A Gainesville-based philanthropic nonprofit now has a permanent home after receiving a $500,000 donation to purchase and construct a new facility.
The Community Foundation of North Central Florida is a nonprofit organization that has served local programs and donors for the last 15 years by helping to handle the administrative work involved for donors to create scholarships, funds and grants. The donation was announced Oct. 26.
The organization has worked out of office rental spaces and by “begging and borrowing” large meeting spaces since it began, said Barzella Papa, president and CEO of the Community Foundation.
The nonprofit will have a new 3,800-square-foot facility thanks to a donation from Nancy Perry, a 34-year resident of Gainesville and a member of the foundation’s board of directors. Papa said she estimates the final cost of the facility, located in the 3900 block of West Newberry Road, to be about $650,000.
“Community Foundations are about building philanthropy forever,” Papa said. “Now we will have that forever place where our committees and program advisers can meet and carry out their mission.”
Perry said it felt like a good match for her and her late husband, Charles Perry, to donate the money needed for the new facility, because the organization had never had a “good place to call home.”
“I think it feeds both ends in that it connects philanthropic-minded individuals interested in supporting and encouraging causes,” Perry said, “and identifies people and programs in need.”
Papa described her organization as an “administrative back office.” When donors come to the organization, they can create a scholarship, a nonprofit foundation or fund, or they can make a private donation. The organization takes care of all of the paperwork and necessary tax information.
The new space will allow the organization the space it needs to entertain and train those interested in building nonprofits, she said.
Papa said the Community Foundation handles $12 million in assets and gives out about $1 million in grants per year.
The most successful program has been the Women’s Giving Circle, which allows donors to pool their money to give to programs benefiting women and girls in need in Alachua County, Papa said. Since the program began eight years ago, it has generated more than $500,000 to give to local programs like the Girls Club of Alachua County, Displaced Homemaker Program, among others.
Papa said there will be extra office space in the new facility for other local nonprofits to rent or for startup nonprofits to use as an incubator space.
Construction, which is being handled by Charles Perry Partners Inc., began in August and is expected to be finished mid-November or December, said Vince Smith, superintendent for the project.
Smith said the facility will have a “modern look, with a classic setting.”
Keith Blanchard, the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County, said the Community Foundation is directly responsible for the support of its mentor center, which focuses on academic tutoring and programs for elementary, middle and high school students.
Through the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County Fund, the program was saved from being closed and it was redeveloped into a new concept with assistance from the Community Foundation, he said.
“We wouldn’t have this program without it,” Blanchard said.