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Hefty holiday-season donations take aim at ‘transformative’ change for Miami

Hefty holiday-season donations take aim at ‘transformative’ change for Miami

Two Miami stalwarts known for their philanthropy are once again stepping up with holiday-season donations of $1 million each.

Twenty local organizations focused on arts, poverty and education through sustainable programming will share a $1 million gift from real estate developer Jorge M. Perez, his wife Darlene and four children through The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation.

“We are whole-heartedly committed to helping Miami reach its full potential,” Pérez said via a statement. “We’re looking forward to working alongside a diverse group of organizations to bring about real positive change and help our community prepare for future opportunities and challenges.”

Bank of America is granting $1 million for renovation and expansion of the existing Overtown Youth Center to enable its mission of holistic programs serving children and families.

Tina Brown, executive director of the youth center, said via an email that the organization will use the money “to aid the growth and expansion of both OYC’s physical infrastructure and programmatic efforts. While OYC has served as a safe haven for close to 1,500 youth on an annual basis, OYC has truly become a transformative resource center for the community at large.”

The grant, payable over four years, will add 41,000 square feet to the existing building providing academic and enrichment programs and administrative services. Within the facility, Bank of America will also open a center dedicated to financial literacy.

“Our longstanding partnership with Overtown Youth Center has provided support to advance economic mobility, including academic and enrichment activities for the youth in the program, financial literacy education, college prep initiatives and resumé building,” said Gene Schaefer, Miami market president for Bank of America. “The expansion of OYC provides a holistic approach to eliminating barriers to success for youth, families, and Overtown residents. The Economic Empowerment Center will serve as a hub for the community and provide access to vocational training, career counseling, and more.”

The Pérez Family gift broadens the scope of its giving beyond its most recognizable donations to the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

“Art has the incredible ability to impact each and every person it comes in contact with, which led us to make it our focus for several years. However, as the city continues to grow and evolve, it’s clear there are numerous other areas and organizations which not only need, but deserve our support,” said Jorge M. Pérez via email.

“I also saw this as an opportunity to include the members of my family in the process. In fact, my four children and wife played an important role in selecting the various organizations. The 20 non-profits include causes they each felt passionately about, giving them ownership and a reason to dedicate their time and resources. By doing so, I hope to lay the groundwork for intergenerational engagement and lasting change.

“In choosing who will benefit from our most recent gift, we focused on three key measures: the immediate benefit to the Miami Community, multi-generational impact and ability to make Miami a global city. We sincerely hope this most recent gift will inspire a greater investment from others and create more diversity across nonprofits in Miami and beyond.”

The Perez Family Foundation gift will support the following endeavors:

Adrienne Arsht Center Trust: For the launch of a Miami Diaspora Commissioning fund

ArtCenter South Florida: For a Master Artist Residency pair internationally known artists with younger artists

Arts for Learning Miami: Doubling the number of paid internships it provides from 50 to 100 per year

Capital Good Fund: Expanding affordable loans to meet short- and medium-term loans for low-income residents

Children’s Movement of Florida: To sustain its model of grassroots advocacy for children

CLEO Institute: For climate change education and training

Common Threads – Miami: Expanding its teacher training program in nutrition education

Fountainhead Experience: Expanding its efforts to connect residents with the arts

GableStage: Supporting a theater-in-residence program for the Coconut Grove Playhouse

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami: To build affordable single-family homes for low-income families

KIPP Foundation: To launch its Miami program for student success in Liberty City

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind: To held expand its children’s learning center

Miami Music Project: To expand its Children’s Orchestras Program from 4 to 12 neighborhoods

Miami New Drama: For an educational touring program

Miami Waterkeeper: For advocacy and research program enhancing resiliency of Miami’s wastewater infrastructure and the water quality of Biscayne Bay

NuDeco Ensemble: Supports its growth as an orchestra melding classical and contemporary music

Plaza Health Network Foundation: For arts programs for patients with diminished cognitive skills

SEED School Miami: For the capital campaign to develop its Liberty City campus and dormitories

Together for Children: For programs to reduce youth violence

Venture Cafe Miami: To increase opportunities for entrepreneurs from low-income communities