Community Foundation for Brevard Funds $66K for Medical Research at Florida Tech

Community Foundation for Brevard Funds Medical Research at Florida Tech

$66K in Grants Will Support Ongoing Studies of Alzheimer’s, Cancer


From left, Michael Grace, senior associate dean, college of science; Eric Guisbert, assistant professor of biological sciences; Shaohua Xu, associate professor of biological sciences; Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay; Theresa Grimison, president and CEO, Community Foundation for Brevard; Elizabeth Shorr and Ron Bray, members of the Foundation’s board of directors; Lisa Davidson, grants and program manager at the Foundation, and Hamid Rassoul, dean of the college of science.














MELBOURNE, FLA. — The Community Foundation for Brevard awarded two Florida Institute of Technology researchers $33,000 grants under the initiative Medical Research Grant to Find Cause and/or Cure for Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Other Pervasive Diseases. The competitive program is funded from the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Brevard.

One grant will assist Shaohua Xu, associate professor of biological sciences, in his work on the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. The other will support Eric Guisbert, assistant professor of biological sciences, in his efforts to understand the roles of heat shock proteins in cancer.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Xu’s work on the identification of destructive gels formed by amyloid fibers in brain cells has introduced a new understanding of the disease and a new target to attack.

In Alzheimer’s victims, normal protein molecules called “tau” abnormally join to form tangled fibers. The fibers and the gel they produce accumulate until essential substances cannot move normally through cells of the affected brain. As brain cells subsequently die, memory and mental functioning deteriorate.

Xu’s grant will support his lab’s testing of drugs that may be able to halt the gel formation process and lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Equally significant is Guisbert’s research involving cancer, which will afflict more than one out of every three people during their lifetimes.

Guisbert’s research is focused on a new approach for the development of a targeted anticancer therapeutic and investigating the cancer role of the protein HSF1, a key component of cells’ responses to stress. This component of a cellular “heat shock” response has been known for more than 50 years, and has been implicated in several forms of the disease, including breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer. But it is still very poorly understood. Guisbert is working to define the role of HSF1 in cancer with the goal of producing new and more effective anti-cancer treatments.

“The Community Foundation for Brevard is proud of its association with Florida Tech and to be stewards of the Finken family legacy and their support for cause and cure research,” said Theresa Grimison, president and CEO of the Foundation.

Kenneth Finken was a graduate of Columbia University and held four patents. He retired from the Government Electronic Systems division of Harris Corporation.

This is the 10th award to Florida Tech from the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund for medical research with a combined value of nearly $430,000.

Read the Full Press Release.

Community Foundation for Brevard Names Theresa Grimison New President and CEO

Theresa Grimison, President and CEO

Today is an incredibly exciting day as we announce that there is a new-yet-familiar face that will be leading the team at the Community Foundation for Brevard.

The Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for Brevard is pleased to announce Theresa Grimison has been named as our new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. We believe her professional background, strategic acumen and passion for the community is well-suited to help guide the Foundation’s mission and vision into the future.

Read the full press release

Since October 2015 Theresa has worked closely with many donors, fund advisers and community partners. As she pivots to her new role, Theresa will continue to build awareness of the Community Foundation and advance our unique role as a steward with whom everyone can pursue their philanthropic desires through an investment in the prosperity and future of our community.

For over 36 years, individuals, families, businesses, and organizations have come to the Community Foundation for Brevard to create charitable funds that help meet the challenges of Brevard County. The Foundation offers a wide range of charitable giving options that provide tax benefits and connects donors to causes they care most about. Gifts allow the Foundation to respond quickly to the needs of the growing community, providing leadership and direction through proactive grants to non-profit organizations throughout Brevard County and beyond.

Feel free to reach out and welcome Theresa to her new role.


Michael Cerow, CPA

Chair, Board of Directors


Contact usWe’d love to hear from you!

Now Open! – 2017 Medical Research Grant Application

The 2017 Medical Research Competitive Cycle is NOW OPEN!

