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April 10, 2013 | News

Celebrating 40 Years

Foundation Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

June 22, 2013 marked the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation’s 40th anniversary. The past four decades by the numbers are impressive – the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has awarded more than 3,165 grants to 790 non-profit organizations totaling more than $100 million in funding. But what those numbers don’t show is the countless ways our neighbors and fellow Central Floridians have been impacted by the Foundation’s work. That impact can’t be shown in statistics and numbers, but is best illustrated by the beneficiaries’ first-hand accounts of how their lives have changed for the better, thanks in part to the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.

Our grant recipients and community partners have been sharing with us how the foundation has impacted their organizations and the lives of those in the community – a true testament to the 40-year milestone. We’re pleased to share them, as they serve as a poignant reminder of why we do what we do. As stewards of the legacy that Mrs. Bush started in 1973, we take this occasion to look forward to the next milestone. As we move forward, we are guided by our mission: To create innovative civic solutions that help people help themselves.


“Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida is grateful to The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation and their long-standing support of our mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Thanks to a $250,000 one-for-one Challenge Match grant from the Foundation that offset remodeling costs, we opened the doors to our new administrative office building, the Syd & Marianne Levy Service Center, in downtown Orlando. The Foundation has helped give us a place to collaborate and allow us to better serve Central Florida youth.”

Gary Cain, president & CPO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida


“The past five years have been very busy and successful, and we have many grateful clients that are appreciative for the help we provided.  We have the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to thank for investing in our agency to expand our reach into the Sanford community and allowing us to serve those in need.  With deep gratitude and our unwavering respect, we wish you many more years of continued success as you continue to invest resources in our community to provide hope and improve the quality of life for the people of Central Florida.”

Valerie Fosburgh, The Christian Sharing Center, Inc.


“The American Heart Association is extremely grateful to the The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation for being chosen as the recipient of a $25,000 grant for its Go Red For Women campaign and the sponsorship of a research salon at the UCF College of Medicine, helping with its mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Thank you.”

Meagan Mills - Communications Director, American Heart Association


Elevate Orlando, an organization dedicated to providing solutions for at risk youth to graduate and succeed in their future, was awarded a grant in its first year of existence, 2009. “With the support & generosity of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Elevate Orlando was able to begin fulfilling its mission to reach urban youth in Central Florida,” says Elevate Orlando President Jack McGill. “We now touch over 530 students on a weekly basis and are seeing lives changed, as well as bright futures realized. Congratulations to all at Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.”


The Foundation stands by its mission to serve the people of Central Florida by assisting the organizations that help better the community. A patient at Grace Medical Home, a 2010 grant recipient, says “my family describes Grace as a shining start of home for people, like us, without insurance. God bless the donors and all the people involved in making this place a reality.”

Grace Medical Home’s Executive Director Stephanie Nelson Garris states that the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation “was among our earliest supporters at Grace Medical Home and gave us immediate credibility in our community.  We are honored to receive their support and appreciate the amazing work they have done in Central Florida to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors in need.”


“Junior Achievement of Central Florida’s ability to reach nearly 1.7 million young people with our learning experiences over the past 52 years has occurred in no small part due to the generosity of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. Highlights of the Foundation’s impact on JA include funding our expansion and subsequent growth in Lake County, the leadership transition and related training when I assumed the current role of president, and a technology infrastructure grant that has transformed our ability to leverage the latest technology with our Development and Volunteer Recruitment efforts. On behalf of Junior Achievement, congratulations and thanks to the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation for all that it does for our community!”

Craig E. Polejes - President, Junior Achievement of Central Florida


“We are able to provide food, shelter, and care for over 300 guests every day. Homeless men and women are able to get the education they need to build a future for themselves and their families. And by providing support for training our Development staff to excel in cultivating community involvement and support, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has given Orlando Union Rescue Mission the tools needed to continue to make an impact on the hurting and hungry in Central Florida. Thank you for lifting up your voice on behalf of those who have been abandoned and broken by hardship! We are honored to partner with you to bring hope, healing and independence to those in need.”

Amanda Fewless - Director of Development, Orlando Union Rescue Mission


New Beginnings of Lake County began with wise counseling and seed money to help launch our visions empowering people to live a responsible life. Over the past five years the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has provided information for program and board development, sustainability, additional funding and most importantly, encouragement. We are very grateful for the huge impact the Foundation has made in Central Florida over the past 40 years. Without the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation’s support, New Beginnings would not be the strong and vibrant agency that it is today.”

Steve Smith - President, New Beginnings 


Our first foray into resource development was very challenging but the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation was there to guide and support us. Their insights into preparing our board coupled with a challenge grant gave us the momentum we needed to launch our first gala. Building on a successful first year, we are headed into our third year with growing community support. They remain available to us when we have questions or just need a different perceptive. We are so grateful for the support and friendship. Thank you, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation!”

Karen Willis - Chief Executive Officer, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County


“When the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation supports your organization, you receive so much more than financial assistance! We are continually connected to philanthropic events in the community, professional development opportunities, and a number of media and public mentions through our relationship with the Foundation. The staff members are true champions of nonprofit efforts in Central Florida and we see them at a number of events, including ours! This year, the Foundation has sponsored our 10th Birthday Season – a cause to celebrate, 10 years of new youth theatre history on an 80-year legacy of theatre in our community! If it weren’t for the Foundation and its staff’s efforts, the Orlando Repertory Theatre would not nearly be as successful as it is today. We are truly honored to list the Foundation among not just our supporters, but our family.”

Gene Columbus - Executive Director, Orlando Repertory Theatre 


We’ll periodically update this article with additional messages from grantees, so be sure to check back soon!