ORLANDO – September 11, 2015 – As the end of the regularly scheduled Major League Soccer (MLS) season comes to an end, the Lions philanthropic and community relations arm is spearheading the 2015 Awards Gala presented by Orlando Health—a unique gathering with fans, players and partners to celebrate the accomplishments the Club has reached this year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on Oct. 4.

Supporters may register to attend here here.

“Our vision from day one was to establish a Foundation that raised 100 percent of funds for programs benefiting children in the community in the areas of health and wellness, and all of our events, like the Awards Gala, help us accomplish these goals,” said Kay Rawlins, the Foundation’s president and community relations director. “We are committed to taking advantage of our Club’s resources to make improvements in targeted areas and are grateful for the support we receive from our fans and partners.”

The Orlando City Foundation was formed in 2012 to tackle the rising problem of childhood obesity through the development and expansion of soccer facilities and programs in Central Florida. The Foundation began by supporting organizations working with children in the field of health and wellness, and providing grants to organizations seeking to start soccer programs or enhance existing ones.

In 2015, the Foundation evolved to launch soccer clinics and mini pitches touching over 1,000 children through collaborations with U.S. Soccer and MLS WORKS, as well as training programs to establish fully-functioning soccer programs in schools and organizations. Free soccer coaching seminars were also hosted in partnership with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)—helping over 90 local coaches attain certification to continue running our programs for their respective organizations.

The Foundation’s existing relationship with the Orange County Public Schools Extended Day Program was also expanded in 2015. An eight-week mentoring program will begin in mid-September with many students from the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sports Business Management Program taking the lead with the on the grounds work at elementary schools after receiving training themselves.  

Over $40,000 in charitable donations were granted to 475 organizations in Central Florida in 2015.

“I’m proud of the work my team— along with players, fans and partners—have accomplished and look forward to celebrating our collective accomplishments at the 2015 Awards Gala.”