Deadline – June 8, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

The Community Foundation for Brevard has officially announced our Medical – Pervasive Disease Cause and Cure Research Competitive Grant Application process is open from May 8, 2017 with a deadline of June 1, 2017. 











The recommended medical cause and cure research grant maximum request per applicant is approximately $33,000.

If you have any questions, or to submit your application, please e-mail to:

Thank you for your interest!



Thank You for Putting Your HEART into Brevard

At the Community Foundation for Brevard we are lucky to work with so many big hearts each and every day! We owe all that we do to your kindness, generosity, passion, and love. The month of February is all about heart.  And so the Community Foundation thought it was the perfect time to help your heart feel full by sharing some of the reasons we adore our one true love: Brevard County.

Of course there are countless reasons to love the Space Coast – the joy of a sunset walk over 72 miles of breathtaking coastline, the thrill of exploring the Indian River lagoon, feeding the giraffes at one of the best zoos in the country, or feeling the rumble beneath your feet during a live rocket launch!

But there are MANY things to LOVE about Brevard. Here are just a few that we’re sure will make your heart go pitter-patter for the place you live, work and play.

The Great Outdoors

If your Valentine’s plans include spending some time in the great outdoors, you’re in the right place! Outdoor enthusiasts have 20,000 acres of freshwater rivers and lakes bordered by approximately 170,000 acres of wetlands to explore by foot or boat. With 250 square miles of federally protected wildlife refuges and several state conservation areas, get out and see if you can catch a glimpse of our diverse wildlife – including 4,000 species of animals. With an average temperature 73 degrees, put on your dress flops, take your sweetheart by the hand and head outdoors!

Arts & Culture

In Brevard County, there is certainly no shortage of arts and entertainment options for those looking for some culture for a special date night this month. Amazing theatrical venues, orchestras, ballets, art galleries, antique shops and museums are found throughout the Space Coast. There’s also not a lack of festivals happening each weekend – food, drink, music, art – whatever your interest, Brevard has it.

Community & Non-profit Organizations

Lastly, but certainly not least are the amazing charitable and non-profit organizations doing vital work along the Space Coast. As you can imagine – we LOVE THEM ALL! So grab your sweetie and give the gift of your time.  Or, attend one of the many wonderful fundraising events happening around town this month. Whether your passion is animals, the environment, children & families, education, human services, or health & wellness, there is sure to be a great organization that you can help to support.

These are just some of the reasons to love Brevard County. There are certainly many more. But at the Community Foundation, we know our region faces many struggles too. That is why we are happy to serve as a trusted resource and leader for philanthropic individuals and organizations to expand, enhance and sustain Brevard County’s quality of life – Forever!  Learn more about giving with us.





Simplify Your Year-End Giving


Now is a great time for giving.

When you make a donation by December 31st to the Community Foundation for Brevard, you aren’t just giving money—you’re making a difference in our community. And, by making your charitable gift now, you can take advantage of personal financial benefits resulting in stronger giving and greater impact. It’s a win-win for Brevard County and for you.

Here are some great ways to make the most of your year-end giving:

  • Give now—decide later.
    If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction this year but are undecided about which nonprofits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation for Brevard. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years. A donor-advised fund can be set up in one meeting.
  • Give early and complete your gift by December 31. 
    A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if not cashed until the following year. Gifts by credit card are complete when your credit card account is charged. Gifts of stock and real estate are more complex, so be sure to get in touch with us to discuss.
  • Know the organizations you support. 
    While there are many worthy causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible. If you give through The Community Foundation for Brevard, we will document the status of all nonprofits prior to making a gift on your behalf and can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift.
  • Review your stocks. 
    If you’d like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling stock will incur capital gains on the appreciation, but if you gift stock, you will receive a charitable deduction for the current market value of the stock—just as you would with a cash gift.
  • Charitable IRA Rollover. If you are 70½ years or older, you can donate up to $100,000 from your individual retirement accounts (IRAs) directly to the Community Foundation, subject to some stipulations that we can explain.
  • Create a giving plan. 
    The Community Foundation for Brevard can help you create a giving plan to help you think strategically about how you give and to what organizations. This ensures that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about while maximizing tax advantages.
  • Let us do the legwork.
    Working with a philanthropic advisor at The Community Foundation for Brevard gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the local nonprofit community and the broad charitable needs of our region so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our community.

