It will help charitable groups find grant money
By Joe Callahan | Ocala Star Banner
On top of a hill along Southeast 24th Street, just north of the railroad trestle on the east side U.S. 441 South, sits a vacant building once used as a Sheriff’s Office outpost, a doctor’s office and an off-site hospital facility.
For nearly four years, the brick building owned by the Marion County Hospital District and leased by AdventHealth has sat empty, with the air conditioning running without an occupant.
In about six weeks or so, the 8,500-square-foot building will become the Nonprofit Resource Center, where the heads of some 1,000 local nonprofit groups can go to get training and seek help in obtaining grants.
The new center will be operated by the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County, a group that helps facilitate philanthropy throughout Marion.
“We are seeing a lot of growth in Ocala,” said Lauren DeIorio, the foundation’s executive director. “Let’s face it, the CEP (Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership) is doing a great job bringing businesses here, and we have to bring our nonprofits up to capacity.”
DeIorio said that as the community grows, so will its needs.
“Our biggest fear is what would happen if we have another bad (economic) downturn, with a lot of people losing their jobs,” DeIorio said. “That puts a strain on social issues. We have to be prepared and have the right things in place.”