Following the mission of Universal Orlando to support groups that make a difference in the lives of Central Florida’s residents, the Universal Orlando Foundation awarded more than $1 million in grants to 30 local charitable organizations at the end of last year. The grants ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 and will provide everything from school supplies to free camp experiences and innovative after-school programming, and more.
“Central Florida is home for our company and for our 25,000 team members and we care about our community,” said John Sprouls, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts, and President of the Universal Orlando Foundation. “We are inspired by the vision and mission of all the community groups we partner with and we are thrilled for this opportunity to recognize their great work.”
Recipients of $100,000 grants:
Camp Boggy Creek – $100,000 to support their Innovation Station, a new initiative to provide free camp experiences specifically for children whose primary diagnosis is tied directly to their mental health. Funding will cover costs associated with a weekend session in Spring 2023, with a goal of expanding this opportunity to summer sessions.
Children’s Home Society – $100,000 to support their Community Partnership School Expansion and Stabilization, which will support current programming at Eccleston and help expand services to Carver Middle School. Funding will provide stabilization of existing key expanded learning services for Eccleston and the expansion of wellness services to Carver Middle to ensure students do not have a break in services.
A Gift for Teaching – $100,000 to support their 25 for 25 — Supplying Student Success program. A portion of this grant will cover costs associated with gifting Surprise Class Packs of school supplies to 25 teachers in the highest need Orange County schools each month throughout the 2023-2024 school year. The remaining portion will overhaul and refresh AGFT’s box truck to ensure reliable procurement and delivery of supplies.
Coalition for the Homeless – $100,000 to support their Early Childhood Development Center, which serves Center for Women and Families shelter guests and participants in its Rapid Rehousing programs. Funding will cover costs associated with a technology upgrade, Health and Wellness staffing, Field Trip Bus driver and a parent fund for to help parents who are struggling to meet day-to-day needs.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County – $100,000 to support a new program that addresses the currently dire struggles of lower-income households to preserve their homes and prevent foreclosure. Program would enable homeowners to possibly reduce their home insurance costs, uncover roof issues, steer them to repair assistance, and coach them on the most critical home preservation and insurance obstacles people confront. Grant will cover costs associated with staffing as well as roof inspections.
Zebra Coalition – $100,000 to support renovation and operations of a new space secured to serve youth. The site will house meeting space, rooms for therapy, a stage for drama workshops, and allow the organization to return to regular service hours.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida – $100,000 to support their STEAM Enhancement program, which provides high-quality STEAM programming afterschool to underserved tweens and teens in Central Florida. Funding will support direct services—staff time, STEAM contractors, art/ STEM software, supplies and materials.
Recipient of $75,000 grant:
After School All Stars – $75,000 to support their Echoes Project, which would expand their commitment to equip underserved students with the tools and knowledge to make lasting impact in their communities and their own life through performing arts and theatre. Funding will support staffing, curriculum, facilities and materials for programming at Memorial and Carver Middle Schools.
Recipient of $50,000 grant:
onePULSE Foundation – $50,000 in support of education programs to advance human equity.
Recipients of $10,000 grants:
Canine Companions for Independence
City Year Orlando
Foundation for Seminole State College
The Orlando Fringe
Give Kids the World Village
Homeless Services Network of Central Florida
Holocaust Center of Florida
Junior Achievement™ of Central Florida
Lighthouse Central Florida
Make-A-Wish® Central and Northern Florida
Foundation for Orange County Public Schools
Orlando Health Foundation
The Orlando Repertory Theatre
Orlando Science Center
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Special Olympics Florida
UCP of Central Florida
United Arts of Central Florida
Valencia College Foundation
Universal Orlando Foundation’s first-ever “Celebration of Giving” will return in 2023 to celebrate the Foundation’s 25th year of service, according to the company.
Since 1998, the Universal Orlando Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in grants to help support organizations in Central Florida that provide aid to local children and families. Universal Orlando has also created its own innovative programs and partnerships for the community such as Art of Tomorrow – a program to support young students interested in the arts – and Bites, Camera, Action – a mobile food pantry. Additionally, Universal Orlando Team Members have volunteered more than 35,000 hours at dozens of local organizations this year alone.