News and Events

WePromise is a grass-roots community based campaign to support Promise in Brevard. Our focus is to raise funds throughout the community through individuals, business, school and social organizations.

What is Promise In Brevard?

September 26th, 2017

Betsy Farmer, co-founder of Promise in Brevard, explains the organization’s mission and what the $100,000 A Community Thrives grant from the USA TODAY Network will mean for the Space Coast.

Video by Rob Landers and Malcolm Denemark.

Gannett Awards $100,000 to Promise

June 19th, 2017

A Community Thrives, a Gannett program of the USA TODAY Network, awarded $100,000 to Promise in Brevard’s Creative Arts Center.

A West Melbourne nonprofit agency serving adults with disabilities won one of three $100,000 grants awarded by A Community Thrives, a USA Today Network initiative. “It’s an answer to prayer for the families,” Promise in Brevard co-founder Betsy Farmer said about her organization, which will use the money to complete a creative arts center, which is under construction and may have its grand opening in November. Promise competed for online votes with nonprofits from across the country. The organization is building affordable housing for up to 126 special needs tenants next to the Hammock Landing shopping plaza in West Melbourne. 

“We’re so fortunate to work for a big company like Gannett that has a foundation that puts programs like this together,” FLORIDA TODAY President and Publisher Jeff Kiel said Saturday when he announced the award to a group of Promise supporters.  “We’re thrilled that this can help.” 

Beyond helping special needs adults find a place to live, Farmer said Promise also is trying to provide work and social opportunities for them.

The Saturday announcement that Promise in Brevard has won a $100,000 grant for their Creative Arts Center. Jeff Kiel, president and publisher of FLORIDA TODAY addresses a packed room of families and supporters gathered at Melbourne Community Church,in the Metro West Plaza, which allows Promise in Brevard to use their facility for meetings. With him in front of the audience is co-founders Betsy Farmer and her son, Luke. Promise in Brevard will be a community for adults with special needs in West Melbourne.

Part of that plan is the Creative Art Center, which will be open to the public and provide art classes and art therapy. “Art breaks down social barriers,” she said.

As part of its submission for A Community Thrives, Promise put together a three-minute video on which Farmer talks about the art center concept, and Promise participants discussed how art helps them express themselves. The offerings and plans from Promise persuaded Joe Pivinski to relocate from Boca Raton to Brevard County to get his 31-year-old daughter involved. Amanda Pivinski has severe social and communication issues stemming from autism, he said. 

“She can never live alone, but she can have a life here,” Pivinski said.
Pivinski said Promise is the best program he and his wife, Lucille, could find for his daughter. He credits the supporters of the organization. 
“It’s the most incredible grass roots effort I’ve ever seen,” Pivinski said. 

See the full article and video in Florida Today here

Promise Art Center Wins $100,000

June 18th, 2017

We won $100,000! Thank you to A Community Thrives, the USA Today Foundation, The Gannett Foundation and everyone who voted!

See the video!

Promise Progress

January 4th, 2017

Betsy Farmer: 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian

December 12th, 2016

Promise Cafe in Florida Today

September 18th, 2016

WEST MELBOURNE — Betsy Farmer — and her team of administrators and volunteers — are full of promises.

With a groundbreaking on Saturday of the Promise in Brevard Bakery & Cafe, they’re continuing to show those promises aren’t empty but yet another way of assisting local special needs young adults, giving them the opportunity to learn valuable skills that will help them with employment — and life.

The 7,100-square-foot bakery and cafe is scheduled to open next July and will employ at least 10 “Promisers,” the term Farmer — co-founder of Promise Brevard — uses for the people she’s dedicated her life to assisting. The eatery will be in the West Melbourne Community Park, next to the Space Coast Field of Dreams, a sports complex for special-needs athletes. There’s also an apartment complex under construction near Hammock Landings shopping center, a living space on the Promise campus for special need residents.

All combined, Farmer and her supporters hope West Melbourne will serve as a model for the rest of the country.

“Absolutely, positively,” said Farmer, who started Promise in Brevard in 2005. “It’s a model for not only the state but also the country, that this is what happens when a community wraps its arms around its population.”

