Community Foundation of Broward Awards $2 Million Mary Porter Legacy Fund Grants

November 30, 2021
Representatives for YMCA of South Florida and Henderson Behavioral Health accept two $1 million grants from the Community Foundation of Broward. Shown left to right: Mark Russell, YMCA CFO; Sheryl Woods, YMCA President & CEO; Gabriel Ochoa, YMCA Vice President; Jay Anderson, YMCA Board Chair; Steven Ronik, Henderson CEO; and Katherine Koch, Henderson Board Chair.

The Community Foundation of Broward on “Giving Tuesday” awarded $2 million in new grants that will expand local mental health facilities and support the completion of a new YMCA and community center.

Henderson Behavioral Health’s new crisis stabilization center and the L.A. Lee YMCA / Mizell Community Center are the latest recipients of the Community Foundation’s Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund grants.

Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund grants support capital projects all across Broward that transform life in our community.

The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors on Tuesday approved two new $1 million Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund grants that will:

  • Support the completion of Henderson Behavioral Health’s new, state‐of‐the‐art 32,000-square-foot Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) in order to accommodate the growing number of people in our community experiencing a mental health crisis. Henderson’s growing campus in Fort Lauderdale enables more emergency walk-in service, expands the number of beds from 23 to 48 and includes a mobile crisis response unit and outpatient services.
  • Support the completion of the new L.A. Lee YMCA / Mizell Community Center in Fort Lauderdale. The new 64,500-square-foot facility will provide early childhood education programs, afterschool summer camps, teen programs including youth in government and intentional engagement with local law enforcement, 10,000 square feet for Broward College to provide certification programs that lead to jobs, careers and workforce development as well as a Black Box theatre for performing arts.
“For YMCA and Henderson, these grants will help them focus on programming and services and staffing and inspiration and not have to worry about raising money for a building,” said Community Foundation of Broward President/CEO Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D. “It was a very special day. I think it speaks to the core of what we do and what we hope to do every day and I just love that it fell on Giving Tuesday.”

Mary Porter

These grants are made possible because the endowed Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation provides a dedicated source of support for construction, renovations and other major capital projects that make life better for Broward residents.

Mary Porter wanted her philanthropy to support building efforts for crucial community programs, long after she was gone. After years of dedicated support for the community she loved, Mary left an estate gift that enabled the Community Foundation to become the only grantmaking organization in Broward with a dedicated source of support for capital projects.

Now on Mary’s behalf, the Community Foundation finds exciting projects that make the greatest community impact and carry on Mary’s name. Our expert team vets building proposals and collaborates with a special committee, that includes Board members, former Board members and community members who recommend the most impactful projects. After our Board approves a grant, our team follows up to make sure grant recipients make the best use of Mary’s support.

For this new round of Mary Porter capital grants, our team spent seven months soliciting proposals, reviewing more than $14 million in funding requests, making site visits for a firsthand look at the top contenders and ultimately settling on two that would have the kind of powerful impact Mary sought for her community.

"The applications were so compelling," Community Foundation Board Chair James Donnelly said about the Henderson Behavioral Health and YMCA of South Florida building plans. "They will literally transform and affect our community for years to come."

Other community building projects supported by the Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund include:

  • Navy League – A new Sea Cadet Training Center will provide improved facilities to help shape a brighter future for Broward’s youth.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Broward – Hardworking families are on the path to Economic Independence since moving into this new neighborhood of 77 affordably priced homes under construction in Pompano Beach. A neighborhood reading garden dedicated to Mary opened in January.
  • Arc Broward – Arc Broward’s new commercial kitchen is complete. Arc’s Culinary program – which helps people with special needs gain skills for employment – is helping launch new careers during this economic crisis and beyond.
  • Flamingo Gardens’ New Learning Center – Will host field trips, classes, art exhibitions and other community events for visitors who flock to the botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary in Davie.

“All across Broward, you can find examples of Mary’s commitment to building a better future for the community she loved,” Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson said. “We are proud to be stewards of Mary’s bold commitment to Broward, which is made stronger by the enduring power of endowment.”

Click here to see a video about the latest Mary Porter grant recipients.

Learn More

To learn how you can create a BOLD impact with an endowed charitable fund at the Community Foundation, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at or 954-761-9503.

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