CULTIVATING AN ENVIRONMENT
FOR INSPIRING HUMAN POTENTIAL
COLLABORATORY IS ABOUT BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO TALK, TO SHARE IDEAS,
TO EXPERIENCE ART, COMMUNITY, AND THE WORLD.
The Space Coast of Florida has always stood as the doorway to innovation. Since propelling the first man to the moon, we've been known for tackling some of the world's most ambitious challenges through invention and discovery.
Now, our society is at a critical inflection point, a moment of great crisis, of great change, and of great need. Now, we must unite and innovate together.
The Collaboratory will inspire human potential. Exploration is our guiding star, inspiration and action our goal.
THE SKY IS NO LONGER THE LIMIT.
INNOVATE. IDEATE. COLLABORATE.
Collaboratory will be a creative, interdisciplinary space that nurtures universal values, inspires brave and generous thinking, and motivates action.
Integrating arts enrichment, immersive experiences, education and research, discourse and real-world activism, Collaboratory will help people find their voices, expand their thinking, develop awareness, and access the tools and networks to make a positive impact. Through robust, year-round programming, we will bring together the old and young, scientists and artists, philanthropists, civic and business leaders, public officials and more.
The full human experience will be activated, combining beautiful outdoor areas, walkable paths and contemplative spaces, an international art collection, interactive exhibits, working studios, a micro-eatery, meeting areas large and small, a rooftop garden. Originally envisioned within the burgeoning Eau Gallie Arts District, a historic neighborhood of Melbourne, Florida, Collaboratory may be situated in a number of key spots in the community. Whether located in a revitalizing section known for its vibrant lifestyle and creative vibe or in a neighborhood positioned for attracting investment, Collaboratory will take advantage of Central Florida's year-round climate and diverse ecosystem and the Space Coast's unparalleled hub of high-tech industry. No matter its location, Collaboratory and its grounds will hum with access and possibility.
In our fast-changing world, this shared space – the Collaboratory – is a necessity. Now more than ever, we need this place to imagine, innovate, adapt, and explore – together.
Collaboratory’s founding pillars, the ground-breaking K-12 Verdi EcoSchool and the long-established Community Foundation for Brevard, will drive its multi-disciplinary strategy and programming.
Together, Collaboratory will create better solutions for a stronger, more vibrant community, a place and a world where all can participate and thrive.
EXPLORATION IS OUR GUIDING STAR,
INSPIRATION AND ACTION OUR GOAL.
TOGETHER WE CAN BRING
THE COLLABORATORY TO LIFE
Together, these are skills and assets we all need - as children and adults. And now our society is at a critical inflection point, a moment of great crisis, of great change and of great need. We must come together.
With you, with the Community Foundation for Brevard and its deep community knowledge, convening power, and influence, and with the Verdi EcoSchool, a leader in educating and inspiring the citizens of tomorrow – together, with the freedom and passion to innovate – we are the ideal partners to unite people of all ages and walks of life and together.
WITH YOU, WE WILL CREATE THE COLLABORATORY.
WITH YOU, WE WILL TRANSFORM A COMMUNITY AND CHANGE THE WORLD.
Just over 100 years ago, community foundations were started as part of a wave of social innovation. As tax-exempt public charities, community foundations are skillful, multi-dimensional entities that support, in a variety of ways, the vision and intentions of philanthropists who share a common interest – improving the quality of life in their area.
Founded in 1981, the Community Foundation for Brevard’s mission is to ignite powerful and engaging philanthropy to build a stronger, more vibrant community for all.
Representing hundreds of residents engaged in the health and wholeness of the Space Coast, the Community Foundation for Brevard invests in the community, conducts research, collects and shares data, and holds forums and convenings around critical community issues. Coupling knowledge, powerful tools, and deep relationships, the Community Foundation for Brevard activates transformational philanthropy, builds ties across generations, and achieves meaningful community impact.
Recognized nationally as an education innovator, the Verdi EcoSchool is a not-for-profit, K-12, urban farm school foundationally committed to hands-on, project and experiential learning, mixed-age classrooms, social-emotional development, and place- and nature-based education.
Verdi EcoSchool truly goes beyond walls; by expanding learning beyond the traditional classroom and using the community as a campus, students develop a strong connection to nature and place. Through a project-based, interdisciplinary approach, students learn collaboratively and collectively by solving open-ended, multi-disciplinary, real-world challenges.
