LIFT Orlando Board Update

May 14, 2017

community quarterback update

1. Fundraising Report: $1,695,000 In New Financial Commitments - May has been a great month for contributions and pledges.

  • $1,200,000 - Wayne Densch Grant Support pledged
  • $250,000 - Individual Impact Investment pledged
  • $100,000 - OBT Next Grant submitted
  • $75,000 - Individual Contributions received
  • $50,000 - Impact Investments received
  • $15,000 - Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor and Reed Foundation gift received
  • $5,000 -  The Jaeke Family Foundation gift received

2. Edyth Bush Foundation - We began conversations with the Edyth Bush Foundation over a year ago, when David Odahowski invited us to apply for $50,000. Last month, David invited us to double our request to $100,00o. Surprisingly, we received a letter last week stating our application was denied at this time. We're confused by that outcome but are following up to inquire further. 

3. Banking Outreach - We've been on a mission to seek an audience with every major bank in order to get them acquainted with our mission and the opportunity of investing in our Impact Investment Fund. If you know any key contacts at local banks, please let us know. So far, we have a a $2M investment pledge by Valley National, a $1M gift pledge from SunTrust and a $25k investment from United Legacy, thanks to Mr. David McCloud. To see a list of who we are talking to and recommend others, simply click here

4. Real Estate Development Pipeline - This month we will review the different real estate projects we are working on at this time. The number staggering and the total value is sobering. Please take a quick look at this preview gallery below in preparation for our board conversation about how we are prioritizing opportunities. 


mixed income housing

5. Pendana at West Lakes Phase 1 is on Schedule - Construction is moving along on schedule. We'll start taking applications this Fall and we will begin scheduling move-ins in January, with all buildings scheduled for completion by the Spring of 2018. You can check out the informational website at: Or, download a one pager you can share by clicking here.

6. West Lakes Phase 2 Application - Our plans for 120 affordable homes for Seniors are moving forward with preliminary planning underway while Sandy is coordinating a strategy to win our second round of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, later this year.

7. Yuken Property (Phase 3) Acquired by the City - On May 15th, the City of Orlando voted to finally purchase the Yuken Property on the south side of Orange Center Boulevard.  Click here for the Orlando Sentinel story.


COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLNESs & cradle to career education

8. The West Lakes Community School Layout - Here is a sneak peek at the preliminary plans we are working on toward the creation of Orlando's first Pre-School through 12th Grade Community School, utilizing the Planned Parenthood and OCPS properties. This combination of projects, central to our vision for education and health and wellness, is moving forward on different fronts through partnerships with Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, Orange Blossom Family Health, Boys and Girls Club, MVP Sports Clubs, HEBNI Nutrition, SunTrust Bank and others. Soon, we will have a complete report on the different dimensions of this campus and our partnerships with local schools to advance academic success for all of our schools in the neighborhood. 


9. Our School Leaders are Doing GREAT! - Last month I shared that Orange Center Elementary's grades  are back for the 2015-2016 School Year and OCE is now an A! All the credit goes to Principal, Margarete Talbert-Irving, the teachers and staff. If you've driven by recently, you might have seen this sweet thank you message to LIFT Orlando on the school's marquee.

A Special Request: If you run across Superintendent Barbara Jenkins please make a point to share how proud we are to be partnering with OCPS. A recent miscommunication made her feel like LIFT Orlando might be getting undue credit for the schools upward trajectory over the last decade. 


Elementary School Scores 2017.png

10. Legends Academy's Outstanding Scores - Here's an exciting announcement from the most recent Hope Center West update. It's regarding the progress at Legends Academy, under the leadership of Dr. Jennifer Porter-Smith and their Director of Education and Learning, DeSheila Rumph-Wallace. 

"Legends Academy 3rd grade reading scores are number one in the Hope Center West urban area. The largest leap of reading scores, from one year to the next, in Legends Academy history. Last year, Legends Academy's reading scores were placed at 10%, this year Academy scholars came in at 46%, a 36-point positive move in just one year

Legends Academy continues to demonstrate an upward trend in serving the youth of the inner city, which tend to fall 2 to 4 grade levels behind the more affluent schools. Dr. Jennifer Porter-Smith, when asked about this dramatic improvement stated, "I give the credit to the children/scholars and of course I must recognize the hard work of our third-grade Legends Academy team, led by Mrs. Wallace." It appears that Legends Academy is on the right track, grooming our young scholars, providing the next generation of community legends and leaders. Legends is enrolling for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year and the future looks very promising for this organization and the children they serve."


long-term economic viability

Mel Martinez, Chairman of the Southeast U.S. and Latin America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer discuss economic development with LIFT Orlando small business owners in the Communities of West Lakes at Oley’s Kitchen & Smokehouse on May 2nd. 

Mel Martinez, Chairman of the Southeast U.S. and Latin America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer discuss economic development with LIFT Orlando small business owners in the Communities of West Lakes at Oley’s Kitchen & Smokehouse on May 2nd. 

11. West Lakes Economic Accelerator Lab Launches -  Last month LIFT Orlando launched a new partnership with JP Morgan Chase and small business microlender Accion. The goal of the partnership is to help accelerate growth and increase capital for small businesses in the Communities of West Lakes. JPMorgan Chase provided a total of $400,000 in grants to both organizations to help expand their operations in the Communities of West Lakes and stimulate small business growth for the region. 

We have begun using these funds to meet with local business owners, understand the challenges they face in growing their businesses, and come up with solutions by providing access to capital, technical expertise and other business resources. 

This partnership initiates our efforts to begin stimulating the neighborhood economy through the growth of small businesses and the creation of local jobs. If you are interested in a more detailed summary of the proposal, click here.


12. Minority Business Contractors Start Winning Bids - Our Pendana at West Lakes development has reached a milestone in the awarding of contracts for the project. To date over 90 percent of the project is under contract with a project goal of 25 percent of contracts going to minority owned businesses. Our General Contractor, Winter Park Construction has surpassed the goal with over 45 percent of project contracts going to minority owned businesses representing an 80 percent increase in participation. 

13. Project Catalyst Jumping Hoops: Conversations for Project Catalyst continue moving forward but not without obstacles. We could you use your prayers for the entire team involved in these negotiations as we near the final stretch towards securing the letter of intent from our anchor tenant. As you can imagine, there have been tremendous complications involved in attempting to respond to every question and potentiality with the hopes of landing this great opportunity. We will keep you posted as an outcome materializes. Thank you!


thank you for your leadership, support and extraordinary commitment to making the impossible possible for generations of our neighbors to come.