Impact Report

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Together WE CAN

13400 Park Blvd, Seminole, FL 33776 | (727) 258-7659

Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much. - Helen Keller

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Our Mission is to inspire and empower people with neurodiversity to learn, thrive and succeed.

Our Values We believe that each and every learner at LiFT comes to value and view their individual uniqueness and diversity as a gift to be celebrated. Equally important is for each learner to respect the differences found in one another.

Our Vision A world where independence is possible for the neurodiverse.

A Letter from Leadership What a year this has been! Let us begin by offering our prayers for safety and protection for each of you, your family and our entire community. As we navigate these unprecedented times together, please know NOW, more than ever, your generous support of our students and mission is deeply appreciated and valued. This past year, COVID-19 impacted our common humanity, but also reminded us we are a global society caring for one another. Our lives are intrinsically connected across countries, continents and diversities. Even as the future has never felt so uncertain, our faith in community and spirit of commonality has never felt so secure. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! This pandemic has forced LiFT to be even MORE nimble, innovative and strategic in our thoughts and actions - while maintaining our focus on the individual needs and safety of each and every student. We are very PROUD of our response — what we did, how we did it, and how we continue to LiFT our students. For an organization that is only 7 years old, this operational agility is truly remarkable.

We realize now that the strategic work we have been pursuing all these years has prepared us well for this extraordinary time in our lives - with more demands and far fewer resources. As we reflect upon this past year, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. LiFT has been blessed with amazing success because of you - our community! Your support has allowed us to provide exceptional education, unparalleled job training and meaningful entrepreneurial skills to our inspiring students who are often overlooked and marginalized in our society. The numerous successes highlighted within this report demonstrate how YOU have helped LiFT become a leader in the landscape of special and inclusive education. We are grateful for your support which has facilitated the success of our mission! Most importantly, however, we are grateful for the opportunities and skills we are able to provide our students so that they may reach their fullest potential and, like you, pursue THEIR dreams! TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE!


Board of D

Keli Mondello Chairman

Shawn Naugle Executive Director

Kim Kuruzovich Vice Chairman

Matt Rich Treasurer

Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard. - Liz Fosslien & Mollie West Duffy


Elliad Granger Director

Kyle Maxson Director

Sergio Cadavid Director

Amy Maguire Director

Development Council Carol Bumiller Natalie Gebicke Katie Glaser Todd Jennings

Toni Jones Kim Kuruzovich Colby Masterson Michael Mastry

Keli Mondello Drew Revitzer Lynda Spofford Elaine Stewart

Lee Stratton Ryan Stratton

Our Story LiFT is the vision of passionate mothers who wanted an educational program that focused on independent outcomes for their own children with neurodiversity.

In 2012,

Kim Kuruzovich and Keli Mondello had a vision. Inspired by their daughters, they set out to create an inclusive and accepting environment where children would be free from bullying so they would have the peace to learn and grow. Today LiFT boasts an enrollment of 140(+) students and three educational programs. LiFT Academy serves Kindergarten through 12th grade; LiFT University Transition Program, is a four-year post-secondary transition program for students who have completed high school, but desire continued academics, career readiness, and intensive life skill training. LiFT Adult Day program offers continued learning and employment skills while promoting social enterprise. As a recognized leader in the landscape of special and inclusive education, LiFT is committed to providing exceptional and equal opportunities in education, employment and life experiences for ALL!

When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. - Alexander Den Heijer

LiFT Enrollment LiFT was blessed with another increase in enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year as more families continue to desire a specialized education for their children with neurodiversity. An increase in enrollment means greater opportunity to impact young lives.

The 2019 - 2020 school year reached a record enrollment for LiFT.

LiFT Academy increased enrollment by 600% since it’s founding in 2013.

Together WE CAN

create a safe, inviting, and educational space for students with neurodiversity in grades K-12 at LiFT Academy.

About LiFT Academy LiFT Academy emphasizes a preventative approach to bullying, labels and seclusion while offering challenging academics, after school clubs and enrichment programs. At LiFT Academy, we are committed to developing the individual talents and personal character of each student. Ultimately students will learn how to meet daily life challenges independently and with confidence, becoming productive, successful citizens in our community.



