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Abilities Foundation Newsletter

May 2014 



Warrior Bridge   




The Foundation applied for a $12,500 grant from The Home Depot Foundation to renovate the property at 3228-49th Street North, St. Petersburg, the new home of the Warrior Bridge ABILHouse for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Home For Independence acquired the property from the City of St. Petersburg with a Community Development Block Grant and Community Contributions Tax-incentive funding from Raymond James. Improvements will include a new stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer, hot-water heater, ceiling fans, wheelchair ramps, interior paint, raised garden beds, concrete deck, landscaping, and delivery. If approved, Home Depot will provide building materials and 50 volunteers from 11 district stores at no cost to ServiceSource.

Veterans Tribute Garden Pavilion Nears Completion

Thanks to grants and scores of volunteers from GE Aviation and Home Depot and the pro-bono services of Class-A general contractor Joe Mobley, architects Bruce Houghton and Jim Melhtretter, professional engineer Jon Gotwald, landscape contractor Peter Drouin, and roofing contractor Bill Duchess and Pinnacle Services volunteers, the 26-foot square pavilion for the Veterans Tribute Garden will be finished shortly.

Foundation Honored at Lightning Stanley Cup Playoff Game

Scott Owens and Frank DeLucia of the Abilities Foundation joined Barry and Lori Torman of Casey's Cookies and representatives of 14 other winners of the $50,000 Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award as guests of the Lightning Foundation and Jabil in the Community Suite for the second game of the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL Stanley Cup playoff series. Many thanks to the Lightning and Jabil for a terrific evening and the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of nonprofit organizations serving Floridians with special needs!

Philanthropy Through Life Insurance  

A great tax-wise method of support of the Foundation is a gift of life insurance, which may be an option for people who no longer need the financial protection of an existing policy. Assigning a life insurance policy to or designating the Abilities Foundation as charitable beneficiary is an easy way to make a substantial gift without reducing current assets. Also, you may qualify for an immediate income-tax deduction. For information, consult your tax advisor or call 727-600-8900 and seek the guidance of professionals on the Foundation's Planned Giving Advisory Council.

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25th Abilities Wine Tasting May 24th
Buy Tickets Now!     

Publicity surroundin
g the quarter-century anniversary of the Abilities Wine Tasting presented by Raymond James started in earnest this weekend, with the first of four display ads in the Tampa Bay Times, scores of CW44-TV 30-sec PSAs, daily WDUV 105.5 FM The Dove radio promos from Ann Kelly (shown below), weekly WTAN-Talk Dining Out Radio interviews, live cooking demos on Studio 10, and prime-time airings of Bright House Networks and BayNews9 30-sec PSAs narrated by evening news anchor Veronica Cintron (shown above). That's right, 24 years and $3,630,000 later, we're poised to celebrate an unparalleled achievement made possible by hundreds of storied vintners, acclaimed chefs, community leaders, and inveterate oenophiles and foodistas who helped us raise awareness and millions through stellar wine and food events. Here's your chance to taste some of the finest this area has to offer AND support veterans transitioning into civilian life. But don't tarry, as the ticket discount ends May 16th. Click here to buy 7-9 pm Grand Tasting and here to buy 6-9 pm VIP Reception tickets or call 727-600-8911.

Firefighters Welcome Home David White


With a grant from The Home Depot Foundation, the Foundation teamed with the Polk County Firefighters Benevolent Fund and South Lakeland Home Depot to renovate the home of David White, a Lakeland high-school senior who was paralyzed in a  trampoline accident. With in-kind contributions from local suppliers and Home Depot funding, Benevolent Fund president Jay Schwartz (shown here with Home Depot assistant store manager Karla Chancey) and fellow firefighters converted the garage into a wheelchair-accessible bedroom and roll-in shower during their days off over the span of a month. "I can't say enough how much I appreciate all of your help and support with this project," said Jay. "We were told by many that we could not get this done by the time David came home, but when we walked away from the house at 11:45 pm Friday May 2nd, we knew we had succeeded at what we set out to do, as failure was not an option." Click here to view a project video produced by Polk Government Television.

Guild Enjoys Banner Year, Elects New Officers

Through donations, fundraisers, and grants obtained by the Abilities Foundation, Guild members were credited with amassing $75,000 in support of the Veterans Mall. In addition, they donated $15,000 to the Foundation at their Installation Luncheon, where the following members were elected as officers for the new year: Gloria Hollingsworth, president; Deb Jordan and Joni Cleary, first vice presidents and program chairs; Jackie Ceren, second vice president and membership chair; Carol Cummings, recording secretary; Anne Lauder, treasurer; Phyllis Schene, assistant treasurer; Carol Williams, corresponding secretary and; Virginia Meyer, director of the Abilities Guild Veterans Mall. We commend outgoing Guild president Sonja Mettee and Guild members for an phenomenal year, and thank Gloria for once again accepting the Guild's primary leadership role!  
Santa Dollars Sales Net Foundation $19,277

Publix Super Markets executives Brian West, Tim Manning, and Allyn Welch visited ServiceSource to present the Abilities Foundation with a check for $19,277, which represents net proceeds from the sale of Santa Dollars at 270 area Publix Stores. This brings Publix's most recent 10-year support of our mission to $259,000. On hand to accept the proceeds check were Foundation president and CEO Frank DeLucia, community relations manager Lisa Johnson, and Warrior Bridge job placement specialist Mike Dunlap. Publix founder George Jenkins was also a founding father of Abilities whose beneficence dates back to the late 1950s. To this day, Mr. Jenkins ranks among the most prolific individual and corporate donors in our 55-year history.  

Home Depot Funds Crestview Renovation
The Foundation was awarded $10,000 by The Home Depot Foundation to fund a Team Depot district project for the total renovation of two apartment units for veterans housing at Homes For Independence's Crestview Villas in Cocoa, Florida. The make-over will include new kitchen cabinets, sinks, fixtures, stoves, refrigerators, and appliances; hot-water heaters; bathroom tubs, vanities/tops, sinks, tile, grab bars, and fixtures; and Allure flooring, paint, landscaping, and delivery. Home Depot will provide building materials and 30 volunteers to perform the labor. Many thanks to HFI's Lori Sandonato and Home Depot's Frank Essex, Natalie Glywasky, and Maria Endres for assisting with the quote and application.