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LYFORD CAY FOUNDATIONS HONOURS 50 YEARS OF PHILANTHROPY IN THE BAHAMAS
For Immediate Release
2020 has not provided many opportunities to celebrate. With so much uncertainty and scarcity of good news, this week Lyford Cay Foundations honors the impact of the generosity of its donors over the past five decades.
At its core, Lyford Cay Foundations serves the community and its donors demonstrate their love for The Bahamas through Philanthropy – a word meaning “love of humanity”. The underpinning belief of the philanthropic organization is that a better Bahamas for all starts with a strategic investment in education.
The organization was established 50 years ago as a 501(c)(3) in the state of New York and a Canada Revenue Agency registered charity was established 10 years later – The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation. Early leaders, like Robert Blum, Charles Dana, and, in more recent memory, Harry Moore, Manuel Cutillas and Stuart Ray, were tireless champions of raising funds for the benefit of The Bahamas. Today, Lyford Cay Foundations remains two distinct legal entities in US and Canadian tax jurisdictions, and one locally domiciled organization with a professional team of 8 full-time staff members and some 35 part-time staff, supporting the operations of 3 programme areas.
While there are separate legal frameworks, donors, and boards, Lyford Cay Foundations is one organization with a mission to improve the lives of Bahamians through philanthropy – specifically, to provide education opportunities to those most in need and who can benefit the most from support. In its scholarship and college access programming, this means an emphasis in serving students who will become the first in their families to gain a college education.
Lyford Cay Foundations recognized years ago that the government, even with all its leadership, commitment and resources, cannot achieve all that it wants alone, and that philanthropic investment in education is a crucial component to the long-term development of a prosperous, safe and healthy Bahamas. This belief is put into practice through three major programme areas: Community Grants, College Access programming and Scholarships.
Community Grants was the first programme undertaken by the Foundations. It started in the early 70’s with a contribution to the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. Since that time, more than 250 community organizations throughout The Bahamas – from northern Abaco to Inagua – have received financial assistance from Lyford Cay Foundations, in an effort to aid in their good work in the community. In response to recent unprecedented needs of the country, Lyford Cay Foundations raised and disbursed millions in aid for grants for Hurricane recovery, including more than $2.5 Million towards the rehabilitation of the Central Abaco Primary School. And this year, in response to the economic devastation of COVID-19, the organization committed and disbursed $1.75 Million in food aid grants to Bahamian NGOs.
The newest programmes of the organization are in the area of College Access. With a long history of funding scholarships, Lyford Cay Foundations observed that Bahamian students faced systemic challenges, preventing them from accessing post-secondary education. In 2011, it launched the FOCUS programme with 30 students. At full enrollment, that programme serves some 270 students in grades 5 through 12, helping to prepare them for post-secondary education success. FOCUS students are supported for 8 years of summer and Saturday tuition-free programming provided by Lyford Cay Foundations. The vast majority of FOCUS students are in public schools and will be the first in their families to go to college. The Cutillas Scholars Programme supports a dozen students who never thought college would be a possibility and are enrolled at University of The Bahamas (UB) and Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), also with the goal of being first in their families to earn post-secondary qualifications.
Many will be familiar with the main work of Lyford Cay Foundations over the past 5 decades: providing post-secondary scholarships to Bahamians. In 1982 it launched a Scholarships Programme with only a dozen awards valued at $2,500 each. Today, in any given year, 50 to 80 Lyford Cay Foundations Scholarships are awarded valued, on average, at $15,000 per year, with a few awards as high as $30,000 a year. Over the past 50 years, nearly 3,000 Bahamian Lyford Cay Foundations Scholars have earned post-secondary degrees, internationally or nationally at UB.
More than 80% of successful candidates in its international scholarships programme are students who will be the first generation of college graduates in their family; around 35% graduated from public schools in The Bahamas; and, on average, 25% originated from the Family Islands.
Additionally, Lyford Cay Foundations supports 100 students a year at University of The Bahamas, through funding generated by a $5 Million endowment fund. At UB, the organization also granted more than $4 Million in funds to support the construction of the Harry C. Moore Library & Information Centre, and the implementation of a Virtual Library project, back in 2009.
The impact of its Scholarships programme and partnership with UB reverberates throughout the country in the Lyford Cay Scholar alumni community, most of whom are home in The Bahamas, working, starting their own businesses, running or volunteering in non-profits and much more. On Tuesday 1 December, in a film premiering at 8PM on ZNS, the stories of some of these Lyford Scholars are told.
Lyford Cay Foundations dedicates this film to its donors and partners, without whom, none of such impact would be possible. More than 3,000 private donors have invested more than $80 Million in the organization. Within that timeframe, some $50 Million has been disbursed directly to Bahamians and to organizations carrying out work to improve life in this country. The Bahamian NGO community and public sector partners like the Ministry of Education, University of The Bahamas, and Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute have also been critical to the impact achieved over the last 50 years.
With so much loss in 2020, Lyford Cay Foundations reflects on the engine of The Bahamas – its people – and their talents and resilience, which provide hope for the future.
DONATIONS: Please visit our website, www.lyfordcayfoundation.org, to make a contribution to Lyford Cay Foundation Inc. or The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation.
About Lyford Cay Foundations: Lyford Cay Foundations is a private philanthropic organization with a 50-year history of impact in The Bahamas. Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. and The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation, our incorporated entities, were established in 1969 and 1977, respectively. Lyford Cay Foundations’ mission is to invest in learning opportunities for children, young adults, families and communities, all made possible by the generosity of donors. Through a variety of programmes, Lyford Cay Foundations assists children in school as they prepare for college, students leaving high school with scholarships to attend college in The Bahamas and internationally, and community organisations providing learning opportunities. To date more than $50 million has been invested in the lives of Bahamians. Please follow Lyford Cay Foundations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Photo Credits: Archive photos of Lyford Cay Foundations