Initiative aims to raise funds for local homeless programs for individuals and families

ORLANDO, September 14, 2015 – To address the growing homeless population in Central Florida, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation has launched House Orlando’s Homeless, a new initiative to raise and grant money in support of Orlando’s dynamic efforts to provide permanent housing for low-income individuals and families.

In the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2013 Homeless Assessment Report, Central Florida was reported to have nearly 4,300 long-term homeless people, the highest in the nation for communities of like size.

Working in partnership with the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Magic, funds raised will support local nonprofit organizations with programs that assist the homeless. The goal of the campaign is to find solutions to this crucial issue. It is the belief that with a combination of supportive services and secure housing, the homeless will have the opportunity to rebuild their lives, establish their own permanent homes and become contributing citizens to the Central Florida community.

“This is an issue that can and must be fixed,” said Linda Landman Gonzalez, Vice President of Philanthropy and Multicultural Insights for the Orlando Magic. “The solutions to ending homelessness are not easily accomplished, but success is in sight. House Orlando’s Homeless initiative is a tremendous step in the right direction and by working together as a team with our community we can be victorious in this fight.”

“Traditionally, many communities address homelessness through shelter-based services, which is a bandage approach when a cure is what’s needed,” said Nancy Meyer, Publisher and CEO of the Orlando Sentinel. “By moving to a housing-first model, Central Florida is helping to provide permanent housing with strong support services for those who need it most.”

The campaign is an initiative of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in partnership with local community businesses and organizations. The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at fifty cents on the dollar for an additional $250,000. All administrative expenses will be covered by the Foundation and Partners. One hundred percent of all donations, plus the match, will be granted to nonprofits in the Central Florida region to resolve the growing homeless population.

Work during the first year of the initiative will focus on capacity building to help local organizations convert from shelter-based programs to a housing-first approach. The second year will focus on supporting capacity building efforts as needed, but also fund housing-first direct service programs. The final year of the initiative will primarily assist direct service programs.

An Advisory Team, composed of Campaign Partner representatives, including Gonzalez and Meyer, is assisting with fundraising efforts and grantmaking recommendations. Andrae Bailey, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, and Bill Koll, Director of the Communities Program for the McCormick Foundation will also serve on the team.

Donations can be made online at, by calling 800.516.8703 or by mail to: House Orlando’s Homeless, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, 205 N Michigan Ave, Suite 4300, Chicago, IL 60601.

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