Orlando City SC, FAIRWINDS Announce Orlando Family Stage as Winner of “Small Biz Assist” Contest
Orlando Family Stage becomes Club’s 2021 “Official Small Business”
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 2, 2021) — Orlando City SC and FAIRWINDS have named Orlando Family Stage as the winner of the Club’s “Small Biz Assist” contest, it was announced today. The contest was designed to offer the unique opportunity for one Orlando-based business to become the 2021 Official Small Business of Orlando City.Orlando Family Stage, in addition to producing professional Theatre for Young Audiences and offering camps and classes for Central Florida children, executes a bevy of work in the Central Florida community to help under-resourced children support their emotional/mental health, education/literacy and creativity/imagination. For years, Orlando Family Stage has worked with various organizations throughout the local community including UCP of Central Florida, Edgewood Children’s Ranch, and others to bring theatre experiences and character-building programs to children and families. Orlando Family Stage also offers professional development for teachers through their Engaged Learning Through the Arts (ELTA) programs. Giving teachers the tools to guide children through self-exploration, teamwork and empathy-building exercises to round out their academic education.
“We are incredibly honored to be named the inaugural official Small Business of Orlando City SC,“ said Chris Brown, Executive Director of Orlando Family Stage. “We share Orlando City and FAIRWINDS‘s values of supporting families in Central Florida. This program is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Florida’s only professional Theatre for Young Audiences and the importance of small businesses to our economy.”
“The pandemic brought extraordinary challenges to our community businesses. Orlando Family Stage was creative and nimble in sustaining their business model during this time. FAIRWINDS is proud to support and celebrate Orlando Family Stage in being selected as the “Small Biz Assist” contest winner who will become the 2021 Official Small Business partner of the Orlando City Soccer Club,” said Elisha González, vice president of community relations and government affairs at FAIRWINDS and executive director of the FAIRWINDS Foundation. “FAIRWINDS is committed to the economic success of our community and Orlando Family Stage is a vital art organization in the Central Florida region, making an impact on our local economy, and leading the way in the development of student success.“
“On behalf of the entire Orlando City SC organization, we’d like to welcome Orlando Family Stage to the Lions’ family. Orlando Family Stage is a great organization that is doing wonderful things and providing valuable arts experiences to children in our community. The pandemic has posed difficult challenges for many businesses, especially to those in our local arts and entertainment industry, so we are so happy to provide this unique opportunity to such a deserving community organization,” Orlando City SC VP of Corporate Partnerships Chris Lahey said. “We’d of course like to thank our partners at FAIRWINDS for supporting this program, those who served on our judge’s panel and the many other deserving organizations who applied. We’re very excited to showcase Orlando Family Stage to our fans throughout the remainder of the 2021 season.”
For the past several years, through the Mayor’s matching grant program, Orlando Family Stage has run and hosted the ‘Rockin’ REP Rec Fest’ at four Orlando City Recreation Centers annually. In this program, Orlando Family Stage provides weekly musical theatre instruction, free of charge to children, at the recreation center. At the end of the program all four recreation centers gather to perform a final showcase at Orlando REP, which is free to their friends and family to attend. Orlando Family Stage has also run character-building programs with the Men’s and Women’s Leadership Classes at Evans High School and has done social justice theatre workshops with the children of migrant workers at Apopka HOPE Community Center.
Following submissions, the entrants were reviewed by a panel of judges that included representatives from both Orlando City SC and FAIRWINDS that selected the winning small business that will receive a free 2021 sponsorship package from Orlando City.
Orlando Family Stage, and the performing arts industry in general, has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Orlando REP’s business model is based on bringing large groups of people into an indoor space together – something prohibited for safety precautions over the last year. Actors, designers, technicians, crew, playwrights, musicians and other individuals were forced into unemployment almost immediately as a result of the pandemic. The theatre lost over 80% of its earned income with ticket sales halted, corporate sponsors lacking shows to promote and fewer in-person camps or classes to offer parents of children.
Thanks to loyal supporters, local government, and a government PPP loan, which has already been forgiven, Orlando Family Stage has been able to maintain 100% of their full-time staff at full pay and benefits. The organization has submitted an application for a Shuttered Venues Operating grant, but is still awaiting their application to be processed.
Orlando Family Stage will receive the Club’s 2021 Official Small Business package, which will include in-stadium advertisement, inclusion in Club’s email marketing, ads on OrlandoCitySC.com and more throughout the 2021 regular season.
FAIRWINDS, headed by President and CEO Larry Tobin, is headquartered in Orlando and is consistently ranked as one of the best financial institutions and employers in the region. Founded in 1949, the company has more than 500 employees. FAIRWINDS is the financial partner that doesn’t want our members to have debt. FAIRWINDS empowers members to pursue and achieve their personal and business goals by offering products and services that promote healthy spending and saving habits.
Visit fairwinds.org for more information
About Orlando Family Stage:
Orlando Family Stage (“Orlando REP”), one of Central Florida’s oldest arts groups, is the State of Florida’s only professional Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), and the seventh iteration of a company founded in 1926. Each year, we reach over 100,000 individuals in our three-theatre facility and in the community through our season of professional productions, a Youth Academy of camps and classes, and innovative educational and community engagement programming. We work closely with the University of Central Florida in many different capacities – most notably, hosting the Master of Fine Arts program in Theatre for Young Audiences.
About Orlando City SC:
Orlando City SC joined Major League Soccer (MLS) as the league’s 21st franchise in November 2013, becoming the first MLS team in the Southeast. The Lions began league play in March 2015, and in 2017, moved into its privately-owned downtown soccer stadium. In 2019, Orlando City SC re-launched OCB to bridge the gap between its successful youth development academy and the First Team.
In November 2015, the Club announced its intention to bring professional women’s soccer to Central Florida and launched Orlando Pride in National Women’s Soccer League. The Pride began league play in April 2016 with a star-studded team of FIFA World Cup Champions. For more information, visit orlandocitysc.com or orlando-pride.com.