Graduation Rate

Student/Teacher Ratio

Pinellas County’s average Exceptional Student Education (ESE) graduation rate is 79.7% and Hillsborough County’s ESE graduation rate is 78.2%

LiFT Academy has a 15:2 student/teacher ratio in K-6, and a 15:1 student/ teacher ratio in Grades 7-12.



After-School Enrichment Clubs

of students are given a custom Support Plan

Including: Robotics, Comic Book Writing, Art, Basketball, Soccer, Running, Glee, and Instrumental Instruction

This plan lays out the accommodations in each of their classes for a successful learning experience.

Together WE CAN

offer LiFT University Transition students a unique opportunity to further their education while developing skills necessary for independence.

About LiFT University Transition Program Each LiFT U student is matched with an internship through LiFT’s Community Partners program. This has successfully engaged both businesses and non-profits to provide on-thejob training to our students, as well as an opportunity to explore career choices that align with their skill sets, talents and interests. LiFT University Transition Program was built on four pillars of success: 1) Continued & Functional Academics 3) Career Readiness 2) Life Skills 4) Continued Social Skills Training

By the Numbers:


Community Partners provide internships for LU Students


of our internships have turned into employment.

Thank You to Our Partners American Wheelchair Mission Bark Life Cerra Sauce City of Pinellas Park City of Safety Harbor City of Seminole City-wide Maintenance of Tampa Bay Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch Great Explorations Children’s Museum Habitat for Humanity

Jabil Joto’s Pizza PARC Pre-school Pinellas County Schools Pinellas Park Church of Christ Pinellas Park Fire Department Publix Second Time Around Consignment Shop Seminole Animal Hospital Seminole Elementary Slyce Pizza

SPCA St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce St. Petersburg Sunshine Senior Center Studio Movie Grill We Rock the Spectrum Wendy’s Westgate Elementary Winn Dixie

Together WE CAN

support LiFT University Transition Program students by purchasing items and services through its microbusinesses.

About Our Microbusinesses Our goal is to help students understand the business concept from inception to fruition and recognize that businesses are built upon intentionality. Through our microbusinesses, students develop true respect for employers and the work they put forth to be successful while understanding business fundamentals on paper and gaining wisdom through actual experience.

Positive outcomes of this program include: Increased problem-solving Enhanced decision-making abilities Improved interpersonal relationships Money management Public speaking skills Job readiness Social psychological development Heightened self-esteem At LiFT University, students are engaged in lessons that challenge them to think outside of their comfort zone.

They are expected to work collaboratively to solve problems. They are encouraged to work through their fears. They are supported by a staff that has students’ best interests at heart. Students walk away having learned things that better prepare them for life as an independent adult.

- Lois Mays, Program Director

LiFT Your Heart Team members create high-interest products to sell to the general public.

Students create pillows, beach bags, wine bags, candles, tea towels, aprons, ornaments, greeting cards, and more. Provides the skills necessary to gain sustainable employment in the retail industry, such as vocational skills, social/ emotional support, entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, sales, and life skills.

LiFT Your Fork Whether it is a wedding, a shower, a family reunion, LiFT Your Fork has a menu for every occasion. Students study popular food trends, design menus, shop for ingredients, and create mouthwatering meals, appetizers, and desserts. And yes, we deliver! Provides students with the culinary skills to gain sustainable employment in the food service industry: vocational skills, entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, sales, sustainability, and life skills.

LiFT U Cleaning Crew Students learn janitorial skills that will prove to be beneficial as they seek employment in an industry that is lacking workers. A team of 5 students and 1 supervisor help to clean Seminole Movie Grill, Pinellas Park Church of Christ and First Christian Church of Seminole. Provides the skills necessary to gain sustainable employment in the residential and commercial cleaning industry, such as vocational skills, organization, personal growth and life skills.

Leo’s Cafe Team members provide lunch to LiFT Academy students two days a week. Students manage and operate the cafÊ by taking orders, receiving payments, greeting guests, preparing meals, serving guests, and maintaining a clean environment. Provides students with the skills to acquire sustainable employment in the food service industry: vocational skills, hospitality, marketing, sales, and life skills.

