Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Spotlight:
City Year Orlando
By John Denton
ORLANDO – Without help from community supporters such as the Orlando Magic, City Year Orlando’s “Whole School, Whole Child” program almost certainly wouldn’t exist. And without its existence, hundreds of children each year would likely lag behind in school and become candidates to drop out.
When the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF), presented City Year with a $25,000 grant earlier this year, it allowed the organization to hire more tutors for their intervention and support program. City Year provides 17-to-24-year-old full-time tutors who also serve as mentors and role models to students who are in school and struggling. The tutors spend full days before and after school working with students, getting to know them and helping them improve their grades and helping to ignite the passion for school.
City Year Orlando CEO Jordan Plante knows that without grant money given by the likes of the Magic and others that his organization couldn’t impact lives the way that it does on a daily basis. Plante even took it a step farther when talking about the Magic, pointing out the franchise’s dedicated commitment to making a difference off the floor in the Central Florida community.
“This absolutely states what the Magic truly are about,” Plante said of the ceremony where the Magic presented $600,000 in grant money to 25 nonprofit organizations throughout Central Florida.
“I’ve lived in a lot of cities around the country and I feel like this community, and the Magic specifically, are invested in such a special way,” Plante continued. “They support all kinds of organizations of different programs and ethnicities. It’s just neat to see how invested (the Magic) are. And not just in dollars alone. The dollars are huge, but the Magic coming to events, supporting events and getting their employees engaged and volunteering. So it goes far beyond the check that they are writing. They really are interested in the work that everyone is doing throughout Central Florida.”
In the last 24 years more than $18 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994, which serves at-risk youth.
This past year alone, the OMYF-MFF awarded $600,000 in grants to 25 nonprofit organizations based throughout Central Florida. The 25 grantees were a nod to the Magic’s year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary season. The $600,000 in grants given out in January raise the total to $3.8 million awarded over the past four years.
Here is a closer look at City Year Orlando’s mission and the Magic’s work in the Central Florida Community:
2014 OMYF-MFF GRANT RECIPIENTS: Adult Literacy League, Apopka Family Learning Center, BETA Center, Boys Town Central Florida, Children’s Home Society of Florida, City Year, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, Elevate Orlando, Florida Hospital for Children, Foundation for Foster Children, Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, Gift of Swimming, Harbor House of Central Florida, Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, Orange County Library System, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Osceola Council on Aging, Rescue Outreach Mission of Central Florida, The Center for Drug Free Living-Zebra Coalition, The Salvation Army, University of Central Florida Foundation, Valencia College Foundation.
FEATURED ORGANIZATION: City Year Orlando
CITY YEAR ORLANDO PURPOSE: City Year Orlando deploys 60 highly skilled corps members to serve as tutors and mentors in five schools: Evans High School, Meadowbrook Middle School, Memorial Middle School, Oak Ridge High School, and Walker Middle School. Thousands of students in Orlando are at risk of dropping out of school. The consequences are real: Students who drop out are eight times more likely to become incarcerated and three times more likely to be unemployed. When a student drops out of school it has a lasting effect on our communities.
2014 OMYF-MFF GRANT MONEY TO CITY YEAR ORLANDO: $25,000
CITY YEAR ORLANDO QUOTE: “This program is only possible through the community supporters. And this is a milestone for City Year because the Magic are integral in supporting all of the young people in this area. And for us to have the Magic partner with us, this is a big milestone. We’re so grateful and this is a big honor.’’ – City Year Orlando CEO Jordan Plante
ORLANDO MAGIC QUOTE: “I’m really proud of what the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation has been able to do and the commitment that they have to Central Florida and so many organizations. The Orlando Magic Youth Fund, as part of the McCormick Fund, has been able to donate $18 million to more than 500 nonprofit organizations and have a positive impact on 1 million youth throughout the community. That’s impressive. My family is very dedicated to this organization and to this community and it’s just great to see the response of organizations and the results that they are able to achieve.” – Magic Chairman Dan DeVos