From its inception, the foundation's grant-making was predicated on the values established by Mrs. Bush and expanded by each of its chief executives, David R. Roberts, H. Clifford Lee, and David A. Odahowski.
The projects funded by the foundation dictated the percentage guidelines which have been followed. As grants catalyzed new areas of inquiry and the role of the foundation evolved, the traditional fields of emphasis shifted proportionately. The foundation's core programs began to take on their own distinct character as shaped by the energetic interaction of the Board of Directors, officers, and staff.
A review of more than 3,144 recipients given grants totaling more than $100 million since the foundation's inception reveals that awarding grants remains the fundamental function of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. With the acknowledged paradigm shift from a purely grant-making foundation to a focus on programmatic efforts, the foundation has expanded its role in the Metro Orlando philanthropic community. Program-related efforts of the foundation represent a view of the "big picture" in charitable giving and call for increased leadership on the part of the board and officers. The direction of the grant policy of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation will continue to evolve commensurate with its position of leadership in the Central Florida philanthropic community.
The Foundation’s grant of $310,000 was put to work – literally – the day it was received! Over 80% of the funds were earmarked for the renovation of the Edyth Bush Lobby at The REP, which had to take place between the summer and fall seasons to avoid an interruption or rescheduling of performances.
A construction team was on hand at the final performance of Summer Stock, and demolition began immediately after the final patron departed. A significant portion of the renovation replaced the lobby flooring, first laid in the ‘70s, and now cracking beyond repair. The new lobby space is more accessible to patrons with disabilities, and the lobby restrooms were relocated and designed with families of small children in mind.
The support of the REP is a natural for the Foundation, given Mrs. Bush’s love of the theatre, children’s theatre in particular. The update of the building named for the Foundation’s founder enables the REP the ability to continue to enrich the lives of Central Floridians from all walks of life.
Harvest Time International received a grant of more than $95,000 from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation for establishment of a free Dental Care Center. Located in Seminole County, the clinic provides much-needed services like routine cleanings, fillings and extractions to Central Florida’s uninsured. It compliments the free Medical Care Clinic, opened in August 2011, also located at Harvest Time in Sanford.
The grant helped to construct and equip a state-of-the art facility, located at Harvest Time International facilities in Sanford. The clinic consists of three dental operatories, a lab/sterilization area and has digital x-ray capabilities. The clinic is run by a volunteer staff of dentists and hygienists.
Qualification of patients is based on their income, which must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. The clinic will assist Central Floridians who would otherwise go without dental care in a professional and comfortable environment.