Pinellas Donor Story – The Long Center – A donor’s view on the power of endowment to sustain a valuable community resource

“Having the vision of a recreational facility and pool in 1974 and being involved on opening day sixteen years later on July 1, 1990 was a very proud moment in my life.”  – Frederick E. Fisher

By Frederick E. Fisher

The unique Long Center opened on July 1, 1990 at 1501 Belcher Road in Clearwater.  The Long Center Foundation planned, funded and constructed the 150,000 sq. ft. facility and later, gifted it to the City of Clearwater with the City’s obligation to provide an Annual Report of activities to the Foundation Trustees. The Foundation subsidizes activities at the Center with income from the $6million Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

Core Programs including “Learn to Swim” lessons at a cost of $10.00, summer camps, a variety of classes and drop-in activities including 18 and under membership – regardless of residence- for $44.00 annually are provided throughout the facility: the glass and steel enclosed Olympic pool, the 25-yard therapeutic pool, the three basketball courts, and the 2,700-foot fitness center and much more.

Four organizations share the facilities with the City of Clearwater.  CFY (CLEARWATER FOR YOUTH) in its 54th year subsidizes dozens of organizations with sports activities for thousands of youth.  In addition, since 2006, CFY has awarded over $500,000 in college scholarships.  CAT (CLEARWATER AQUATIC TEAM), in its 52nd year, is a competitive swim program directed by legendary coach, Randy Reese, a four-time NCAA Coach of the Year and three-time Olympic Coach.  ARC TAMPA BAY provides services for intellectually/developmentally disabled residents and includes access to the Center’s sport’s venues.  The AGING WELL CENTER provides quality of life activities for the community’s older adults.

“I have been blessed to have been getting a paycheck for doing something I love to do for the last 17 years of my life. The Long Center is a place that you truly need to experience to fully understand the magic it offers.”
– Shaun Beasley, Facility Manager
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