Lake County charities gear up to 'double their money' during Mount Dora Community Trust's Giving Week

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Local non-profits to compete for up to $85,000 in matched dollars.

Woman plays with dog.

A LEASH, Inc. volunteer plays with a dog at the Lake County Animal Shelter. LEASH helps shelters, rescues and individuals with the cost of veterinary care.

Twenty-eight Lake County charities, ranging from very large to grassroots, have a chance to earn their share of $85,000 that the Mount Dora Community Trust will provide in matching funds.

Karen LeHeup-Smith, a volunteer with LEASH, Inc., says it happens all too often that families surrender their pets to the shelter or, worse, have the animals euthanized when veterinary bills become too much.

Lake County-based LEASH offers financial support to shelters, animal rescues and partners with other organizations to assist private individuals to help with a pet’s veterinary care.

“Since 2015, we have spent more than $140,000 to assist with veterinary care, heartworm treatment, microchipping and spay and neuter procedures in partnership with local shelters, animal rescues and for clients of our partner veterinarians. This includes a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats managed by the Lake County Animal Shelter,” said LeHeup-Smith. “We rely on donations and grants to sustain our services. While we have little overhead in our volunteer-run organization, the demand for these animal procedures keeps growing.”

LeHeup-Smith says LEASH volunteers are prepping to reach out to community donors during the Mount Dora Community Trust’s second annual Giving Week donation drive, November 30 - December 7, and potentially earn thousands of dollars in matching funds for the organization.

“Twenty-eight Lake County charities, ranging from very large to grassroots, have a chance to earn their share of $85,000 that the Mount Dora Community Trust will provide in matching funds,” said Rob English, Executive Director of the Mount Dora Community Trust. “We will offer a dollar-for-dollar match to all participants until the first $10,000 is donated. After reaching that $10,000 milestone, the organizations will compete for additional matching dollars based three winning levels.”

After the initial match, the organizations, which are divided into categories based on annual revenue, will compete for first prize which is $15,000 in matching money.

  • Second place will be eligible for matching funds up to $6,000
  • Third place will be eligible for matching funds up to $4,000

The inaugural Mount Dora Trust Giving Week held in 2020 raised nearly $121,000 for 30 charities, and nearly $48,000 were distributed in matching funds.

This year’s participating organizations by group are:

More than $2 million revenue

  • Advent Health Foundation at Waterman
  • Central Florida YMCA Golden Triangle
  • Cornerstone Hospice
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Haven of Lake and Sumter
  • Lake-Sumter State College Foundation
  • LifeStream Behavioral Center
  • UF Health at Leesburg

$100,000 to $2 million revenue

  • Easter Seals Camp Challenge
  • Forward Paths Foundation
  • Lake Cares Food Pantry
  • Lake County Sheriffs Charity
  • Mount Dora Center for the Arts
  • New Vision for Independence
  • Sonnentag Theatre at the Icehouse
  • Trout Lake Nature Center
  • We Care of Lake County

Under $100,000

  • Companions for Courage
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes – Mount Dora
  • Forward March Initiative
  • Highland Street Golf Endowment
  • Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora
  • LEASH, Inc.
  • Lions Club Foundation of Mount Dora
  • M.I.K.E. – Mental Illness and Kindness Endowment
  • Mount Dora Chamber Foundation
  • Mount Dora Lawn Bowling
  • Rotary of Lake County Golden Triangle

“We weren’t successful last year but we have a much better concept of what we need to do to get our donors engaged. I’d like to see us raise $30,000. Every penny goes right back into the program,” said LeHeup-Smith. “Mount Dora Community Trust is a great partner. They manage the Rich Critters Fund to help families who can’t afford veterinary care for their pet. LEASH and Rich Critters sometimes split the costs. I like knowing we can call on each other.”

Donations will be accepted online beginning at 9 a.m. on November 30 at Cash or checks made out to Mount Dora Community Trust, with a memo of the donor’s chosen organization, must be received by mail or dropped off at 821 North Donnelly Street, in Mount Dora by 4 p.m. December 7.

Mount Dora Trust Giving Week donations end at 4 p.m. on December 7. For more information watch this video:

About the Mount Dora Community Trust
Established in 1972, the Mount Dora Community Trust is a tax-exempt charitable organization created to provide the local community with funding for public educational, charitable, or benevolent projects and purposes. Our mission is to provide outreach programs to schools, charities, and civic causes through the generous actions and financial support of Mount Dora residents and businesses committed to promoting the community’s unity and prosperity.

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