OMYF Spotlight: Junior Achievement of Central Florida

By John Denton
May 17, 2017

ORLANDO – Over the past 27 years, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) has awarded $22 million in grant money to help those most in need throughout Central Florida.

Back in February, OMYF presented 17 local nonprofit organizations with grants totaling $1 million. It is the ninth time in recent years that the OMYF has granted at least $1 million to assist local organizations in helping those most in need in the Orlando area.

That work off the court has helped the Magic make a sizeable difference in the Central Florida community – a goal of legendary owner Rich DeVos upon buying the franchise back in 1991.

The Magic take great pride in being leaders in the community and making a positive difference with issues such as hunger, homelessness, youth education and childhood obesity. That commitment is felt through the team’s actions and efforts in Central Florida. Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative (Magic Volunteer Program – MVP) provides more than 7,000 volunteer hours annually.

“In our 27 years, we’ve impacted more than two million children with the work that these organizations are doing with the different programs that they have conducted or enacted through OMYF funding,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “There are so many great organizations that are doing such great work and over the course of 27 years we’ve contributed, through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, to more than 500 local organizations. We need them to prepare our youth for a better future.’’

2017 OMYF grant recipients: Adult Literacy League ($40,000); Aspire Health Partners - Zebra Coalition ($100,000); Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida ($75,000); Central Florida YMCA ($75,000); Christian Service Center ($20,000); Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($50,000); Early Learning Coalition of Orange County ($65,000); ELEVATE Orlando ($60,000); Foundation for Foster Children ($60,000); Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida ($50,000); Hope CommUnity Center ($55,000); IMPOWER ($50,000); Junior Achievement of Central Florida ($100,000); The Nemours Foundation ($50,000); Orlando Science Center ($50,000); University of Central Florida Foundation ($50,000); Valencia College Foundation ($50,000).

Throughout the NBA’s offseason, will highlight one OMYF grant recipient each week. Without further ado, here is a closer look at one of the organizations making a major difference in the Central Florida community.

OMYF GRANT RECIPIENT: Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Florida


GRANT WILL FUND: OMYF funding would focus on two key transitional areas for students through the Freshman Success Program and the College Readiness Initiative at the JA Academy. The bridge from eighth to ninth grade and again into college creates a life-changing educational experience for the students of the JA Academy.

MISSION STATEMENT: Junior Achievement of Central Florida empowers young people to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement programs make a connection between lessons learned in the classroom and real-world applications through relevant, interactive programming.

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF CENTRAL FLORIDA QUOTE: “I just want to say thanks to the Orlando Magic,’’ Junior Achievement President Kathy Panter said. “We wouldn’t be able to reach as many Central Florida youth as we do without the help of the Magic. They’re wonderful.”

MAGIC QUOTE: “Our mission is to be champions on and off the court, and this is the off-the-court part where we have the ability to give back to our community and provide hope for the youth of Central Florida,’’ Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “It’s really gratifying to us. We don’t do it because we have to; we do it because it’s part of our mission and part of who we are. And it’s really gratifying to see the great work that these organizations are doing throughout the community.’’

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.