Our Initiatives & Affiliates

Central Florida Foundation supports community initiatives of engaged and invested individuals who gather to address our region’s most pressing issues.

Social Enterprise

Our Entrepreneurs in Action (EIA) program is made up of experienced serial entrepreneurs who work together to provide expert advice on existing social enterprise and nonprofit business strategies that are ready to move to a new level. This unique circle of investors has assisted nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises and is now developing a social enterprise accelerator with local partners to make Central Florida a hub for social investment. This is the only initiative of its kind in the United States.

EIA Members

Rob Panepinto, Chair – President of Florentine Strategies

Waymon Armstrong – Co-Founder and President of Engineering & Computer Simulations, Inc.

John Caron – former President of Olive Garden

Robert Newland – Founder of Career Partners International, Florida Caribbean

Marty Rubin – President & CEO Smart City Holdings

Shawn Seipler – Executive Director and Co-Founder of Clean the World

Click here to read about EIA’s first project with Harbor House of Central Florida.

Click here to read about EIA featured in the Orlando Sentinel.


In 1996, the first scholarship fund was established at Central Florida Foundation. Today, we have awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships through 11 unique scholarship funds. These endowed scholarship funds were established by generous donors who wanted to create a lasting impact in the community by providing deserving students support toward achieving their educational and professional goals.

Impact Funds

Homeless Impact Fund

The fund brings local funders and government around the table to invest in a Housing First model to reduce chronic and family homelessness. The fund has helped to build a system for this model in our community with an initial investment of $6 million from Florida Hospital. The community has housed nearly 100 of its most vulnerable citizens. This unique impact investment fund has also attracted another $1 million for family homelessness and affordable housing initiatives at the Foundation.

Better Together Fund

Provides a way to help respond to the needs of our community after the Pulse nightclub tragedy. The fund supports four key areas:

  • Gaps in the support nonprofits are providing to survivors and families
  • LGBTQ, Latino, faith, and other affected communities
  • Underlying causes of this tragic event (not related to policy and advocacy)
  • Other needs we cannot anticipate until we face them

The fund uses strategic impact investment strategies to leverage money from state and federal funders to provide necessary support and healing resources for communities affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy.

Find out more about the Better Together Fund here.

Women in Philanthropy

Women in Philanthropy provides opportunities for women to contribute to the community through giving circles that focus on issues affecting women and children. These are Central Florida’s only opportunities for women to come together to learn about and practice strategic philanthropy.

Venture Philanthropists

100 Women Strong

Student Led Grant-Making

Students enrolled in Philanthropy in Society, a masters-level course in the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, team up with mentors from the Foundation. Students use Nonprofit Search to research local nonprofits and structure grant recommendations that they then present to the Foundation’s board of directors for approval. This one-of-a-kind education initiative gives students the opportunity to learn philanthropy from the ground up with real grant-making resources.

“The partnership between Central Florida Foundation and University of Central Florida afforded our class an invaluable service learning opportunity to firsthand experience the work of non-profit organizations and understand the grant-making process. We learned how to apply best practices and recognize investable organizations, partnerships, and social entrepreneurship opportunities,” said UCF student Jennifer Roth Miller.

Pictured are students from the Philanthropy in Society class from 2017.
Pictured are students from the Philanthropy in Society class from 2017.

Winter Park Community Foundation

The Winter Park Community Foundation committee teams up with Leadership Learners from the Leadership Winter Park Alumni Circle to research nonprofits in Winter Park using Nonprofit Search. They they make grant recommendations to the Foundation’s board of directors for approval. This initiative provides real-world leadership experience for Winter Park’s emerging leaders and important charitable capital for Winter Park nonprofits.

It’s mission is:
To build philanthropic capital dedicated to improving the community’s quality of life
To strengthen the community’s nonprofit organizations
To fund projects and programs offering new solutions to community needs

Grant-Making Services

We provide the same high quality grant-making services that we provide for our fund holders to private foundations, corporation and public sector jurisdictions. Data driven discovery, grant design and performance measurement are paired with online application processing and a facilitated review process to create a turn-key process for other funders in the region.

Lake Community Foundation

In 2005, Lake Community Foundation was established as an affiliate of Central Florida Foundation to build philanthropy in Lake County.

The Lake Community Foundation’s mission is to provide a community foundation through which philanthropists can support their favorite charities and to use its endowments for the benefit of the community.

Visit http://lakecommunityfoundation.org/index.html to learn more.

Sandi Vidal

Vice President of Community Strategies & Initiatives

Need assistance?

Contact Sandi Vidal.

Latest News & Events


Central Florida Foundation Announces Social Enterprise Accelerator to Drive Creation of New Businesses that Solve Community Issues

ORLANDO, Fla. – (June 21, 2017) –Central Florida Foundation today launched the Social Enterprise Accelerator – connecting entrepreneurs with resources, funding and mentors to help...

Avani and Neeraj Desai

“We picked the Central Florida Foundation because of its community connection. Our family will live here for the long term and we want to put roots here. We have already met wonderful people and we know Orlando is a great place to raise our family. I find it refreshing for the soul to meet people who have the same desire to do good.” - Avani Desai

Read their story  link

Why Does Philanthropy Matter in a Crisis?

When a natural disaster strikes or a tragedy hits home, it’s part of our instinct to rush in and help our community in need. We see the hurt and confusion taking over friends and neighbors in need and almost immediately funds from all corners start piling in to show compassion and to help meet immediate needs. That is the human response.

But what happens once the news trucks go home and the bright lights turn off?

That’s where the work to rebuild begins. We’re talking about the long-term repair and healing of our community. This includes things like mental health counseling for those that are living with the grim effects of trauma, increasing our cultural competency in a diverse and vibrant community, organizing and facilitating community conversations between groups that usually don’t talk to each other - all of these important pieces come together to make a community stronger than before. These pieces include long term needs that can carry on for years after the event.

Keep reading here >>

Twitter It's live! Join us in the launch of the Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator. cflsea.com. - 22 Jun - Follow us!