Together WE CAN

support children and adults with neurodiversity by empowering them with the resources and skills to lead happy, successful and purpose-filled lives.

Scholarships 85% of LiFT students receive a scholarship for a variety of needs. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, LiFT is able to expand educational opportunity by offering scholarships to families in need. We also accept several state-funded scholarships and provide guidance to our families through the application process.

Scholarship Opportunities: Income-Based: • Florida Tax Credit • Family Empowerment • LiFT Board of Directors Scholarship • Two or More Scholarship (for siblings)

Disability-Based: • Gardiner Scholarship • McKay Scholarship Bullied Students: • Hope Scholarship

Did you know? It costs $240,000

to raise an average child to the age of 18 (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

It costs $1.4M +

to care for an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder for their lifetime. (Autism Speaks)

Together WE CAN

attend, sponsor, and support the various events throughout the year to raise money for LiFT programming and operating expenses.

2019 Special Events Our LiFT events are a great way to learn about our mission, meet the LiFT team, volunteer, and contribute to our mission and programming.



$563k Raised Total

High Revenue from LiFT Your Spirits

LiFT Your Spirits

Bags & Belles

RiSE Awards

Guests Attended

As our biggest fundraiser of the year, this Kentucky Derby themed event includes an open bar, live music, a gourmet buffet, an exclusive silent auction, and a crowd-pleasing live auction.

Benefiting the Joanne Gallagher Fund

Guests will take part in a silent auction featuring high-end designer bags. This event also includes a Grab Bag Raffle, Purse Bingo, hors d’ouveres, and drinks!

Sponsored by Lema Construction

These awards celebrate inspirational leaders in Tampa Bay. Through their acts of courage, compassion and commitment, these individuals RiSE above the status quo to LiFT and inspire others.

Together WE CAN

educate, empower and inspire a far greater number of individuals with neurodiversity.

Capital Campaign • Identify 6-12 acres of land to meet our needs • Establish resources and community support for our fundraising efforts • Purchase land / building

• Double our capacity to serve 250-300 students • Expand microbusinesses with a storefront to employ more individuals with neurodiversity • Increase our reach to serve Pre-Kindergarten students • Move all programs to one location for ease of access for students, parents and staff

Financials REVENUE Development & Fundraising 30%

State Scholarship Tuition Funds 60%

*Financials are based on last audited fiscal year (June 30, 2018 to July 1, 2019).

Private Pay Tuition 10%

I am able to contribute to the well-being of my family now.

“At first, I didn’t like working with LiFT U Cleaning Crew, but as I got better at it, and my confidence grew, I started to look forward to it every week. Before I came to LiFT, I had never participated in vocational training. I had always wanted a job, but I didn’t know what to do to get one. In August of 2019, after a year of interning with LiFT U Cleaning Crew, I was hired by the General Manager of Studio Movie Grill. We deep clean the theaters every week. We get paid and the benefits are sensational: free movies and 50% off meals for me and all of my family members!! When I got my first check, Mrs. Mays and I did a happy dance around the classroom. I had never had a paycheck, and this was a big one!”

-Bryan McLane, LU Student

Thank You To O u r D o n o r s Because of your generosity, hundreds in need have had their lives improved as they are lifted up in dignity. We cannot list you all, but we thank you all equally. We strive for an error-free list. If we made a mistake, omitted you entirely, or if you do not wish to be listed in the future, we apologize. Please contact us to let us know at

$ 25,000+ David & Jean Cantu Mark & Keli Mondello

$10,000 - $24,999 Forbes & Lorna Alexander PwC Sergio & Piedad Cadavid KAST Construction Mike and Cathy Dastoor Tony and Lorie Faulkner Teresita Fuentes Michael & Kim Kuruzovich LEMA Construction Sean & Laura Manning Tasos & Kristine Oureilidis Bill & Nancy Peters Johnathan Stanton Steve Raymund SunTrust Foundation Tercer Fideicomiso Caritativo Fund The White Family Foundation

