Ryan DeVos, Orlando Magic's VP of Shareholder Engagement, and his wife, Michelle DeVos, present Lift Orlando with $150,000 grant to support their work in the West Lakes community.

Orlando’s West Lakes Community of Leaders Continues to Strengthen Education in Neighborhoods with Help from the DeVos Family Foundation

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO - There is a gap between the growth of the city of Orlando and the opportunities reaching its most underinvested neighborhoods.

This gap was recognized by residents, businesses, and community leaders who all saw the need to strengthen these historic areas. As a nonprofit organization and part of the Purpose Built Communities Network, Lift Orlando has engaged these groups in the region to usher in mixed-income housing, cradle-to-career education pathways, health and wellness services, and economic viability opportunities since 2013.

Importantly, the organization is committed to partnering with local schools to deliver a high performing educational pipeline, beginning with early childhood and continuing all the way to promising careers.

Now, thanks to a $150,000 donation from the DeVos Family Foundation, as part of its 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, Lift Orlando will be able to provide even more support for this cradle-to-career philosophy that is flourishing in the Communities of West Lakes. 

“Knowing your life is valuable and that others see your unlimited potential is critical to the mission of Lift Orlando and we want to communicate that in everything we do,” Lift Orlando President Eddy Moratin said. “To see the DeVos family and the Magic come alongside our most valued residents and children in a way that invests in their futures and unlimited potential is exactly our greatest hope for the role and leadership of our business community.” 

Studies have shown that a person’s ZIP code has a greater impact on their health than genetic code. With that in mind, Lift Orlando firmly believes this can be a favorable statistic for those who live in the Communities of West Lakes. 

With support from community leaders, this area has built up a lot to offer, including Central Florida’s largest Boys & Girls Clubs, an early learning center (in partnership with AdventHealth), and the brand-new Heart of West Lakes Wellness Center – representing the heart of a healthy neighborhood ecosystem designed for residents of all ages to thrive.

Over the last few years, Moratin, his staff at Lift Orlando, and community partners have helped cultivate the rapid rise in spirit, enthusiasm, and optimism among residents.

“It’s a humbling privilege to witness the residents who already call this community home and already strive to make it better become the leaders of the charge for how the community is transformed,” Moratin said. “In so many places in America, the definition of success for communities of color is to leave the community and maybe be as far from it as possible. It is incredibly gratifying to see that in West Lakes the definition of success, as our vision states, is watching a place become a neighborhood where children grow up with hope and will return with joy.”  

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. 

“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 and innovative things these nonprofits are doing on a daily basis. It’s all to honor the great community we’re thankful to be in.”