The cost of the cafe and bakery is $1.7 million. An undisclosed donor has promised a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $500,000 for the project, Farmer said.

While Farmer is excited about the pace of development, it’s hard to believe she is more anxious than Matthew Strobel, a 30-year-old Promiser who is legally blind and bakes cookies at Promise Treasures Thrift Shoppe in the Metro West Shopping Plaza, 3040 West New Haven Ave., West Melbourne.

Now known as “the cookie man,” Strobel plans to use more of his culinary skills and start making breads, pies and desserts at the new facility.

“It gives me a chance to branch out and try my hand out on other things,” Strobel said. “I don’t want to be making cookies all my life.”

See the full article in Florida Today

Einstein Foundation Donation to Promise

September 10th, 2016

Promise Donation

Debi Malone with the Albert E. and Birdie W. Einstein Foundation presents $50,000 donation towards the Promise Cafe & Bakery.

Indiafest Brevard Committee

September 1st, 2016

Promise and Indiafest

Indiafest Brevard Committee presents a $70,000 check to Promise to purchase a much needed handicapped accessible van.

Promise in Brevard Groundbreaking

December 18th, 2015

Promise in Brevard Groundbreaking

Promise in Brevard had it’s groundbreaking ceremony on November 9, 2015. You can see photos here.

You can view media mentions here:
WESH 2 News video
New housing complex will accommodate those with special needs

FLORIDA TODAY article
Promise in Brevard breaks ground

News 13 online article
Brevard group helping special needs adults breaks ground on new campus


Promise U Life Enrichment Center

July 3rd, 2015

Special thanks to the Boeing Employees Community Fund of Florida Space Coast for their $2500 investment in Promise U Life Enrichment Center!

Boeing

Gran Fondo Brevard 2015

May 18th, 2015

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2015 Gran Fondo and thank you!

Gran Fondo 2015

You can see event photos here.

Promise In Brevard Gets $15.8 Million

January 25th, 2015

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation announced a funding package Friday for Promise In Brevard.

Promise In Brevard has been awarded $15.8 million to construct an innovative residential campus for special-needs adults near the Hammock Landing shopping complex. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation announced the financial package this morning during a board meeting at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. Promise In Brevard owns 39 acres of property off Norfolk Parkway, just north of the Carmike West Melbourne 12 movie theater. The nonprofit plans to build a trio of three-story apartment buildings for 125 special-needs residents, along with a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse.

“Our prayers have been answered,” said Executive Director Betsy Farmer, who founded the group in 2005 with her son, Luke, who has Down syndrome.”It’s been a long nine years. But the timing is right, and we’re ready. We’re ready to get this show on the road,” Farmer said.

FHFC officials awarded $11.8 million in federal low-income housing tax credits for the project. The developer will raise capital for construction by selling these tax credits to private investors. Also, FHFC awarded a $3 million developmental-disability grant and $1 million from a state apartment-incentive loan program. Last December, the agency awarded similar packages to construct Arc Village in Jacksonville and Villages at Noah’s Landing in Lakeland for disabled people. Tuesday, the West Melbourne Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved an 18-month extension for the project’s conceptual site plan. Farmer hopes to host a groundbreaking ceremony in July. In the future, the nonprofit hopes to start various on- and off-campus businesses to employ 80 to 90 percent of its special-needs residents. These include a hydroponic garden, plant nursery, farmers market, hair and nail salon, bed-and-breakfast, dog park and a café at the Field of Dreams sports complex.

Dreams begin to build soon as Gov. Scott kicks in $2M. And in a second, separately funded development on the Minton Road side of campus, Farmer hopes construction will start next year on a 9-acre townhome subdivision for parents and relatives who want to live near Promise In Brevard residents. “Nobody’s doing what we’re doing. Nobody that I know of in the country is doing a subdivision adjacent for the family members to live,” she said. Farmer said 275 people have filled out surveys expressing interest in living at the future West Melbourne campus. Projected average age of the residents: 29.