$5,000 - $9,999 Alvah H. & Wyline P. Chapman Foundation Michael Babich & Beth Walters Steve & Ericka Borges Community Foundation of Tampa Bay Brian & Leslie Coyne DeBartolo Family Foundation Kevin & Joanie Gallagher Scott & Natalie Gebicke Guardian Trust Chuck Jablon Klein Heuchan, Inc. Joel & Debbie Momberg Lizabeth Moses & Renee Villeneuve Pacific Life Foundation Marlena Quessenberry Raymond James The Raymund Foundation Elizabeth Redd Paul & Rose Reilly Matt & Julie Rich Courtney & Candice Ryan

$5,000 - $9,999 Cont. Skanska James Smith Smith & Associates Real Estate Barry & Lynda Spofford Gregg Stallwood The Stock Family Steve & Lee Stratton Karen Stuart Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Rays TOMCAT Tom & Dennie Masterson Nick & Sharon Touchton UBS Wells Fargo

$1,000 - $4,999 Addessi Financial Partners Amscot Financial Michael & Wendy Adessi Ed & Holly Andrade Randy Advent Paul & Suzanne Avery Tony & Patti Baldino The Bank of Tampa Kimberly Barger Cliff and Ruth Barnett Berkshire Hathaway Adam & Layce Berry Tom Bernat Charles & Charlotte Biladeau Tammy Boldt Joe & Marylou Bourdow

Brown & Brown Insurance Michael & Sandy Brown Patty Brundage Cory Braselton Jeff & Linda Busch Juan Camprubi Gary & Cheryl Cantrell Ken & Marci Cheesman Coldwell Banker Ken & Caroline Collier Cook & Phillips Financial / Raymond James Cove Cay Golf Club Crown Auto John & Elaine Dargan Dennis DeLoach, Jr DeLoach Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A. Nick DiCeglie Allan & Susan Dickson Bob & Kay Dillinger Dawn Dreggors Hulett John & Kimberly Duffy Courtney Dunn Ian Evans Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill Mark & Sherry Ferguson Bill & Robin Frake Mark & Kelley Fratoni Frey Masterson & Associates Jessica Fulton Katie Glaser Bryan Glazer Larry & Rebecca Grafstein Tim & Tanya Harrington Celeste Harrison HavenHome Design Center Mike & Darby Hettinger

$1,000 - $4,999 Cont. Joshua & Angela Heuchan Matt & Lori Hill Staige & Trish Hoffman Lou Holtz Homeowners Financial Group David Jenkins Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Brain Institute Sonia Johns Terrilyn Jurick Dr. Ian Kahane Lynn Kinney Charlie & Carey Kleinmetz Harmut & Laura Liebel William Lister Michael & Marcela Loparco Luxe Title Service MacFarlane, Ferguson & McMullen Mainline Information Systems Sean & Amy Maguire Bailey Merritt Vasti Martinez Denbo Michael Mastry Kyle & Beatriz Maxson Bob & Debbie Maxwell Susan Maynard Joe & Linda McBeth Mark & Susie McGarry Stacy McLeod Kevin & Carolyn McNulty Tracy McQuaid Microsoft Brighid Miller Dewey & Becky Mitchell

Phil & Carol Mondello Jonathan H. Moore & Thane E. Richmond-Moore Bill & Jackie Muir Namaste Homes Jordan Neff John Nguyen Celeste Noren Northwestern Mutual John & Rosemary O’Connor Ken & Laura Palczyk Dave Parker PEGA Joel & Kelly Plaas John Pope Ed & Debbie Pughe Quality Boats Quigley Inspection Services Michael & Debbie Reed Joseph Reed Chuck Resing Drew Revitzer Jeffrey Reynolds Frederic Samson Jeana Seibert Chris & Linda Seibert Matt & Andrea Silverman Sisters Sell St. Pete Daryn Smith St. Petersburg Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Ryan & Stephanie Stratton Stewart Title Jim & Tina Sykes Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Lightning

