Members of the DeVos family present United Against Poverty Orlando with $45,000 gift as part of the 30 Grants for 30 Years initiative. From left to right: Dalton DeVos, Ryan DeVos, Cole DeVos, Jordan Richtsmeier, Blake Shue, Hannah Shue, Peter Stewart, Michelle DeVos, Rick DeVos and Melissa DeVos.

Latest DeVos Family Foundation Grant Helps Fight Against Poverty in Central Florida

Dan Savage
Director of Digital News

ORLANDO – In times of financial crisis, one of the most challenging obstacles is finding where to turn for guidance and assistance.

Since 2009, United Against Poverty Orlando (UP) has been on hand to fill that role and offer aid for neighbors in need in Central Florida.

It’s UP Orlando’s mission to serve those in poverty by providing crisis care, case management, transformative education, food and household subsidy, employment training and placement, personal empowerment training, and active referrals to other collaborative social service providers.

“Our purpose is to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency,” said United Against Poverty CEO Gwendolyn Butson. “We offer a hand up, not a handout.”

Serving nearly 9,000 households across Central Florida, UP Orlando focuses on teaching empowerment rather than entitlement. It aims to achieve this goal through its four key programs.

First is their Member Share Grocery Program (MSGP), which is a dignified food and household assistance program where income-qualified members can personally select the food, hygiene, and household items that fit their family’s needs, while saving up to 70 percent of their household food and product budget. UP Orlando's MSGP helped families retain over $4 million in 2020 alone.

UP’s Crisis Stabilization Program (CSP) partners with those in crisis situations to gain the skills, resources, and coaching needed to stabilize their life and work toward a permanent higher ground. In 2020, the CSP helped a total of 12,767 times with crisis stabilization services to families in need.

In lockstep with the belief of offering a hand up and not a handout, UP Orlando's Success Training Employment Program, along with their Education Program, helps participants overcome employment barriers while strengthening their skillsets with courses that focus on adult literacy, parenting, budgeting, nutrition, computer skills and more.

“Poverty is not a one size fits all,” Butson continued. “United Against Poverty’s mission is to end poverty one family at a time.”

Now, as a result of a $45,000 donation from the DeVos Family Foundation through its 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, UP Orlando will be able to sustain and expand their four-program offering for families throughout Central Florida.

“To the DeVos Family Foundation, we just want to say, ‘thank you,’” said Butson. “Thank you for your commitment and your dedication to our community. And thank you for investing in our organization and helping us fulfil our purpose and our mission of living lives out of poverty right here in Central Florida. From all of us here at United Against Poverty, thank you for this outstanding gift.”

This donation is just the latest contribution from the DeVos Family Foundation. 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 18 months, investing in people and projects impacting youth, essential needs for families, and community enrichment across Central Florida.

"Much like United Against Poverty of Orlando – as caretakers of the Magic, it is our intent to act as a liaison between this organization, the fans – who are the real stakeholders in the team – and our community," said Orlando Magic Chairman Dan DeVos. “There are tremendous things happening in the Orlando community every day, and we wanted to mark this 30-year milestone by coming alongside and recognizing nonprofits who are doing impactful work. They are the true leaders in Central Florida."