MIKE’s Community Impact

At the MIKE Endowment, we believe our greatest community impact comes from building up and supporting established or developing other’s programs – whether existing, planned, or in partnership with our own efforts. We subscribe to a focus that is specific to raising awareness about suicide as well as the available resources to assist those at greatest risk and with the most critical need. It is no surprise that the MIKE Endowment puts a premium on the impact we have on the mental health and wellness of our youth – particularly those in Middle and High School — a critical time of psychological and sociological development.

From bullying to social media, the challenges of school as well as struggles in the home, the stress and strains of this vulnerable population demands our commitment and our attention. At the same time, we are fully committed to the adults in our community who may have already (or are at risk of) at risk of falling through the cracks.

There is strength in numbers, value in one-voice, power of community. For that reason, here are just a few of the projects and efforts we have been honored to provide support and impact.

If you have a project or need that fits our mission and objective, please feel free to contact us with additional information and let us know how The MIKE Endowment can help YOU make an impact on our community. Or, if you’re on board and want to support our efforts, please join us by making a charitable donation to the MIKE Endowment through the Mount Dora Community trust (select M.I.K.E. in the drop down).

The MIKE Endowment Makes a $1.25 Million Investment into the Future of Mental Health

On January 5, 2024 – to coincide with the birthday of Mike Ziler on the 6th – The Mount Dora Community Trust (MDCT), the custodian of The MIKE Endowment (Mental Illness and Kindness Endowment) received one of its largest financial commitments ever, earmarked to help ensure the financial future and impact of the MIKE Endowment.

Joe Ziler, founder of the MIKE Endowment, pledged $1.25 million to be distributed in 25 annual disbursements into the fund over the next 25 years as part of a Charitable Lead Annuity Trust. Also known as an “iCLAT,” this type of trust provides unique tax advantages, often used to help offset the financial windfall of large sums such as the sale of a business, inheritance, or lottery winnings.

“This is a rarely used but valuable way for Joe to leave a significant legacy. It is also the first of its kind with the Mount Dora Community Trust,” said Rob English, MDCT’s Executive Director.  “Joe was innovative in how he chose to honor his brother Mike, who took his own life in 2013, when he created the MIKE Endowment to help others struggling with mental health conditions.  It really is little surprise that he was also the first to recognize the value and importance of the iCLAT to perpetuate his commitment to the endowment and the community.”

The MIKE Endowment Invests In Campus-Wide Security System For Mount Dora Christian Academy

The MIKE Endowment has made a significant investment in the safety of Mount Dora Christian Academy. Through a partnership with Mount Dora Community Trust, the school has installed a top-of-the-line security system that spans the entire campus. It’s our pleasure to be committed to the safety and well-being of our staff and students. We aim to bring peace of mind to everyone who works and learns on campus.

Kevco Builders and the Forward Paths House

When Forward Paths – an organization that helps youth who have aged out of foster care – needed a house renovated to be livable, they turned to Joe Ziler and Kevco Builders to help them maximize the grant money they were awarded. The final result is a gorgeous home for four youth who are taking on the next chapter of their lives, all built in memory of the MIKE Endowment’s namesake, Mike Ziler.

The MIKE Endowment Supports Veterans and Helps Give the Combat Cafe a Second Wind

See the full 7.12.22 Daily Commercial story

2022 Communitas Leadership Award

We are so honored that the MIKE Endowment has been recognized with a 2022 Communitas Leadership Award for Excellence In Community Service. Communitas is latin for people helping people for the benefit of their community. Of the hundreds of entries and dozens of winners, only two awards were given within the state of Florida. Thank you to everyone who has helped us further our goal of raising awareness of mental health and suicide and the available resources to help save lives.

2022 Hometown Heroes Awards

MIKE founder, Joe Ziler, was honored as a finalist at the United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties 2022 Hometown Heroes Awards for his ongoing commitment to mental health and suicide prevention and awareness across Lake County. Congratulations to all of the finalists, and especially the 4 organizations/honorees for their tireless community work. We’re honored to be in your company.

Introducing Worth It - JAG (Because you're worth it)

The MIKE Endowment is honored to be one of the primary sponsors of Worth It Suicide Outreach & Support. This Eustis based organization all began – as many do – from a person experience with suicide. Here is their story and why we were so inspired by it. Follow on Facebook.

Support Is In The Bag - 100+ MIKE Backpacks

We delivered more than 100 backpacks to LifeStream Behavioral Center’s The Open Door in Eustis in partnership with One Fire Church and Isaac Deas Consulting. There Is Help. There Is Hope. And there is a community of support for our homeless and those most at risk for mental health conditions.

A Parade Appearance With Purpose

After a trying pandemic year, we know people are a bit more stressed than usual.  Anxiety, depression and isolation have also increased. That’s why we joined the 2021 Eustis Georgefest Parade to share these stress balls with the reminder that there is HOPE and HELP available to those willing and ready to reach out.

Getting On Their Backs About Suicide Awareness

800 backpacks with custom MIKE tags will be distributed to Lake County Schools middle and high school students with contact information about the Speak Out Hotline and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline as part of our continued effort to raise awareness of the available resources for our area students. Thank you to the Education Foundation of Lake County for facilitating this project.

We're On The Road, Spreading The Word

Things continue to come together for the MIKE Endowment. We repurposed one of our Kevco Builders company cars with some extremely impactful messaging.

Supporting Mental Health Training In Schools

In our ongoing commitment to investing into suicide awareness and prevention, the MIKE Endowment presented a check to Carman Cullen-Batt of the Education Foundation of Lake County (FL) for $2000. This money will be used as a grant so that four Lake County Schools teachers/staff can further their mental health training and better serve the students in our community. This marks the first donation made by our organization in partnership with the Mount Dora Community Trust. For more information or to donate, please visit www.TheMIKEFoundation.org

Speak Out Campaign

Kevco president, Joe Ziler is known to say, “If you have the opportunity to make a difference, you have an obligation to make a difference.” This mindset is what inspired him and Kevco builders to underwrite the wrapping of 2 Lake County Sheriff’s Office vehicles and 6 Lake County Schools service vans. The funds for the production and installation of the wraps by Hunter Signs came through Joe’s fundraising efforts with LifeStream Behavioral Center. We hope if YOU “see something, you’ll say something” as we strive to raise awareness of the community resources available to students in need of mental and emotional support. Our thanks to Red Apples Media for helping put all these pieces together. This has been a textbook example of the potential of multiple private and public stakeholders coming together to create one voice, one mission.

The 8th wrapped vehicle – a Lake County Sheriff’s Office pick-up — co-branded with the “Speak Out” message, in partnership with Lake County Schools, is now on the road! Keep an eye out for the 6 school district resource vans and 2 Sheriff’s vehicles, wrapped as a community service by Kevco Builders and designed by Red Apples Media.