$1,000 - $4,999 Cont. Ticket Clinic USF - Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Amy Valenti William Van Law Robert & Sharon Vinci Chad & Cherra Wammock World of Beer JoAnn White Harold & Jacquelyn Winner Dave & India Witte Hogan Yi and Monica Bowersox Gregory & Elizabeth Zaski

$1 - $999 Ray & Stacey Absher Diana Absher Allstate Janice Allwood Anna Andrade Daniel Andrade Beth Anias Judith Appleton Jamey Arthur Brian & Cary Aungst Lisa Baldwin Scott Baldwin Keith & Cheryl Beattie JB Bensmihen Charles Berg Linda Blume Tom & Toni Bondi Sheri Borders Carrie Brent

John and Nancy Brielmaier Christopher Brooks & Jenna Worden-Brooks Carol Bumiller Mark Burman John & Sally Caltabiano Claudette Carlan Doug & Lauren Carlan Brian & Cary Carter Erica Cavanaugh City Wide Maintenance of Tampa Bay Scott Cecil City of Seminole Andy & Louann Clement Cathleen Clemente Megan Codagnone Marie Coleman Daniel Coll Bart Collins Eugene & Barbara Collins Will & Stacy Conroy Mike & Pam Cozene Bruce Crawford Cheryl Cummin Shawn & Jeanna Damkoehler Tod & Lisa Damkoehler Jacquile Darling Tracy Dawson Fiona de Freitas Wayne & Courtney DeHaven Dell Tammy Denbo Elizabeth Dequesada Tiffin Dericks Logan & Natalie DeVicente Jessica Dison

$1 - $999 Cont. Gabe & Sara Dormody Ashley Duffy Matthew Duncan Angela Durham Shannon Eichberg Gage & Carolina Essman Marlene Evans Evercore Michelene Everette Charles Farber Joe & Lauren Fennewald Kristina Fischer Tina Fisher Scott Fitzgerald Brian Flanagan Savannah Ford Matt Fredy David Fusco Cynthia Gamrot Tom & Sandi Geller Cecily Gerdes Robert Gesemyer Linda Giandeletti Chelsea Gibbons Ken Gillespie Kathryn Gillette Brian Gilroy Katie Glaser Bob Glaser Rebecca Goebel Zoe Goplerud Andrea Gordillo John Graham Wesley Griswold

Greg Groger Wally & Cynthia Guthrie David Guzman Emily Haly Aaron Hall Jerry & Nancy Hamilton Dr. Jason Hangauer Janice Hanson Bradley Harrington Ken & Maureen Heretick Brandon Hicks Eric Highley Dick & Jan Hill Eva Horner Byron Hurst Jennifer Hutchins Harold & Kathleen Irwin Keith Jacobus Jacqui Jarrell Todd & Rachel Jennings Toni Jones Sarah Joubert Steve Joustra Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein Krissy Katzenstein Joby & Dana Klei Lauren Kleinfeld Chad Kobold Mayor Rick & Kerry Kriseman Shyni Kurisunkal Robert Lancaster Bonnie Lanners Nate & Alissa Lawver Tony & Lauren Leavine Barbara Leavine Martha Lenderman Matthew Lettelleir

Jo Ligas Lynda Lipke Mike Loparco Sr. April Lott Glenn & Laurie Lyle Ray Maceyras Maureen Majeski Kimberly Manning-Meastas Phillip Martin Colby & Andrea Masterson Melanie Mastry Frederick Maybaum Bill & Lois Mays Anita McBride Christine McLean Steve Meyer Brandon Meyer Eric & Nicole Midili Mike & Elaine Mikurak Jeff & Jodie Miller Shannon Miller Lacey Miller Bobby Minier Mikela Mollanazar Gabrielle Mondello Mary Mondello Mike Mondello Robyn Montanez David Moran Jenna Morgan Ryan Morrison Nancy Mracek Patrick & Cherry Mullen Maryfrances Murphy Janet Murray William & Ashley Nall Noah & Megan Nettleton

