FL 2030 Benchmarks

FL 2030 Trailblazer Spotlight – David Odahowski, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation

Tell us a little about the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.

The Foundation has been one of Florida’s leading philanthropic grantmakers for the past 49 years. Mr. and Mrs. Bush were one of the founding families of 3M. They wintered in Winter Park, Florida and Mrs. Bush’s foundation was established in 1973. On the strategic level, the Foundation has broad interests in human services, healthcare, education, the arts, and anything to promote philanthropy and volunteerism. Tactically, we help nonprofits be better managed, govern and lead.

We established the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College, in their Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business. Recently, Orange County Government established a $4 million partnership with the Edyth Bush Institute to assist 261 nonprofits over the next three years. Later this summer, we will complete the construction of our new 17,000 sq. ft. headquarters building in downtown Winter Park. It will provide inspiring spaces for people and their big ideas for the next 50 years.

What made Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Community Development Partnership Council, and what would you say to other Florida business leaders about the benefit and value of this partnership?

The Foundation was seeking ways to leverage up our work with nonprofits and philanthropy. Today’s nonprofits are purpose driven enterprises that need to deal with increasing regulation, a changing work environment, and the future growth and needs of Florida. Investing in the Community Development Partnership Council (CDP) allowed us to make a single annual investment that supports the research and the Solution Summits coming out of the Florida 2030 Blueprint, securing Florida’s future. All our work before we became a CDP was siloed in the nonprofit sector. The CDP Council cuts across all three sectors of government, business, and nonprofit organizations. It allows us early access to data and special briefings. The CDP Council has introduced us to important individuals responsible for activity under the Six Pillars, that we needed to know and that needed to know us.

I would tell business leaders that it is quite clear from the events of the last three years, that businesses cannot succeed in communities that are challenged or failing and have governments that are uninformed and unprepared. Unlike other states, Florida has a Blueprint for its future. That future includes prosperity and good paying jobs, vibrant and resilient communities and being globally competitive. An investment in the CDP Council gives your business, it’s employees and customers a competitive edge on the issues that impact the quality of life in Florida that we know, love, and cherish.

What are Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation’s particular goals /areas of interest as it applies to reaching the Florida 2030 Blueprint goals designed to make Florida a top 10 global economy by 2030?

As you might imagine, our primary interests are in the Civic and Governance Systems and Quality of Life and Places pillars found in the Florida 2030 Blueprint. Families in Florida are faced with the mounting challenges of employment, housing, daycare, crime, and transportation. We know, however, that a good paying job is better than any social benefit program. We also know that the housing crisis cannot be solved by volunteers building a single home on the weekends. We know that all the philanthropy in Florida cannot sustain the Florida quality of life that we enjoy and hope future generations will enjoy. So, it might surprise you that we are interested in all the Six Pillars and the synergy they have to propel us to be a top 10 global economy by 2030. Very simply put, we want Florida businesses, governments, nonprofits, and their employees to be outrageously successful, sustaining Florida’s quality of life in a globally competitive world.

Click here to learn about the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Community Development Partners who are uniting Florida businesses for good around the Florida 2030 Blueprint and powering TheFloridaScorecard.org.

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