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Supermodel Gisele Bundchen Donates $1M to Lotus House Children's Village in Miami



Lotus House, the nation’s largest women’s shelter, celebrated the groundbreaking of a beautiful, new Children’s Village that will advance the nonprofit’s mission of ending – and preventing – homelessness. Centered on the educational, wellness, and special needs of children and youth, the five-story facility will expand Lotus House’s reach into the surrounding community, complementing the organization’s 500-bed shelter, Lotus Village, located directly across the street. Features of the new building will include a preschool for children ages three to five, afterschool and summer programs, child and family therapeutic services, access to healthcare and social services, a playground, and a vast array of community resources and programming.

Development of the Children’s Village kicked-off during a groundbreaking ceremony on April 25th at the project site, located at 219 NW 14th Terrace in Miami’s historic Overtown District. Hundreds of neighbors and community stakeholders attended, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, City of Miami Commission Chair Christine King, City of Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes, and The Children's Trust of Miami-Dade County President & CEO James Haj.

During the event, Gisele Bündchen, a passionate philanthropist and dedicated advocate for women and children in need, announced $1 million in support for a new playground for the preschool at the Children’s Village, along with educational programming to take place within the facility upon opening.

“Lotus Village was built on the premise that a shelter centered on the acute needs of women and children, complete with trauma informed, evidence-based therapies and holistic programming, could end homelessness. We know this model works, and we know that what makes this model so successful is the generosity of our community, stepping forward time and again to make all that we do possible,” said Lotus House founder Constance Collins. “In the Children’s Village, we are calling on our ‘village’ again, to help our sheltered children and the children of our beloved Overtown community blossom into who they are meant to be. Together, we will take another step forward to end cycles of poverty and homelessness by empowering children and families with enriched educational and therapeutic supports, exciting and diverse programming for kids, and greater access to health and social services. We have launched a $25 Million capital campaign and need everyone’s help, because it takes a village – the Children’s Village.”

“Building a solid community for children is so important, especially for those who are vulnerable and in need. Like everything in life, it takes a seed of an idea for something to grow, and I am honored to help Lotus House grow its impact with the creation of the Children’s Village,” said Gisele Bündchen. “Funding the playground for the Children’s Village is important to me because the benefits of play include physical fitness, social interactions, cognitive development, self-confidence, and overall well-being. All these elements build a strong foundation for growth.”

Last month, Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., the sponsor of the Children’s Village, and its nonprofit subsidiary, Lotus Village II, LLC, closed on $32 million in New Market Tax Credit Financing that will enable the ground-up development of The Children’s Village. Financing for the project was arranged by The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, Florida Community Loan Fund, and Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Construction is expected to last between 15 and 18 months with an aim to open in time for the school year in the fall of 2024.

Since opening its doors with 34 shelter beds in 2006, Lotus House has grown to serve more than 10,000 women, children, and youth. In 2018, the organization debuted the state-of-the-art Lotus Village, which has set national standards for shelter design, operation, and programming. Today, more than 80 percent of the shelter’s guests successfully exit the shelter system following their time at Lotus Village, far exceeding the national average of between 60 and 65 percent.

The Children’s Village will serve as a community hub for nonprofit providers equipped to support children sheltered at Lotus Village along with those from the surrounding community. Partners will include the Overtown Children and Youth Coalition, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Overtown Optimist Club, Urgent Inc., Miami Mindful Kids, Alliance for LGBTQ Youth, Nana’s Restart, Girl Power Rocks, Easterseals, and Lotus Children’s Services, in addition to a coalition of health and wellness providers.

“Lotus House has proven that a holistic support model which brings together various organizations centered around a common goal can end a family’s homelessness and restore the lives and dignity of women, youth and children,” says James Haj, President & CEO of The Children's Trust of Miami-Dade County. “As a funder, we greatly value community collaboration, and the innovative collective impact model in the Children’s Village will broaden the benefits to families by promoting wellness, building confidence among our youth, and ensuring every child has the support they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

The Children’s Village will be made possible by the support of Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc, a non-profit foundation that supports Lotus House and its initiatives. The development will benefit from the continued in-kind support of many volunteers, including general contractor Civic Construction; Behar-Font & Partners architects; engineers M2E Consulting, Inc.; civil engineers Avino & Associates; Savino & Miller Design Studio; Permit Me expediters; and law firm Bilzin Sumberg, where a team of attorneys including John Sumberg, Sara Barli Herald, and Javier Aviñó are spearheading all facets of land use, zoning and permitting, and tax credit financing.

More on About Lotus House

Since launching in 2006, Lotus House has sheltered more than 10,000 women, youth and children experiencing homelessness, with over 80 percent of the shelter’s guests successfully exiting the shelter system. More than a shelter, Lotus House offers holistic support services including restorative therapies for children and adults, employment counseling, life skills training, early childhood education, medical and mental health services, and more. Together, these tools empower women and children to heal, transform their lives, achieve greater self-sufficiency and build the foundation for safer, brighter futures.

Learn more about the Children’s Village project by visiting www.lotusendowment.org/the-childrens-village/ or contacting Constance Collins (constance@lotusendowment.org).


By ML Staff. Images Courtesy Of Lotus House

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