Kathleen Noonan Brendan Norton James & Christine O’Brien Ryan & Tasha Ong Charlie & Linda Osterholt Mary Peredy Mark & Christine Peterman Keith Pfeifer Michael Phillips Jim & Kaye Pollard Diane Preston Phillip Price Prida, Guida & Perez John & Maribeth Putzel Dru & Jenine Rabin Yvonne Rask Chuck Resing Mark & Theresa Revitzer Sarah Revitzer Valerie Riddieno Jennifer Rimmaudo Lance & Mary Kay Rinehart Anthony Rioles Evan & Carson Ripple Roberto & Sandra Rivera Jeff & Diane Roberts Kristina Rose Adam Ross Chia Ross Ron & Amy Ruffner Mike & Kate Sawa John & Ellen Schultz John & Jackie Schultz Sarah Schweibold Ronald Scott Bob & Sue Sebesta Jimmy & Kathleen Sebesta

Dawn Shields Linda Simmons Eric Sisco Charlie & Tina Slowes Brittany Smaridge Penny Smith Yecenia Smith Adam Smith Jennifer Sobieski Debbie Sokolov Roger & Suzanne Sowada Charlie & Patty Sparkman Jean Spencer-Carnes John Steele Sydney Stratton Robert Stubbs Christine Sublett Aaron & Shannon Swift Swift Law John & Kate Thomas John & Tina Thomas Nancy Thomas Tammy Tolsma Jeanine Tondreault Rabbis Michael & Betsy Torop Hannah Torop Wally & Debbie Ulrich Peter Vasti Rocky & Tanya Veitschegger Vic & Lynda Velanovich Scott & Jennifer Vieth Frank Vitarelli Mary Vogel Eric Wagman & Dominique Heller Scott Wagman & Beth Houghton Tina Wagner Lynne Webb

Ari Weisberg Jim & Roz White Sarah Whiteside Clifford Will Elizabeth Williams Doug & Debbie Williamson Williamson Dacar Associates Craig Wilson Marty Wingate Harold & Jacquelyn Winner Woman’s Service League Daniel & Avila Zepp Marty Zimmerman Ron & Cindy Zromkoski Clifford Zurkan-Huber

In-Kind $1,000+ Chives Catering - Ken Jurgensen CW Estate Jewelers - Chris Midulla Paul de Freitas Flemings - Katherine and Jorge Diaz The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas HavenHome Design Center - Michael Mastry Hubbard’s Marina International Diamond Center Jabil Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital ExecuPower - Scott Larson Loews Don CeSar Hotel Matter Brothers The Moorings Luxury Yacht Charter Pasadena Liquors Publix

In-Kind $1,000+ Cont. Skin Wellness Center - Dr. Melanie Haynes Tampa Bay Rays Tradewinds Island Resort The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg

Giving isn’t about making a donation, it’s about making a difference. - Kathy Calvin

Together WE CAN

soften the substantial financial impact of COVID-19 on our organization.

We Need Your Support In these unprecedented and stressful times, we have witnessed our community come together in a multitude of ways offering aid to people and businesses in need. LiFT families, too, benefited from the outpouring of support and assistance. When we made known in the community the financial distress some of our families suffered as a result of COVID-19, a great number of supporters of the LiFT family stepped in to help. Thankfulness strengthens relationships and we could not feel more connected to our incredible donors and supporters. You are counted as an integral part of our team and we are truly grateful for your time, talents and treasures. Our work continues and will be long after this crisis is over. We invite you to continue to be a part of our mission and help change the landscape of learning for those with neurodiversity.

I am beyond grateful for the dedication and commitment of the staff to figuring this out and providing this experience. I know from my own work that turning an in-person experience to on-line is very, very challenging. It’s fantastic that you are willing to do this – especially given how much our kids need the interaction, content and structure.

– Betsy Torop LiFT U Parent

How To Help


Pays for tuition subsidity for a student


Provides a years worth of textbooks for a student


Pays for a computer per student


To give, click here or mail your donation to : LiFT Academy ATTN: Impact Report 13400 Park Boulevard, Seminole, Florida 33776 (727) 258-7659

$100 $50

Pays for computer rental for a year, one month of LiFT Your Fork expenses, OR a year of school materials for a student Pays for uniforms for a student OR one month of LiFT Your Heart expenses Pays for a month of an afterschool program for a student