Multi-age classrooms are composed of students with a diverse range of abilities, ages, and perspectives. Using the conscious discipline framework, Verdi EcoSchool students learn ways to self-regulate and strengthen relationships with each other, helping to build respectful relationships with themselves, peers, parents, and each other. Educators focus on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths and challenges to increase engagement and growth.
OPPORTUNITY FOR INVESTMENT
We envision the Collaboratory as a collaborative collective and a creative, interdisciplinary learning space nurturing universal values, inspiring brave and generous thinking, and motivating action.
Through arts enrichment, immersive experiences, and real-world activism, the Collaboratory will help people find their voices, develop social consciousness, and foster the tools to make a positive impact in the community. Along with its exhibits, the Collaboratory will offer a robust calendar of meaningful arts and cultural programming, multi-generational activities, and courageous convenings that will bring together the old and young, schools, nonprofits, philanthropists, civic and business leaders, and public officials to build a community, and a world, that works for everyone.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish the multi-disciplinary Collaboratory exists because the Florida Institute of Technology, the current owner of the Foosaner Art Museum, is closing the museum, selling the museum’s real estate property, and seeking a qualified nonprofit organization to accept a gift of the museum’s nearly 5,000-object, world-representative art collection valued at approximately $4 million. Additionally, Florida Tech has closed their well-recognized Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts and is interested in divesting this fantastic collection as well.
TOGETHER, THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR BREVARD AND THE VERDI ECOSCHOOL
ARE NOW SEEKING PARTNERS TO BRING THE COLLABORATORY VISION TO LIFE.
We invite you to join us – as a philanthropist, thought leader, and global advocate –
with a transformational investment to make it possible. Together, with your input and
participation at the highest level, we would be honored to discuss and
fine-tune every aspect of the Collaboratory with you.
COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR BREVARD
Theresa Grimison is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Brevard. Founded in 1981, the Community Foundation for Brevard’s mission is to ignite powerful and engaging philanthropy to build a stronger, more vibrant community for all. Theresa is recognized for her expertise in building strong relationships and partnerships with the private and public sectors, as well as with community and philanthropic leaders. She has redefined the Community Foundation’s role as a civic leader, utilizing the Foundation’s voice and networks to uplift community needs and develop strategies to drive greater impact and opportunity for the area. Theresa provides strategic counsel and support to Community Foundation for Brevard’s philanthropists, and oversees the stewardship of $20+ million in charitable assets and the investment of more than $600,000 in annual grants.
Previously, Theresa served as senior director of international development and operations with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. During her tenure, she helped direct a successful $600 million comprehensive campaign in support of policy solutions to address the world’s biggest challenges.
Theresa’s career has spanned executive leadership positions with social enterprise First Book and with New Mexico Governor and Ambassador Bill Richardson’s administration. Prior to that, she served as the deputy director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, helping lead the organization from its inception, grand opening to the public, and significant expansion to international acclaim.
Theresa earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and her MBA at the University of New Mexico. Her life and professional journey have instilled a passion for transformational philanthropy tied with place-based social action.
In 2016, Ayana Verdi established the not for profit, Verdi EcoSchool to provide hands-on educational experiences for children in the historic Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne, Florida. Created originally to offer enrichment options for homeschool families, the Verdi EcoSchool quickly grew to become the first K-8 urban farm school in the southeastern United States.
Nestled on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon, the Verdi EcoSchool uses the community as its campus to create an engaging and immersive environment for children where real-life learning and hands-on experiences shape tomorrow's innovators. Students develop an awareness of their unique place and learn that school doesn't just happen at a desk, in a classroom or within four walls.
Ayana was awarded the prestigious Drexel Fund Fellowship in 2019 and is extending the successful K-8 program by founding a new high school model which incorporates hands-on, immersive learning through practical, real-world internships. The high school will continue to build on the foundations of the urban farm school which emphasizes understanding ecology, community partnerships, and individualized learning. In addition, the high school will feature partnerships with universities and other institutions working to cultivate sustainable agriculture and protect the environment.
Ayana’s educational and professional journey has included studies in both the United States and New Zealand as she pursued a degree in Veterinary Medicine while operating a canine wellness spa in New York City. Inspired by the nature-based school her son attended while she lived and studied in New Zealand, Ayana is committed to cultivating community based and environmentally aware educational options for children.