The Trust finalized reaching $1 million in October of last year.
Last year, the Port Orange Community Trust hit the $1 million mark in funds that have been given back to the community, but on Saturday, May 12, members of the organization and those that have been a part of the journey celebrated reaching that goal.
The Trust's Million Dollar Gala was a time for the community to learn about how the funds have helped and the effort that has gone into achieving the $1 million target over the course of more than 20 years. And, according to Jennifer Marano, Port Orange Community Trust executive director, the organization gave back a little more than that.
"A million dollars and 23 years later, look at what we have," Councilwoman Deb Denys said.
The amount was finalized in October 2017 during a board meeting when members voted on giving money to departments and organizations. This included giving the Port Orange Fire Department $4,000 for their education programs as well as giving the Halifax Urban Ministries $8,000. Another $1,000 was given to the Our Lady of Hope food bank.
According to Marano, the $1 million in cash given out does not include the free entertainment the Trust provides, such as entertainment and movies throughout the year. Family Days has been a major part of raising those funds to give back to various areas in the city.
"What began as a neighborhood block party 23 years ago has warped into one of the most successful fundraising organizations in Volusia County," Councilwoman Billie Wheeler said.
However, just because the Trust had surpassed the $1 million mark, the fundraising hadn't stopped. That night, the funds from the gala were going toward Remembering Vets, which supports veterans with resources and through programs and fellowship opportunities.
So while Saturday was a celebration, the evening was still focused on the same mission that has been present the whole time — giving back.