Friends Finances for 2019 Fiscal Year Oct. 2018 - Sept. 2019
The Friends support the Refuge in a variety of ways. Ongoing annual commitments include co-sponsoring Everglades Day, contributing to the Exhibit Maintenance Fund, providing Internet service for resident volunteers and interns, and spreading the word about the Refuge through the Friends website, Facebook, email newsletter, Gator Tales newsletter, annual calendar and promotional brochures. Our art and photo contests and photo workshops also help bring us new Refuge Friends and advocates. And we have continued to support our self-guided smart phone and cell phone tours on the trails of the Refuge.
In 2019 the Friends bought a bigger and better tram for the Refuge to use for our popular tram tours. Also in 2019, thanks primarily to a generous $2,500 donation from the members of the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group, the Friends installed a water bottle re-filling station in the Visitor Center, saving numerous disposable plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills.
In the spring of 2019 the Friends donated $7,000 to the Palm Beach County School District to bring students out on field trips to the Refuge, where they can learn about and experience the Everglades first hand. The Refuge is a favorite destination for teachers and students alike, but transportation money for field trips runs out early in the school year, so many students never get the chance. This was the fourth year in a row that the Friends were able to make a donation to the school district. The donations for the 2018 - 2019 school year were made possible by a $10,000 grant from The Jim Moran Foundation, in addition to funds raised by members of the Friends.
Since 2018 the Friends have been providing funding for an Education Outreach specialist to help Refuge staff with visiting school groups and to work with schools and other community service providers to bring a bit of nature into the everyday lives of some of our urban neighbors. This is one of the goals of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Urban Outreach program. Another way the Friends support this program is through working with Community Greening and other groups to create "pocket" wildlife refuges in urban settings. One such pocket refuge is slated to be built in March, 2020, in partnership with the Parkland Parks and Recreation Department, thanks to a generous $2,500 donation provided last summer by a couple who lives in Parkland.
The Friends have traditionally been all volunteers; until hiring our Education Outreach Associate we have had no paid employees. In 2018, we were fortunate to have received grants from the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County and the National Wildlife Refuge Association to help with funding for this position. In 2019, grants from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation and the Children's Services Council helped us with funding for Everglades Day 2019. And for the first time ever, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company awarded us a certificate for a ride for two on the Goodyear Blimp that brought in more funding from the lucky winning bidder. Otherwise, all of our income comes from store profits, donations and Friends like you. Please consider a gift to the Friends today! Donate