The nonprofit’s first business, Promise Treasures Thrift Shoppe, opened in October 2013 at Metro West Shopping Plaza. Eight special-needs workers are on the payroll, and more than 30 have received vocational training, Farmer said. More than 40 volunteers help staff the thrift store and accompanying café. The venture attracts about 1,500 customers per month and generated a better-than-expected $23,000 in gross income in October, Farmer said.

Promise In Brevard initially targeted Viera for a housing site. Later, a potential property in Palm Bay fell through before the organization chose West Melbourne. “It’s been a long and winding road, that’s for sure. But you know, God gave me this vision nine years ago when my son Luke told me that he wanted to move out and live on his own like his big brother, Josh, who’s a fire-medic with the county,” Farmer said. “I started looking around to see what was available for him — and all it was was group homes,” she said. “He’s been mainstreamed. He wants to be with friends and people, and have a life.”

Six Florida Institute of Technology students will live at the complex as housing assistants, Farmer said. She joked that, “for six and a half years, when I shared this vision with people, they thought I was nuts.” “My dream is to help other communities around the country do this. If we can do this in little West Melbourne, why can’t bigger cities do this too?”

See the article in Florida Today

Betsy Farmer 2014 Business Leader of the Year – Social Entrepreneur

December 8th, 2014

Space Coast Business has announced Betsy Farmer of Promise in Brevard is the 2014 Business Leader of the Year: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR. You can read the article at Space Coast Business or see the article excerpt here | show / hide article.

2014 Business Leader of the Year: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

Betsy Farmer firmly believes, “God can do anything with someone who is willing,” and she cites herself as the perfect example. It is that conviction, along with her passion to ensure that opportunity is available for others, which has propelled her for years. Today, if there was a contest for the most effective serial social entrepreneur in the region, she would certainly rise to the top of the list. In 1987, seeing the challenges of her own son with special needs, Luke, she launched the award-winning Space Coast Early Intervention Center to foster social, physical and developmental skills in preparation for school life.

As Luke grew older, Farmer realized that career options for her son were also limited and narrowly defined. Once again, she fought stereotypes and worked with the business community to expand the employment opportunities for individuals with special needs by establishing the Brevard Business Leadership Network. But perhaps her most ambitious project was aimed at providing Luke and others dealing with similar challenges with a positive and safe independent living environment. Promise In Brevard is a beautiful, groundbreaking, nearly 20-acre development specifically designed to provide a unique setting for individuals and their families and it soon will be breaking ground in Brevard.

“My goal for my son, and for others we serve, is to instill in them an ‘I can do it’ attitude.”

The promise is, “a place where young adults with special needs can live a life full of opportunities and freedom never thought possible.”



Promise Video

September 10th, 2014

Promising Future for Promise in Brevard

January 3rd, 2013

This is a fantastic article that recently appeared in Florida Today. Read the full text of the article on the Promise website right here. show / hide article

Promising Future for Promise in Brevard

Group’s vision is clear: build a place where special-needs adults and families can live and work on their own

Pick almost any weekend, and you can find Betsy Farmer at some sort of community event raising money for Promise in Brevard, a proposed housing complex for special-needs individuals and their families. “I can see the community rallying around this project,” said Farmer, the executive director and the mastermind of Promise in Brevard, which is designed to give special-needs adults a place where they can live and work integrated with the general public. That community support has helped Promise in Brevard, as well as Brevard Field of Dreams, the separate, but similar project to build a sport complex for special-needs children, continue to move forward. Both are slated to be built in West Melbourne. Combined, the two projects are poised to create a centerpiece in the city that, when complete, will set West Melbourne apart, city leaders say. “I think the community is truly excited about this,” West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose said. “It’s a project that crosses all lines and all levels. I think everyone wants to be a part of it.”

Since Promise in Brevard began its fundraising last fall, dozens of businesses and groups have stepped up to lend support, raising money with raffles, bowl-a-thons, Zumba classes and other events. Among the biggest supporters has been Florida Tech, which will partner with Promise in Brevard. Students from the university will have the opportunity to live rent-free at Promise in Brevard in exchange for working at the complex as housing assistants. The students, however, didn’t wait for the construction to be complete before they started their work. The Florida Tech chapter of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, for example, adopted Promise in Brevard, providing physical labor and financial support at the non-profit’s events. And Florida Tech marketing students coordinated an online and campus campaign that helped Promise in Brevard win $10,000 from the Chase Community Giving competition on Facebook.

