Florida Citrus Sports (FCS) was established to benefit children in Central Florida and it has utilized its sporting and entertainment events, which take place at the Citrus Bowl, to do just that. Large-scale sporting venues do not typically bring prosperity to the communities in which they reside, but FCS wants to break from the norm. When they decided that they wanted to use the redevelopment of the stadium to benefit the neighborhoods around the stadium, they asked Polis to help. Earlier in 2014, we helped reorient their long-standing summer camp so that nearly all of its campers were from the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the stadium-which was no small feat. We trained and employed people from the neighborhood to knock on every door and invite every child to the camp. The result: the camp went from less than 5% neighborhood kids in 2013 to over 95%, in the course of just one year. And that was just the beginning, as FCS and Polis continue to invest in long-term relationships with the families who live near the stadium.
Northland Church has been a leader in serving the community for many years. The leadership is now guiding its flock towards a new paradigm of service through a campaign they are calling “Serving to Empower.” We began coaching their leadership team and providing key trainings to facilitate the transition into the campaign, along with the metrics to evaluate its impact. To date, we have trained 130 parishioners in the Dignity Serves course and brought on 14 new, certified Dignity Serves facilitators.
Bags, Inc. is a fast growing hospitality services company based in Orlando. They are also a very generous company in terms of charitable gifts and even direct their staff to involve themselves in charitable work. In early 2014, when they realized that their largely entry-level workforce consisted of some of the same people who may be in need of social support, they sought Polis’ help to learn how they could better serve their employees.
We conducted random surveys and focus groups in order to provide the most helpful recommendations. The yielded results that showed the company had three issues they needed to address: 1) one related to basic human needs, which required immediate intervention; 2) one related to the stability of home life, healthcare, and transportation; and 3) one related to personal development such as employment status, education, and language proficiency. Over-all, our recommendations led to corporate actions to face these challenges head on.