Community foundation unveils new facility

The Community Foundation of North Central Florida held a ribbon cutting for its new facility on Wednesday with a crowd of more than 100 business and nonprofit leaders in attendance.

The foundation is a nonprofit with the mission of promoting and facilitating philanthropy in the region. Recent donations facilitated through the program include the $1 million donation by Drs. Paul Schilling and Jay Dutton to build the new Peaceful Paths facility. Since its founding in 1998, the Foundation has awarded more than $8,439,600 in grants, and has grown to $13 million in assets.

The new facility, located behind the Florida Citizens Bank on Newberry Road, was made possible by a donation from the Perry family, of Charles Perry Partners, Inc., and is a build-out of the existing structure that added about 4,000 square feet and includes offices, a meeting space and a 700-square-foot training room. On June 1, the Foundation will be joined by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations as a co-tenant.

“We had no meeting space before,” said Foundation president/CEO Barzella Papa. “We would meet here and there, but we wanted a home of our own. We wanted to have place where our own board could meet.”

The new space will be available for smaller nonprofits to hold meetings in and Papa said that she would one day like to turn their facility into an incubator for nonprofits.

During the presentation, Nancy Perry also presented Santa Fe College’s Chuck Clemons and The Education Foundation’s Judy Boles with checks for $10,000 and $25,000, respectively, that will each be matched by state funds, effectively doubling the donations.

“I think Gainesville needed a Community Foundation building to really cement what the Foundation is and help bring people together,” Perry said. “It’s a place where people with means can create a fund or support a cause they’re interested in and a place where nonprofits can come in to find out if there’s a fund related to their cause. And it’s also a place for training, where people can find out what makes a good nonprofit and how to best fund nonprofits.”

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