Orange Park Furniture donated $56,500 to Clay County Habitat for Humanity to build a new home for a partner family member. From left are Elmer (E.J.) James, owner of Orange Park Furniture; Carolyn Edwards, executive director of Clay County Habitat fo...

Nonprofit news: Ability Housing receives $500,000 grant to renovate apartments near Orlando

Jan. 4, 2017

Jacksonville-based Ability Housing received a $500,000 grant from the Homeless Impact Fund at the Central Florida Foundation.

The grant will provide capital for the renovation of the Wayne Densch Center apartments in Eatonville, near Orlando.

The nonprofit has been contracted by Florida Hospital, owner of the Wayne Densch Center, to oversee a $4.8 million renovation that will increase the number of apartments from 64 to 77 and improve the buildings, including new roofs and modernized kitchens.

Construction is expected to begin within four months, with projected completion in 2018.

Ability Housing strengthens communities by creating quality housing that ends homelessness for hundreds of single people, families and people with a disability; linking that housing with services so residents have a network of support; and maintaining safe, stable residences that improve the quality of neighborhoods.

For more information, visit, like the organization on Facebook ( and follow Ability Housing on Twitter (@AbilityHousing).

Weyerhaeuser awards $5,000 in local grants

The Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and St. Johns County Education Foundation were awarded grants by Weyerhaeuser Foundation’s Giving Fund, which has invested millions of dollars in communities across the country.

The Girl Scouts’ $2,000 grant will help fund Community Development Girl Scout Troops, which offer programs to girls living in low-income areas.

The troops encourage girls to take responsibility for designing and implementing activities that introduce them to new concepts and improve their skill sets.

Program topics include leadership, relationships and career exploration.

The grant will help cover costs such as books, supplies, snacks and membership fees, and allow each girl to attend day camp this summer.

St. Johns County Education Foundation’s $3,000 grant will support the Five Learning Years program — an initiative to ensure students enrolling in kindergarten are academically, socially, emotionally and physically ready to learn.

The program aims to improve the well-being and readiness for school for St. Johns County children from prenatal development to five years.

Areas of emphasis are health care support, parent education and childhood education.

Established in 1948, Weyerhaeuser has awarded more than $228 million in grants through its Giving Fund.

The fund annually distributes grants to support environmental stewardship, affordable housing, education, youth development and civic and cultural growth.

Visit to download an application and learn more about the Giving Fund.

Developers donate property to land trust

North Florida Land Trust has added 7.72 acres to its portfolio thanks to a donation from Gary and Laine Silverfield and Christie Atkerson, longtime partners in the real estate development business.

The donated parcel is known as The Grove and is located on the southwest corner of Mickler’s Landing and Florida A1A along the Guana River.

The land was among 112,346 acres in the trust’s seven-county focus area that are deemed in critical need of preservation.

The parcel is between the McGarvey-Goelz Preserve, which the nonprofit has owned since 2004, and Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve.

The area is marsh habitat for wildlife including roseate spoonbills, tricolored herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, white ibis, clapper rails and others.

In early December, the organization received a donation of land on Big Talbot Island from Charles Chupp, a local real estate investor and developer.

The trust also bought property in St. Johns County from Fletcher Davis Management Group when the developer offered the land for sale after hearing it was in the preservation portfolio.

For more information, visit