Sea Cadets Break Ground On State-of-the-Art Training Facility

Mary Porter’s Legacy At Work

March 2, 2021
Architectural rendering of the new Mary N. Porter Sea Cadet Training Center in Fort Lauderdale, expected to be completed by Fall 2021.

Wedged among the warehouses between State Road 84 and Fort Lauderdale’s airport is a small gray building that looks like it’s seen better days. From the outside you’d never know it’s home to one of the nation’s best youth leadership development programs, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets.

When there isn’t a pandemic, the place on the weekends is usually bursting at the seams, with nearly 100 Sea Cadets of Fort Lauderdale’s Spruance Division taking part in marching drills, STEM education programs and training side-by-side with active duty military personnel.

Community Foundation representatives Kirk Englehardt (third from left) and Amanda Kah (second from left) join members of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Lauderdale and Spruance Division Sea Cadets to break ground on the new Mary N. Porter Sea Cadet Training Center.

Now, thanks to the Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward the cadets will soon have a home they deserve. They recently broke ground on a much-needed renovation and expansion that will bring the building up to code, double their space and provide a state-of-the-art training facility.

Work on the new Mary N. Porter Sea Cadet Training Center is expected to be completed by Fall 2021.  

Retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Alan Starr has been at the helm of the Spruance Division for more than 25 years. He’s seen how the Sea Cadet program changes lives.

“We teach them to show respect, do the right thing and help them develop the tools they’ll need to be successful in life,” Starr said. “We want them to always work to create positive change, and we also want them to have fun along the way.”

Because of Mary’s BOLD local philanthropy, the Sea Cadet program will be able to create positive change for generations to come.

Mary N. Porter

Mary 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. And to encourage more philanthropy in her community, Mary’s gift is a challenge Fund. That means grants from her Fund have to be matched by other fundraising by the organizations her Fund supports.

The Sea Cadets were awarded a $150,000 grant from Mary’s Fund to jump-start the project. They have also received support by the Kiwanis Club of Fort Lauderdale Charitable Fund and the Scott Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward.

In addition to the Sea Cadets, other projects supported by the Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund include:

  • 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.

The Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund is one of several charitable Funds Mary created at the Community Foundation to shape a brighter future for Broward. We are proud to be the stewards of Mary’s bold commitment to her community, which will never end thanks to the power of endowment.

Learn More

To learn how you can support the Sea Cadets as well as other opportunities to make a BOLD impact for your community, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at or 954-761-9503.

Foundation in the News

More News




Saving Scarlett
August 31, 2018
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.