Tampa Bay Grantmakers Examine Proven Solutions for Ending Homelessness in the Region

A University of Tampa study has documented striking cost savings from using a Housing First model to end homelessness in the Tampa Bay region. The study’s results were shared at a recent meeting of Florida Philanthropic Network’s Tampa Bay Funders Forum, which brings together philanthropic organizations from across the Tampa Bay region.

A Housing First model centers on providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible, and offering them the supportive services and connections to the community they need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness. The Housing First model was implemented at a site in Tampa called Cypress Landing, which opened in early 2013 with support from Hillsborough County and Gracepoint Wellness and funding from the federal government.

A recent gathering of FPN’s Tampa Bay Funders Forum highlighted collective efforts to end homelessness in Florida, with presenters (L-R) Central Florida Foundation President and CEO Mark Brewer; Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) Board Member Mark Merrill; FPN President and CEO David Biemesderfer; Clark Family Fund President Joe Clark; and THHI Board Member Guy King III.

A recent gathering of FPN’s Tampa Bay Funders Forum highlighted collective efforts to end homelessness in Florida, with presenters (L-R) Central Florida Foundation President and CEO Mark Brewer; Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) Board Member Mark Merrill; FPN President and CEO David Biemesderfer; Clark Family Fund President Joe Clark; and THHI Board Member Guy King III.

A newly released study of Cypress Landing, conducted by researchers at the University of Tampa, documented an overall cost savings to the public of nearly $500,000 over an 18-month period, due to dramatic reductions — by 77% or more — in outpatient and inpatient services, emergency room visits, detox services and incarceration among Cypress Landing residents. The study also documented an overall increase in quality of life reported by these residents, who spoke of having a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. The study’s results were presented to the Tampa Bay Funders Forum by Guy King III and Mike Merrill, board members for the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI).

As one example of how Cypress Landing has changed the lives of its residents, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s records showed that the residents spent a total of 1,140 nights in jail in the 18 months prior to moving into Cypress Landing. In the 18 months after moving into Cypress Landing, that number dropped by 83% to 196 nights in jail, for a cost savings to the public of nearly $68,000. Continue reading

Honoring Florida Philanthropy Leadership: Joe Clark & Jane Soltis of the Eckerd Family Foundation

This year Florida Philanthropic Network is losing a valued member. The Eckerd Family Foundation is sunsetting, per the intentions of the foundation’s founders, the late Ruth and Jack Eckerd, and therefore will no longer be a part of our membership. On February 1 at FPN’s 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, we honored two of the Eckerd Family Foundation’s leaders, Joe Clark, the foundation’s president, and Jane Soltis, the foundation’s vice president.

At its 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, FPN honored Joe Clark (second from left) and Jane Soltis (second from right) of the Eckerd Family Foundation for 15 years of philanthropic leadership. Honoring them were Jake Short from the Eckerd family's next generation (l.) and David Biemesderfer, FPN President & CEO (r.).

At its 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, FPN honored Joe Clark (second from left) and Jane Soltis (second from right) of the Eckerd Family Foundation for 15 years of philanthropic leadership. Honoring them were Jake Short from the Eckerd family’s next generation (l.) and David Biemesderfer, FPN President & CEO (r.).

Based in Tampa, the Eckerd Family Foundation was founded 15 years ago by Ruth and Jack Eckerd and endowed with $100 million. Jack Eckerd founded Eckerd Drugs in Florida. Joe Clark, Ruth and Jack Eckerd’s son-in-law, has been with the foundation since the beginning, and Jane Soltis has been there almost as long. The foundation upheld Ruth and Jack Eckerd’s spirit of philanthropy by investing in youth and families, encouraging youth leadership, supporting the journey into young adulthood and the pursuit of educational and vocational opportunities. Continue reading