Foundation’s ‘off the chart’ grant total will go a long way


Don Blair, board chairman of the John’s Island Foundation, had some exciting news to announce at a reception last week at the John’s Island Golf Club. As he pointed to a graph with a top figure of $1 million, he commented that the board had just approved grants for the current fiscal year.

“And they are literally off the chart. We are going to be making grants of $1.1 million in this fiscal year,” said Blair.

He thanked the event sponsors, organizers, board members, site team members and the John’s Island staff, before adding: “And finally, I want to thank all of you, the John’s Island Foundation donors, because it’s your generosity that makes the work that we do possible.”

Blair said they granted more than $915,000 to 23 charitable agencies last year, spread relatively evenly into health, education and financial stability.

“This year we will be making grants to 26 agencies. Our focus this year is a little bit different, as we increased our commitment to financial stability, particularly affordable housing,” said Blair.

He reminded donors that the John’s Island Foundation focuses on capital investments, rather than operational expenses.

“Few funders directly support the assets and the infrastructure that make those operations possible. For many charitable agencies, it’s difficult for them to put money aside to fund capital repairs or replace assets,” said Blair. “Our investments support the delivery of critical services now and in future years.”

While some grants maintain or expand existing programs, others fund new services.

“Last year we made a $50,000 capital grant to help SafeSpace open an Indian River County shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” said Blair. Previously, the closest emergency shelter was in Martin County.

“SafeSpace provides domestic violence services to the Tri-County area,” said SafeSpace CEO Teresa Albizu, Ed.D., after thanking everyone for their generosity and support.

“And what’s important to recognize is that we’re not just an emergency shelter, because we provide very comprehensive outreach services, which are very important to help individuals transition to an independent life free of violence.”

In Indian River County, she said SafeSpace served 178 individuals last year, and they provided more than 1,700 outreach services. With the April 7 opening of the SafeSpace facility here – open 24/7, 365 days a year – they expect to assist many more victims in coming years.

Albizu was also pleased to announce that the John’s Island Foundation had just approved their request for a $55,000 grant to build an outdoor play area at the new facility.

Blair said that he was initially introduced to SafeSpace when he visited as a member of a site team.

“What I saw that day had a profound impact on me,” said Blair, commenting that it taught him two things.

“First, that being on a site team is one of the best ways to truly understand the needs of our community. And second, the work that we all do can have a tremendous impact on people’s lives. So, thank you again to all of you as donors in the John’s Island Foundation. You are all making a difference.”

Photos by Kaila Jones

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