Look Who’s Turning 20!

photo of Ellie McCabe

John’s Island Foundation founder and first president, Ellie McCabe

The John’s Island Foundation is fast approaching its 20th anniversary this May! Founded in 1999 by John’s Island residents Ellie McCabe, Don Macrae, and Jay McNamara, the Foundation was created specifically to make grants to fund the capital needs of local nonprofits, “which nobody was doing back then,” reflected Ellie McCabe, who stepped up to become the organization’s first President that year. The fledgling JI Foundation proved so successful that it was able to provide first-year grants in the amount of $278,270 to meet the bricks and mortar needs of 22 local agencies serving the economically disadvantaged! Two decades later, the Foundation is justifiably proud of its well-established role in supporting the capital needs of local agencies, a niche that seamlessly complements the work of the United Way and JI Community Service League, both of which fund operating and program expenses. We are enduringly grateful to the efforts of our many volunteers over the years who have served on our site review teams, rigorously evaluating all agencies who apply for grants, and to the outpouring of generosity from our John’s Island donors, who understand the importance of our work and respond so philanthropically.

“The growth and success of the John’s Island Foundation have exceeded all my expectations!”
– Ellie McCabe

Look At Us Now (based on 2017-2018 end-of-year data)
$10,572,161 – total grant allocations
505 – donors


Spotlight on Crossover Mission

Left to Right – Ken Wessel, Antoine Jennings, Cathy De Schouwer

Borne of a partnership between Gifford native and former gang member Antoine Jennings and MBA import-export entrepreneur Cathy De Schouwer, Crossover Mission reaches across cultural boundaries to offer at-risk youth one-to-one academic mentoring, academic support, and basketball training, redirecting them on a path toward successful adulthood. Since the John’s Island Foundation first provided grant support to the newly formed Crossover Mission in 2014, we have donated an array of capital equipment and resources to help this unique nonprofit to grow and thrive, from vans to transport students to computers and laptops to facilitate their learning. Today, Crossover Mission is justifiably proud of its track record in instilling the foundations of literacy, discipline, teamwork and confidence in its vulnerable client population… and the John’s Island Foundation is equally proud to help Crossover create a vision of excellence for young people in our county who need it most. We could not provide this support without the outpouring of generosity from our many charitable donors, and we offer our deepest thanks to each and every one of you!

Read More

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

As we enter the holiday season, all of us here at the John’s Island Foundation want to express our deepest gratitude to our many generous donors who so selflessly support the needy within Indian River County! Over 630 individuals and families in John’s Island continue to believe in our targeted mission of funding the long-term capital needs of local nonprofit agencies. Your support literally changes lives!

In 2017-18, we provided grants to 19 agencies that support basic human needs such as education, food, shelter, health care and assistance with disabilities.

Read More

We could not do this without you!

The John’s Island Foundation welcomes everyone back for another exciting season! Thanks to the spirit and generosity of our community, we are changing the lives of our neighbors in Indian River County by directly funding the long-term capital needs of local nonprofit agencies. With tremendous gratitude for the overwhelming support of John’s Island residents, we awarded $608,619 in grant monies to 19 agencies last year. Our capital grants funded a mobile classroom for a pre-k class, new flooring and building renovations for a homeless soup kitchen, low-income senior housing, and much more. Since our inception in 1999, the Foundation has contributed $10.5 million to the community!

Read More

Pleased to Support St. Francis Manor

Site Review Team, evaluating St. Francis Manor

JI member Dennis Longwell has proved that you can go home again. Formerly a board member of the JI Foundation where he served as Grant Review Chair and ultimately President from 2006-2008, Dennis has recently returned as a Site Review Team Captain, evaluating Striving for Success (providing laptops for a Gifford Middle School after school program) and St. Francis Manor (offering affordable, efficiency apartments for low-income seniors who are able to live independently). The St. Francis grant will help the center to build 18 new housing units, so critically needed because “the availability of such housing in our county is very limited, with long waiting lists before openings actually occur,” according to Dennis.

“We are so pleased to support St. Francis Manor, as it provides a pleasant setting and congenial social environment for financially needy older folks who might otherwise be living in their cars or in sub-par living accommodations.” Dennis Longwell  Read More

Generous Donors Filled the Ballroom

Thank you to our many generous donors who filled the John’s Island Golf Club ballroom on January 29th for our annual JI Foundation donor reception! As over 300 guests enjoyed cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres, Foundation President Ken Wessel explained the vital role the Foundation plays in supporting the capital needs of Indian River County agencies serving the disadvantaged. Guests also viewed an inspirational video about the Foundation’s support of the Wabasso School which is meeting the needs of special education students who are learning to live independently.

click here to see more photos

“We’re very proud as a Foundation to support the Wabasso School. It’s a place where you’re able to see the students transitioning into the world and it’s gratifying to know that we played a small part in this effort!” Ken Wessel, JI Foundation President

Our site review teams are wrapping up visits to 23 agencies who have made grant applications of almost $800,000 to the Foundation. Site team captain Dennis Longwell reported on a recent trip to St. Francis Manor, which seeks funding to complete an 18-room expansion that will offer modern, safe and secure housing for low-income seniors who are primarily dependent on Social Security income. Longwell observed, “The availability of such housing in our county is very limited with long waiting lists before openings actually occur.”  Read More

Our donors are an essential part of the JI Village!

It takes a village to provide caring philanthropy to meet the capital needs of agencies serving the disadvantaged in Indian River County. This year, the John’s Island Foundation is blessed to have a village comprised of nine site captains and 35 team members. These teams are currently visiting 23 local, nonprofit agencies to review grant requests totaling almost $800,000.

Back left to right: Angelia Perry, Cayla Atkins, Delvin Cotton, Jasmine Davis, Julie Parker, Lisa Holmes

Julie Parker, a member of the JI community since 2008, wasted no time putting her business background to work. A site review team member since 2010, she has captained teams since 2012 while also serving as a Foundation board member. This year she and her team will evaluate grant applications from Feed the Lambs, which needs laptops for its tutoring program; Salvation Army, which seeks to purchase a new cooler and freezer; and Gifford Youth Achievement Center, which requires new hurricane-proof windows.

“One of my biggest rewards on the site visits is meeting so many heroic community leaders who are making sure on a daily basis that kids and families don’t fall through the cracks,” said Julie. “John’s Island is a beautiful place to live, but it has been both eye-opening and heartwarming for me visit these inspirational agencies that are helping the many less fortunate people in our county.”

Julie’s advice to others who are seeking to make a difference in the community? “You will be moved by the human experience…and you will get hooked like I did!” Read More