The John Land Apopka Community Trust has been around for more than 3 years, but its existence and purpose have been shrouded in mystery and rumor. While the Trust is one of the most talked about organizations in Apopka, little is actually known about it.
When was it formed? Why was it formed? What has it accomplished? Who is in charge? What is the connection with the City of Apopka?
The Apopka Voice recently met with the Secretary of the Trust, David Rankin, in an attempt to learn the answers to these questions and more.
The Trust is not a "trust." It is a not for profit corporation and was formed on February 8, 2013. The original name was "Apopka Community Trust, Inc."
According to Rankin, the Trust was conceived by Mayor John Land in response to numerous requests for the City to fund various activities. While worthwhile, it was sometimes hard to justify spending City funds. Mayor Land saw that other communities had established community trusts that were being used for these purposes.
During its first year of operation the Trust collected about $50,000 in donations while the Board of the Trust looked for worthwhile activities to support.
In April 2014 the Trust received a huge boost when the Apopka City Council, by unanimous vote, agreed to donate $200,000 in honor of Mayor Land's service to Apopka. The Board decided to change its name and effective May 15, 2015 became known as the "John Land Apopka Community Trust, Inc."
The first significant project it funded was the $47,000 purchase of rings and jackets for the 2014 Apopka High School State Championship Football Team in April 2015.
In August 2015 it contributed $1,500 to the Apopka Little League and another $1,500 to the Orange County 4H Association. The 4H funds were used to help send five Apopka High School students to national livestock competitions in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
In September 2015 the Trust agreed to contribute up to $20,000 to the City of Apopka to help with the design and construction of two statues of Mayor John Land.
In December of 2015 it donated $2,000 to help fund a banquet for the Apopka High School Bowling Team to celebrate their third-in-a-row State Championship.
"The John Land Apopka Community Trust is open for business," said David Rankin. "We are accepting and reviewing funding applications. We are soliciting donations so that we can fulfill our mission."
According to Rankin, anyone wanting to apply for funding can do so on the Trust's website.
To date, the Trust's primary fundraising has been on a project-by-project basis. Funds were raised from more than 25 individuals and organizations for the football team rings and jackets. Currently it is "selling" bricks to provide funding for the statues of Mayor Land. More on that project here.
The Trust is Public Charity and is subject to Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code. While it works closely with The City of Apopka and other governmental entities it operates independently of those entities, and is governed by a Board of Directors.
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