Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Spotlight: Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

OMYF Reception

By John Denton
April 24, 2014

ORLANDO – Right there in the Orlando Magic’s mission statement, the franchise’s purpose for being in Central Florida is clear for everyone to see.

“To be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way.”

The Magic’s commitment to the Central Florida community was recently felt in the $600,000 in grants the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF), awarded this year 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 raised the total to $3.8 million awarded by the OMYF-MFF over the past four years.

To recognize and honor each one of these grant recipients this off-season, orlandomagic.com will highlight each organization the Magic has reached through grant money and volunteer hours. Today’s spotlight is on the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County.

ORGANIZATION: Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

PURPOSE IN CENTRAL FLORIDA: The Mission of the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County is to provide unified leadership, support and guidance to ensure that the children of our community have the opportunity to reap the benefits of developmentally appropriate, research-based school readiness and VPK programs, respecting the role of the parent as their child’s first teacher. All Orange County children will be fully prepared to enter school ready to learn.


QUOTE: “It’s just very exciting. This is just so wonderful what the Magic have done for us. This (grant) means wonderful things for the youngest kids in our community.’’ – Early Learning Coalition of Orange County CEO Karen Willis

Throughout its 25-year history, the Magic have done lots of winning on the court, racking up five division titles (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010), seven 50-plus win seasons and two Eastern Conference titles (1995 and 2009).

And, maybe more importantly, the Magic have been champions off the court throughout Orlando and the Central Florida community. In the last 22 years more than $18 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations via the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994, which serves at-risk youth. Additionally, Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 75,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 6,000 volunteer hours annually.

“We really do get to impact youth by helping all of the great work that all of these organizations are doing,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “There are hundreds of youth organizations throughout Central Florida who are doing great work to help at-risk youth and set them on a path for a better life. This is just a small way for us to try and help them do their work. They do all of the work, and for us to be able to distribute all of these funds and expand the number of youth that they serve or add another program, it’s incredibly meaningful to us.”

The 2014 grant recipients are: 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