But the single largest contribution has come from West Melbourne, which agreed to give $75,000 in funding it received that can only be used for affordable housing to Promise in Brevard. “They are not just giving us cash, they are giving us an opportunity,” Farmer said. “They have this amazing vision of what’s going to be really great for their community. They want our kids to be an integral part of their community. “I love the fact they can see the big picture.”

The process hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Promise. When it was announced last year, the housing complex was to be built on the south side of Norfolk Parkway east of Minton Road. But the deal for 20 acres fell through, and Promise in Brevard was eventually outbid on that land, which was a part of an overall 62-acre parcel. But Farmer wasn’t deterred. She knew the property across the street was for sale and worked out a deal with its owner Don Facciobene, whose construction company will also build the complex. “This is where we are supposed to be,” she said. “Sometimes, things happen for a reason.” Promise in Brevard will pay $1.5 million for the 39 acres, however the purchase will be broken up into three transactions with Promise paying for $500,000 each third of the parcel, Farmer said.

Promise in Brevard has been approved for a $750,000 predevelopment loan from the Florida Housing and Finance Corporation, a portion of which will be used to purchase the first 11 acres where the housing complex will be built, she said. The housing complex is estimated to cost $13 million, but Farmer estimated Promise in Brevard will need about $2 million in additional fundraising to build the project without the need for it to take out a mortgage.

The organization, she said, will apply to the state for $9.75 million in low-income housing tax credits to finance a large portion of the cost. Those credits can be sold to corporations with the proceeds going to pay construction costs. Farmer is confident that the donations will come in, either little by little through the community fundraisers or by the “secret millionaire” that Farmer says, only half-jokingly, will come out of the blue to help the project. But what’s got Farmer excited about Promise in Brevard is that the residents who live there will soon be able to serve the community that supported them. A big part of the Promise in Brevard model is creating jobs for the future residents, of which only about 26 percent are employed. Among the businesses that will be housed at the complex are a hydroponic garden and nursery with produce being sold at a farmer’s market, a thrift store, a pet day care and a special needs-friendly bed and breakfast. All will be staffed by Promise in Brevard residents. “By the time we get this up and running, we expect to have about 80 to 90 percent of our residents working,” Farmer said. Instead of asking for donations, “We can tell the community come to our businesses. Come to the farmer’s market. Come have lunch. Support us that way.”

Promise Cafe and Bakery, another job component of Promise in Brevard, won’t be on the housing complex, but about a mile north on Minton Road at West Melbourne Community Park. The restaurant will provide culinary arts training for Promise in Brevard residents while providing concessions for the park. To the north of the cafe will be Brevard Field of Dreams, which, while more quietly, is making similar advances. The board of directors for the sports complex, which will sit on about five acres of an 18-acre city-owned park, recently approved the conceptual drawings of the future facility, board member Milo Zonka said. Zonka described the fundraising for the sports complex as “promising,” but said the non-profit group wasn’t able to discuss those details yet. Potential donors, he said, want to see the project move closer to being shovel-ready before publicly announcing any financial commitments. The support from West Melbourne to do “all of the stuff that is not exciting, but is absolutely necessary,” like drainage, water and sewer line connections, are key to getting the project ready to built, Zonka said. “They have committed again and again and again to get this thing through,” he said.

Written by Susanne Cervenka FLORIDA TODAY



Chase Community Giving

September 29th, 2012

We did it…
Promise won $10,000 from Chase Community Giving, from your efforts! We can’t thank you all enough for everything you didi to make it possible.

You can still see the video here.

Successful Second ScrubJay 5k!

September 28th, 2012

Our Second Annual Scrub Jay 5K Run-Walk & Duathlon was a great success! Over 200 participants enjoyed the gorgeous course through the natural setting at the Chain of Lakes Park.

