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All Hands In

Our Mission

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.

Our History

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.

Eleanora McCabe
John's Island Foundation Original Board Memebers

2022 - 2023 Board of Directors

JI Foundation 2022-23 Board

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).

Board Officers

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

Board Members

John Hamill

David Harris

Molly Butler Hart

Binkley Shorts

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Past Presidents

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

John's Island Foundation Past Presidents

Sam Hayes, Dennis Longwell, Emily Sherwood, Dan Somers, Hubert (Mark) Earle, Ken Wessel

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