Blessings of the New Year

Posted at 5:06 pm on 01/01/2018

As we begin a new year...a message from Founding Chairman Frank Hennessey…

As we celebrate this season of giving, we also pause to reflect on endings and beginnings – the end of a momentous and game changing 2017 and the promise, potential and challenges of new beginnings as 2018 unfolds.  We continue to witness the spirit of generosity, compassion and caring that is the Ocala/Marion County community through those we serve – our donors, professional advisors and non-profits - our family of endowed fund holders, partners and collaborators.


In keeping with our mission to build community through philanthropy by Connecting Donors to the Causes They Care About, the Community Foundation is honored to welcome our first Family Foundation Fund – the Edwards Construction Building Hope Foundation.  Our Legacy and Memorial Funds celebrate the passion and commitment of John Hankinson, Jr. to preserve and protect the Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers through the Hankinson Legacy Fund; the dedication and commitment of Mary DeCasper, an extraordinary teacher at Ft. McCoy School through a memorial legacy fund to establish a reading room in her honor at Ft. McCoy; the establishment of a first of its kind Civil Legal Aid Fund by the Marion County Bar Association  in honor of and in memory of retired/deceased judges, attorneys and others in the legal profession.


The Community Foundation is also honored to partner with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, dedicated to pairing fully trained medical service dogs with veterans and first responders, in establishing dedicated funds to advance their incredible work through the development of a new state of the art facility in Williston, FL.   And we are honored to administer the Horse Country Protection Program of Marion County and their partner - the Equine Land Conservation Resource in Lexington, KY to educate and raise awareness to preserve and protect equine and agricultural lands in Marion County – a program launched through the generosity of donors and grant funding. 


Our scholarship funds continue to evolve and flourish – the impact of the Muns Trust Nursing Scholarship administered by the Community Foundation on behalf of the Marion County Hospital District Trustees has awarded over $60,000 to qualified nursing students and the Lux Scholarship for medical specialties such as radiology, respiratory and speech pathology along with midwifery will commence in early 2018.   The Scholarships for Hope for ARC Marion, Inc. has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to qualified students in the various programs offered on the ARC campus.


Arts and Culture continue to thrive in Ocala Marion County and the Community Foundation is ever grateful for its ongoing partnership with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra/Reilly Arts Center and the Magnolia Art Xchange.  MAX celebrated a new partnership with FAFO – Fine Arts for Ocala – in a dynamic matching gift program for the buildout and transformation of the historic Ocala Depot as an Arts Incubator.  Watch for an exciting new venture through the Community Foundation’s Artful Giving as the Arts Incubator becomes a reality.  And, finally, the Community Foundation launched its first Matching Gift Fund in partnership with Marion Cultural Alliance’s Applaud the Arts to benefit the Marion Disaster Recovery Network for the victims of Hurricane Irma.


In addition to new and ongoing fund development, the Community Foundation welcomed the Non-Profit Business Council - comprised of more than 100+ area non-profits - as our newest collaborative initiative. The Non-Profit Business Council promotes the positive economic impact of nonprofits; strengthens their leadership capacity; and promotes collaboration and philanthropic education throughout the community. The Community Foundation and the NPBC will create a Non Profit Resource Center to advance their core mission and ours.


And the Community Foundation is the grateful recipient of our first grant funding  - an exploratory grant from the Florida Philanthropic Network through the Helios Foundation and the Kresge Foundation to establish a Local College Access Network  (LCAN) in Ocala Marion County. Focused on Logistics as the prototype for enhancing education opportunities for both our college degree seeking students and working adult populations through Goal 2025, the Community Foundation and its education/community/business partners qualified for an additional seed grant to advance the LCAN concept across all education disciplines.  Look for exciting program news in early 2018.


 With an engaged and energized Board of Directors and extraordinary community partners, the Community Foundation is poised to enhance and grow our endowed funds for the benefit of the Ocala Marion County Community in our four key focus areas – civic-cultural-community-economic development.


Our commitment to sustainable community building is evidenced by our core promises to be a center of excellence for investment portfolio management, the source for extraordinary grant making opportunities coupled with access to targeted resources that best meet the needs of our community.  With the passage of major tax reform and the implications for both corporations, small business and individuals and families, especially as it relates to charitable giving, your Community Foundation becomes a primary resource for not only the non-profit sector itself but for individual and corporate donors as well as we all work through the implications of these major changes. JOIN US!

Wishing you and yours every blessing for a prosperous, healthy and Happy New Year


Frank M. Hennessey, Founding Chairman


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