Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Spotlight: Harbor House of Central Florida

By John Denton
June 5, 2014

ORLANDO – It’s one thing to provide shelter and assistance to those the most in need – something that Harbor House of Central Florida does well. But it’s tackling the monumental challenge of breaking the cycle of violence where the nonprofit organization actually makes the biggest difference in the lives of families throughout Central Florida.

Not only does Harbor House provide safe shelter for the victims of domestic abuse survivors, but it also offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, emotional support and legal advocacy for thousands of people each year. The hope is that by removing threatened people and their children from dangerous circumstances that it will help break a pattern of violence that is often learned behavior through personal experiences.

Harbor House of Central Florida is able to offer even more assistance following a $25,000 grant they received earlier this year from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF). Harbor House CEO Carol Wick was on hand for the grant ceremony back in the fall and she was delighted to receive the financial assistance from the Magic because of all the good that it will help her organization do over the next year.

“This is amazing because we will now be able to shelter an additional 25 families. And that really is the difference between life and death for these families because these children can grow up in a safe home and it stops the inter-generational cycle of violence,” Wick said. “Last year, we sheltered a record number of children in our shelter, almost 700, and we don’t want to ever say that we don’t have enough room or enough space. This allows us to stretch ourselves a little bit further thanks to help from the Magic.”

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.

“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.”

Here is a closer look at Harbor House of Central Florida’s mission and the Magic’s work in the Central Florida community:

2014 GRANT RECIPIENTS FROM OMYF-MFF: 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: Harbor House of Central Florida

HARBOR HOUSE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA PURPOSE: Harbor House provides safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling and emotional support, and legal advocacy for thousands of domestic violence survivors and their children each year.

2014 GRANT MONEY TO HARBOR HOUSE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: $25,000

HARBOR HOUSE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA QUOTE: “This ($25,000 grant) is amazing because we will now be able to shelter an additional 25 families. And that really is the difference between life and death for these families because these children can grow up in a safe home and it stops the inter-generational cycle of violence. Last year, we sheltered a record number of children in our shelter, almost 700, and we don’t want to ever say that we don’t have enough room or enough space. This allows us to stretch ourselves a little bit further thanks to help from the Magic.”– Harbor House CEO Carol Wick

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