ORLANDO - Dedication, perseverance, resilience, and grit are a big part of what drive the Orlando Magic’s community initiatives and the DeVos family’s philanthropic efforts.
Many of those inspiring stories have derived from the Magic’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County, which brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Through the Magic’s sponsorship, 12 families have moved into safe and secure Habitat homes after living in impoverished conditions.
This past October, for instance, a single mother named Donya and her three children moved from a cramped apartment to a spacious house in Orlando’s Silver Pines Pointe community. The process wasn’t easy for Donya, as she was denied twice after applying for Habitat’s homeownership program. But through her spirit, faith, hard work, and persistence, she finally got the approval, and now her family is in a far better living situation that will help them flourish in all areas of life.
Soon, two other families will experience a similar transformation, thanks to the DeVos family’s $300,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County as part of their 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative.
“This gift is really special and timely, as our community, and especially those in need, are still dealing the impact of COVID. So many people are housing insecure right now,” said Catherine McManus, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County. “The gift from the DeVos Family Foundation will house two new families, which really means that generations of people from those two families are going to be positively impacted through this very generous gift.”
Breaking the cycle of homelessness, or at least mitigating it, wouldn’t be possible without community alliances. The more focus, attention, and spotlight placed on a crisis, like housing insecurity, the greater the opportunity a community has of changing the narrative.
Both the Magic and Habitat for Humanity see eye to eye on this, and that’s opening the door, literally and figuratively, for more families to create generational wealth through home ownership.
“I like to call these strategic alliances,” McManus said. “They are strategic in that the organizations – in this case, the DeVos Family Foundation and Orlando Magic – see a need in the community and then strategically reach out. Habitat for Humanity and the Magic have a decades-long relationship, and as caretakers of the franchise, the DeVos family saw the critical housing shortage here in Central Florida and strategically aligned with Habitat to meet that need.”
The improved living conditions stretch far beyond the home construction and the furniture and appliances inside. McManus has seen how the environment change helps the children do better in school, the parents advance in their careers, and the families become more involved in their communities.
Community issues are so interconnected that it’s critical to try and tackle as many of them as possible through philanthropy and collaboration. With that in mind, McManus is optimistic that with the support from community leaders like the DeVos family, more resources will be available to those who need them throughout Central Florida.
“The DeVos Family Foundation gift truly is magical,” she said. “The DeVos family has a long history of philanthropy in Central Florida, but what really pleased me so much is the care that they took in choosing which needs in the community they were going to focus on this year. And that they chose housing is so important to us for multiple reasons.
“The donation is going to be life changing for the two families who will now have a home. But beyond that, it also shows other philanthropists in Central Florida that Habitat is a cause that will make an impact with their philanthropic dollars. We are so grateful for not only this gift, but also that the family is putting their trust in our mission.”
A total of $3 million will be donated to 30 area nonprofit organizations over the next 18 months as part of the DeVos family’s 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, which aims to invest in people and projects impacting youth, essential needs for families, and community enrichment across Central Florida.
“We can’t imagine better partners than Magic fans and the Central Florida community,” Magic Chairman Dan DeVos said. “We’re eager to come alongside nonprofits doing impactful work, providing financial support as well as an opportunity to shine a light on the great things these nonprofits do on a daily basis. It’s all to honor the great community we’re thankful to be in.”