With a wide variety of giving funds – from endowments to advised funds – we provide the most flexible vehicles for your philanthropy and connect you to the local initiatives that matter most.

Happy holidays & all the best for a prosperous New Year!

Questions? Call us anytime at 321-752-5505 or email

REGISTER NOW! 2017 Grantmaker Briefing Sessions


Registration is NOW OPEN!

This January the Community Foundation for Brevard will be hosting two briefings featuring several of Brevard’s noted grant-makers. These sessions are free for 501(c)(3) organizations (non-profits) and a valuable opportunity to learn what grant makers anticipate for the upcoming 2017 grant cycle, tips for submitting a competitive grant application and lessons learned from previous years.



Also, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook to stay connected to news and events happening within your Community Foundation.

Foundation Focus Newsletter

Have you read the latest edition of Foundation Focus?

The Foundation’s newsletter highlights donors, grants and activities to keep you informed about how your dollars are working to make a difference in Brevard County.

Keep up with your community and your community foundation by clicking and downloading our latest fall edition below:


Fall 2016 – Issue 11

Community Foundation Announces Scholarship Opportunities – Deadline: November 1

Did you graduate from a Brevard County High School and interested in scholarship opportunities?

logoThe Community Foundation administers a college scholarship program that each year helps local students pursue their dreams and goals at colleges and universities.

For more information and to apply, visit our Scholarship page.

Also, please feel free to download our Scholarship Flyer to share on campus or with interested students.

Students interested in applying for a Community Foundation Scholarship should first review each of the available scholarships, as eligibility requirements vary according to the specific wishes of each scholarship fund’s donor.

Good luck!

Community Foundation for Brevard Funds Medical Research at Florida Tech

$40K in Grants Will Support Ongoing Studies of Alzheimer’s, Cancer

In August, the Community Foundation for Brevard awarded $40,000 in Medical Research Grants on behalf of the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund.

The grant of $40,000 awarded to Florida Institute of Technology extends two previously funded cause and cure projects – Alzheimer’s disease and cancer research. The Alzheimer research, spearheaded by Shaohua Xu, associate professor of biological sciences will extend research funded last year by the Community Foundation. The grant for cancer research was awarded to Eric Guisbert, assistant professor of Biological Sciences and Dr. Karen Guisbert. Their focus will be to continue efforts to develop new anti-cancer drugs that target HSF1.

“Kenneth Finken retired from the Government Electronic Systems division of Harris Corporation where he held four patents,” shared Sandi Scannelli, president/CEO, Community Foundation for Brevard.  “His wish was to leave a family legacy that would forever support cause or cure research for Alzheimer’s, cancer and other pervasive diseases. I believe he would be proud of our association with Florida Tech and the important research that is being supported by his legacy fund.”

This is the ninth grant awarded to Florida Tech from the Finken Endowment Fund for medical research. This funding has the potential to extend the length of life and/or improve the quality of life for many and may lead to significant progress in medical research world-wide. Read more in FL Tech’s Press Release


Drs. Xu and Guisbert provide CFB board member and 2016 Grant Committee Chair, Rob Naberhaus and Grants & Program Manager, Lisa Davidson with a tour of their lab areas and discuss their funded medical research projects.





Read the Latest Foundation Focus – Spring 2016

Have you read the latest edition of Foundation Focus? The Foundation’s newsletter highlights donors, grants and activities to keep you informed about how your dollars are working to make a difference in Brevard County. Keep up with your community and your community foundation by clicking and downloading our latest Spring edition below:


NEW! Foundation Focus Spring 2016 – Issue 10