• $62 million Phase 1, 200 units of mixed-income, multi-family housing was completed and fully leased as of August 31, 2018. Phase 2, 120 units of affordable senior housing broke ground in mid-October 2018 and will be completed by late 2019. Together Phase 1 and 2 will represent the largest investment in the history of the neighborhood.
  • 2,000 Students attend this emerging neighborhood system of charter and public schools. It will include the first ever, fully integrated cradle-to-career community school pipeline.
  • 140 Acres of park space and sports fields provide opportunities for football, soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis, as well as future plans for a community fitness center and healthcare facility – all within a mile of downtown Orlando.

Moving Forward Together

In 2012, then CEO of CNL Financial Group, Tom Sittema gathered a group of community-minded business leaders to pursue answering the question: “Can the business community help solve some of our city’s most complex social problems?” The hope was that by leveraging their influence and aligning their corporate social-responsibility efforts they could bring about lasting community transformation for our most vulnerable citizens.

This group of concerned business-leaders became inspired by the desire of Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports to leverage the redevelopment of the Citrus Bowl and become a football stadium that ignites neighborhood transformation.

LIFT – Learn, Identify, Focus, Transform

Founded in 2012, LIFT Orlando consists of business leaders partnering with residents in community revitalization in an area west of Downtown Orlando called the Communities of West Lakes. The neighborhood is rich with African-American history, and includes many long-term residents who broke through the barriers of racial and economic inequality in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s to achieve success. Yet, in recent decades it has also been an area with a high concentration of chronic poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and crime.

A Winning Partnership

With the reconstruction of the Orlando Citrus Bowl stadium seated in the heart of the community, these civic-minded business leaders saw an opportunity to engage the community and leverage the project to ignite positive neighborhood transformation for nearby families. LIFT Orlando became the first Purpose Built Communities Network Member in Florida during the summer of 2015.

Unprecedented Community Involvement

In an unprecedented community engagement effort consisting of the largest urban neighborhood survey ever conducted in the city, over 1,500 door-to-door interviews were conducted and dozens of community gatherings held. Through this process, LIFT Orlando was able to begin to identify the will of residents, engage neighborhood leaders, and even increase participation by neighborhood children in the free Florida Citrus Sports Summer Camp from 3% to 97% from one year to the next.