On February 24, 2018, The Dan Marino Foundation was recognized as the 2018 Nonprofit Organization for Innovation by the 2-1-1 Broward 8th Annual Community Care Plan Nonprofit Awards. 2-1-1 Broward is a 24/7 live helpline connecting residents to vital services, counseling, and resources. The nomination process began last year, and finalists were announced at a VIP Reception in January. For the Nonprofit Organization Award for Innovation, DMF shared the stage with two other deserving nominees - Sheridan House Family Ministries and Taylor’s Closet. At the Awards Luncheon, winners were announced, and all awardees received a trophy and $1,000 grant. By winning this award, the Foundation was recognized for its innovative programs offered to community for over 25 years, starting with the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (NCH) Dan Marino Outpatient Center and continuing with Marino Campus.
Dan Marino founded the organization with his wife, Claire, soon after their son, Michael, was diagnosed with autism. “Empowering individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities,” the mission of the Foundation, embodies this commitment.
DMF initiatives include:
Marino Campus is an industry certification program for teens and young adults with disabilities located in downtown Fort Lauderdale and on the FIU Campus in Miami. Class instruction combined with real-world work experience prepare students to obtain industry-leading certifications in Computer Technology and Hospitality, which serve as strong employment bases for our client population.
ViTA DMF is a virtual reality-based training tool. Using virtual humans or “avatars,” participants are immersed in an environment in which they are able to rehearse interviews and practice complex social skills necessary for success on the job.
The NCH Dan Marino Outpatient Center is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive facility with pediatric neurologists, therapists, and other medical professionals with expertise in caring for children with autism. There are more than 60,000 visits annually to the Center including families from as far away as South America and Europe. NCH has taken the Center model and replicated it, leading to 8 additional outpatient centers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.
With studies showing that 1 in 68 children in the US are being diagnosed with autism, this work never been more critical. The Foundation’s programs continue to improve the quality of life of these individuals through increased self-esteem - giving purpose and increasing happiness and independence.