Bank of America has agreed to donate $10,000 to Bunnell’s Carver Center Foundation, more than doubling the once-troubled gym’s private fund-raising in the last three months and tripling the original goal. The grant, provided without strings, also broadens the facility’s ability to become a full-service youth center. Barbara Revels, the county commissioner and foundation president, got a call from the bank Wednesday informing her of the grant, which has yet to be formalized.
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For Revels and the Carver Center, the grant—equal to the amount the school board or the Bunnell city government are contributing to the center next year—is one more vindication of a concerted effort going back to last summer to bring the gym back from the brink of extinction and ensure its viability for many years. Revels led that effort and was almost exclusively responsible for securing the Bank of America grant.
In Tallahassee last spring for the annual legislative session, revels met the Bank of America president fgor Florida. He was enamored with the Carver project. He put revels in touch with the bank foundation’s principals. Revels had another valuable contact: Sam Willett, a senior vice president for the bank and a member of board, with Revels, of Daytona State’s Advanced Technology College. Revels made a presentation for him about Carver. He was swayed.
The Craver Center has a $90,000 budget. Of that, $50,000 is provided by the county, $10,000 each by the school board and Bunnell, and $5,000 by the sheriff. Last month the Public Safety Coordinating Council voted to award the center a $15,000 grant. And the Carver Foundation’s own fund-raising had raised $7,000.
The $10,000 grant will not be used to replace government funding for the center, but to supplement it. “The budget that is done by the county and the school board and the city of Bunnell is an austerity budget,” Revels said. “It’s just to keep the doors open. It doesn’t allow for anything extra, and that’s where the foundation comes in.”
Carver Gym has been going through extensive renovations since spring, using the county’s capital dollars outside of the gym’s $90,000 operational budget. A new lounge and recreation space was built downstairs, several classrooms built upstairs, the entrance was entirely rebuilt to better control who enters the center with an electronic identification system. The center’s biggest need in the future is an insulation system that will cost around $40,000, but do much to lower the building’s energy costs and make its gym portion’s interiors sound less like a hangar and more like a gymnasium. That’s not where the Bank of America money is likely to go, however, as the center is still working on building its youth and community recreation components. “We need to get operating first,” Revels said.
Cheryl Massaro, in charge of the youth center on the campus of Flagler Palm Coast High School, is also in charge of Carver’s programming.