Scrub Jay 5k

Thanks to all of our sponsors; Florida Today, All Service Graphics, The Avenue Viera, Dixie Crossroads, Gray Robinson, P.A., Parrish Medical Center, The Viera Company, Florida Institute of Technology, Health First, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Starkey Wealth Management Group, BrightHouse Networks, Seaside Piecemakers Quilt Club, Courtyard Marriott, Residence Inn – Melbourne, Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Pizza Gallery and Grill.

We’d also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department and Titusville Police Department who did an awesome job keeping everyone safe while dozens of volunteers cheered on the racers all through both courses. Racers credited a great racing experience to their excellence!

Save the Date for our Third event on Sunday, January 25, 2015!
For race results go to RunningZone.com and here are some 2014 event photos.

Promise Gets Donation from Sam’s

September 9th, 2012

Promise Co-Founder Luke Farmer receives $2,000 donation from Sam’s Club Melbourne Associates.

Sams

Special thanks to Sam’s Club Melbourne Manager Larry Cherry and Membership Manager Nick Mathews for making this donation possible.

Boeing ECF Invests in Promise

August 3rd, 2012

Special thanks to the Boeing Employees Community Fund of Florida Space Coast for their $3000 investment in Promise!

Boeing

Pictured above: Luke Farmer, Promise Co-Founder; Janet Rawlins, President of Boeing ECF; Betsy Farmer, Promise Co-Founder; and Marcy Solomon, ECF’s Corresponding Secretary.

Betsy Farmer, “Top People to Watch”

May 28th, 2012

2012 Economic Yearbook
Economic Indicators for Florida’s Space Coast
by Jerry Jackson    

Promise Executive Director, Betsy Farmer has been named Florida Trends’ Top People to Watch in the Space Coast Area—April 2012. Betsy was highlighted as one of three individuals for her outstanding dedication toward making Promise a reality! Betsy along side Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of the Air Force 45th Space Wing and director of the Eastern Range, and Mr. Mike Werner, the president of the Space Coast Economic Development Commission, and vice president of Knight’s Armament in Titusville, one of north Brevard’s largest manufacturers were recognized in the 2012 Economic Yearbook as “One of Florida Trends’ Top People To Watch.”

For additional information visit:
Florida Trends’ Top People to Watch

Betsy Farmer is in the SCB 100

April 5th, 2012

Betsy Farmer has been added to the Space Coast Business 100 which honors the most admired business people in Brevard County. You can read the full article and find the list of 100 here.

Promise Zumbathon a Success

March 26th, 2012

The Promise Zumbathon Party was a huge success. More than 200 people attended the event at Max K. Rodes Park Community Center in West Melbourne. You can see some photos here and a gallery here!

An article recently appeared in Hometown News. You can read the complete article here.

Florida Tech Football Players at Zumbathon

March 16th, 2012

Thirty Florida Tech football players will have a new lineup this St. Patrick’s Day – one that involves a little less tackling and a lot more rhythm.

An article recently appeared in Hometown News. You can read the complete article here.

Promise in Brevard Finds a Home

December 20th, 2011

Promise in Brevard, the proposed housing complex for individuals with and without special needs, has a home after six years of searching. Promise in Brevard executive director Betsy Farmer announced plans to purchase 20 acres on Norfolk Parkway in West Melbourne for the complex.

A wonderful article recently appeared in Florida Today. You can read the complete article here.

Space Coast Business Top 100

May 1st, 2010

Betsy Farmer is in the Space Coast Business 100 Most Powerful People on the Space Coast. You can see the article on the Space Coast Business web site here.

A Mother’s Promise

May 1st, 2010

Space Coast Living magazine recently featured an article on Promise. It is entitled "A Mother’s Promise", and you can download the pdf and read the article here.

Promise is in Florida Today

December 20th, 2009

Check out the article about Promise in Florida Today … Space Coast Special Needs Proposal Gains Speed | floridatoday.com | FLORIDA TODAY … With every dollar raised, Betsy Farmer’s dream of a special facility for people with special needs moves closer to reality. You can read the article here.

“With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

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