ORLANDO – It was unquestionably one of the most tragic nights in Central Florida’s history.
On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed and 68 others injured in a horrific mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Central Florida community came together in an unprecedented fashion.
The DeVos Family Foundation and the Orlando Magic assisted the Central Florida community immediately following the Pulse tragedy. Within days of the horrific event, the Magic committed $100,000, and the DeVos family contributed $400,000 to the City of Orlando's One Orlando Fund, a community foundation initiative to support and distribute funds and other services to individuals who were affected by the shooting.
The onePULSE Foundation – a 501(c)(3) incorporated by Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma – was established to create a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes, and legacy scholarships that open doors.
"The extended work of what we're doing here at onePULSE Foundation is the memorial, of course, where you can always come to pay your respects," said onePULSE Foundation Founding CEO Barbara Poma. "The museum and education center is where we go to look forward and learn how to create a better society."
Now, as a result of an additional $100,000 donation from the DeVos Family Foundation as part of their 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, onePULSE Foundation will be even more equipped to fulfill its mission through Legacy Scholarships. This gift will empower more than 10 recipients to continue their education and follow their dreams—holding true to the DeVos family’s belief in people through encouragement and empowerment, the funds may be used for any field of study.
"This grant from the DeVos Family Foundation is going to help us really progress in our work in so many ways," Poma explained. "Through our education programs, through the outreach of what we do here of teaching about inclusivity, belonging, becoming a better human being, and a better society."
The gift to onePULSE is just the latest donation as part of the DeVos family's 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative. As part of the DeVos family's 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, a total of $3 million will be donated to 30 area nonprofit organizations over an 18-month period, investing in people and projects impacting youth, essential needs for families, and community enrichment across Central Florida.
The late Rich DeVos, whose family bought the Magic in 1991, was often referred to as a chief cheerleader, emanating from the compassion he had for others. That mantra is now shared by his entire family, who now continue his legacy with the same philanthropic mindset.
“That was my father. When we first got involved with the team and were able to acquire the franchise, that’s the one thing he said: ‘Don’t call us owners. We’re not owners. We’re caretakers,’” Magic Chairman Dan DeVos explained. “The real stakeholders are the community of Central Florida and the fans.”