to HOPE Helps, Inc., will help us provide healthier fresh food items on a more consistent basis to the nearly 300 households we serve each week,” said Joan Faulkner, chief executive officer of HOPE Helps, Inc. “Now we are able to accept contributions of fresh produce from other donors in our community.”

The Community Investment grant round is part of Central Florida Foundation’s effort to educate the next generation about investing in nonprofits. For the fifth year in a row, students enrolled in Philanthropy, Fundraising, and Social Entrepreneurship, a masters-level course in the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, teamed up with mentors from the Foundation.

“The class gave me the opportunity to not only learn, but also interact with professionals in the nonprofit world in order to evaluate their programs for capacity, sustainability, and financial health,” said Keisha Moore, a graduate student at the University of Central Florida. “The guidance from the professionals at the Foundation combined with advice from mentors proved to be instrumental throughout the entire process. It was truly a rewarding experience and one that I will never forget.”

New for this year, the class partnered with students enrolled in Government and Nonprofit Accounting, a masters-level course taught by Dr. Lynda Dennis in the College of Business Administration also at the University of Central Florida. The students in the accounting course reviewed the financial statements of the nonprofits under consideration by the students in the philanthropy course. Their observations helped inform the students in the philanthropy course as they narrowed their decisions and crafted their grant recommendations.

“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to gain a deeper understanding of the investable characteristics of nonprofit organizations,” said Stephanie Krick, associate lecturer in the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida. “These students left this class with a whole new appreciation of the grant-making process.”

The students used Nonprofit Search to research nonprofits and present grant recommendations to the Foundation’s board of directors for approval. Mentors on this year’s committee included Rhonda Pearlman, Andrew Knutson, Lou Nimkoff and Thomasa Sanchez.

“I was so pleased to have the opportunity to mentor students from the University of Central Florida as a part of their nonprofit management master’s program,” said Andrew Knutson, president/ceo of Valhalla Consulting Services. “I am hopeful that my experience and knowledge benefited the students in some way; however, I feel I benefited from them more by hearing new perspectives, goals and philosophies that will allow me to be a better leader.”

Endowed funds at Central Florida Foundation make the Community Investment grant round possible. These permanent community assets were originally established by generous individuals whose desire was to help maintain and improve the quality of life in Central Florida. Their lasting contribution will help meet future needs of the community that could not have been anticipated when the funds were established. While these individuals have since passed away, their investments will continue on forever through careful investing and administration at Central Florida Foundation.
“Whenever you can take learning outside of the classroom, exciting things can happen,” said Sandi Vidal, vice president of community strategies and initiatives at the Foundation. “During this grant round, UCF students were able to learn how to invest in local nonprofits. The end result is that 8 nonprofits will have the ability to increase their capacity in Central Florida and the students took part in a learning experience that they will never forget. Now they understand nonprofits in a whole new way.”

About Central Florida Foundation:

Central Florida Foundation is the place for people who want to invest in their community. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds. The Foundation manages and invests funds, offers personalized service and expert giving advice, connects caring people, businesses, governments and organizations to local initiatives that build and inspire community, and empowers them to make informed decisions that make a difference now and in the future. The Central Florida Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses, professional advisors and nonprofits. For more information on the Foundation, please visit


The Arbor School of Central Florida is listed on GuideStar, the world's largest nonprofit organization registry. View our profile.

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The Central Florida Foundation works with families focused on giving back, nonprofits and across public and private sectors to bring philanthropy to life.

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Arbor School participates in the John McKay Scholarship and Gardiner Scholarship programs. For more information, click here.

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    “The Arbor School has provided a great environment for our son. They are results-oriented, in a nurturing environment, with excellent teachers who are extremely patient, kind, and skilled.”
    The O'Reilly Family
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    “…our son has come so far! He’s not the same kid and we owe it all to Arbor School. Thank you Ms. Wendy and Everyone at Arbor School of Central Florida!”
    The McCabe Family
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    …our son has never been happier since he's been at Arbor. With the other schools he attended in the past, it was always a struggle to get him to go every day. At Arbor, he is excited and happy to go every day. Thank you!”
    The Roberts Family
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    “I finally found the right fit! My son has only been at Arbor for one year and has learned more than he has over the last several at a different private school for students with learning disorders.
    The Behrens Family