The John’s Island Foundation provides grant funding for capital needs to nonprofit agencies that serve residents in Indian River County. Agencies eligible for funding are those that serve people in need and whose programs are directed toward meeting needs or assisting with issues related to food, shelter, disabilities, health, aging, abuse or children’s education.
In 1999, a group of John’s Island members met around Ellie McCabe’s dining room table to address a need in Indian River County. While local organizations in town were funding program and service needs, nonprofit agencies had nowhere to turn for bricks and mortar and capital improvements. With the help of local attorney John Moore, the John’s Island Foundation was formed. The Foundation established by-laws that set the groundwork for the future: to raise funds from the John’s Island community to make capital grants to agencies serving those in need in Indian River County. Ellie McCabe became the Foundation’s first president, serving a three-year term from 1999-2002.
To initially fund the Foundation, 20 selected potential donors were contacted personally and asked to donate $5,000 each, and an appeal went out to the greater John’s Island community. By the end of fiscal year 2000, a total of $427,831 had been raised, and $278,270 in grants were awarded to 22 agencies. The largest grants went to Gifford Youth Activity Center (now Gifford Youth Achievement Center) for a new classroom and Habitat for Humanity for renovations to a townhouse. The John’s Island Foundation was on its way!
At a 2019 event marking our 20th Anniversary, we honored Ellie by making a special grant to support counseling and mental health assistance for children and families at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center, one of the first charities funded by the John’s Island Foundation.
Fast forward to today, and the Foundation is fortunate to have the continued support of the John’s Island community, with over 500 donors to date. Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from our community, the John’s Island Foundation has invested over $14 million in capital grants in Indian River County over these 21 years.
2022 - 2023 Board of Directors
David Harris, Binkley Shorts, Don Steiner, Theresa Kilman, John Hamill, Molly Butler Hart, Francie Cramb, Don Blair, Betsy Smith, Andy Nickle, (Jack Murphy not pictured).
Don Blair, President
Andy Nickle, Vice President
Francie Cramb, Vice President Grant Review
Theresa Kilman, Vice President Grant Review
Betsy Smith, Vice President Advancement
Jack Murphy, Secretary
Don Steiner, Treasurer
Molly Butler Hart
1999-2002: Eleonora W. McCabe
2002-2004: Samuel B. Hayes III
2004-2006: William G. Kagler
2006-2008: Dennis C. Longwell
2008-2010: By Fauver
2010-2013: Daniel E. Somers
2013-2015: Hubert P. Earle, Jr.
2015-2017: James J. Johnson
2017-2019: Kenneth L. Wessel
2019-2021: Emily Sherwood
Sam Hayes, Dennis Longwell, Emily Sherwood, Dan Somers, Hubert (Mark) Earle, Ken Wessel