Pathlight HOME Receives 2022 Florida Blue Sapphire Award



First in Health Equity


            Orlando, Florida, 5 May, 2022 – Pathlight HOME, an innovator in supportive housing and vocational training,  was announced last night as the first-place winner of the 17th Annual Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards.  The organization was presented with a check for $100,000 to continue developing and implementing innovative programs to improve health equity in Central Florida.

             Celebrating its 30th anniversary later this year, Pathlight HOME pioneered the transformation of former motel properties into fresh, secure, and affordable efficiency units of supportive housing for Orlando’s homeless population.  Over the past quarter century, Pathlight has assisted more than 7,000 people who have experienced homelessness, and 95% of Pathlight residents, past and present, report better health, greater ability to function independently, and an improved outlook on life as a result of the organization’s efforts. 

            The Florida Blue Foundation is the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan.  Since 2005, the Foundation has presented 130 Sapphire Awards totaling more than $6.3 million to honor and support community programs, coalitions, and solutions that directly contribute to better health outcomes. 


Pathlight HOME Sapphire Award Video.

Florida Blue Press Release. 

Fare Start Catalyst Kitchen Grant

Meals and a Silver Lining…

Thanks to FareStart’s Catalyst Kitchens


The aroma in Pathlight Kitchen is mouthwatering. It wafts behind the carts delivering the freshly prepared, healthy meals to the residents in the three Pathlight HOME Permanent Supportive Housing Programs, who now call one of two transformed hotels home. Once living in the streets, woods, and shelters of Central Florida, they are changing their lives with the help of the nonprofit’s “housing first” philosophy and supportive services. 


Housing may be first, yet developing life skills, marketable job training, and economic opportunities for low-income adults follow pretty closely for this Social Enterprise. That’s why Pathlight Kitchen was developed, with its modern facilities and FREE 12-week Culinary Training Program.


When the world began changing in 2020 due to Covid-19, food industry jobs in this major tourist area declined, leaving many without opportunities to use their culinary skills in Orlando. What didn’t decline was the need for healthy food choices for the formerly homeless, disabled population living at Pathlight HOME. Food insecurity is still front and center in the community, perhaps even more so in the middle of a pandemic.   


Thanks to the generous support of FareStart’s Catalyst Kitchens, Pathlight HOME residents are now assured a nutritious meal each week. Not only are meals funded, but also the two, part-time culinary positions needed to help prepare the healthy deliciousness. What a silver lining!


One of the hired staffers, a graduate of the Pathlight Kitchen Culinary Training Program, is thrilled to be working alongside of Chef Esteban Torres, using the many cooking skills he taught her, and getting paid for doing what she loves. “I thought I was a good cook until I went to the class,” she says of her newfound talents. “I’m just grateful it’s here. It’s helped me immensely.”


The top-notch culinary student was very grateful to be sought out to apply for this opportunity. A gentle, determined team member putting her life back together one day at a time, she shares that taking the hands-on culinary training course and being hired for this position by the Chef - where she’s responsible for much of the wonderful aroma in the kitchen of late - are bringing her “a step closer to feeling like a real person again.”


The other new culinary staffer literally lights up the room with his smile and his gratitude at having been referred for the position by Pathlight HOME’s Senior Property Manager, upon learning that his work hours and paycheck had been sliced in half due to Covid-19. As a Line Cook in a high-end, Orlando restaurant on International Drive, he is well-suited for the culinary duties and thrilled to be onboard. “I like cooking; and if it wasn’t for them [the office staff], I don’t know where I’d be,” he says. “I like being here.”


Having gotten his life back together from time spent in a homeless shelter, and loving his Pathlight HOME apartment, his part-time hours and well-earned paychecks from Pathlight Kitchen are a perfect antidote for his worry about not being able to pay his rent and bills on time during the restaurant hiatus. The position is also a constructive outlet for this appreciative team member’s emotional outlook during this time of masks and isolation. “Me sitting at home with nothing to do…I’d go crazy,” he explains.


Not only do these culinary team members take great pride in their craft, but also in their ability to provide neighbors with nutritious, delicious meals. “I want to feed everybody,” says one. “It feels good to contribute…to help out,” says her colleague.


Second Place Winner of Best Places to Work Multifamily for Women

We are thrilled to announce that we have been named second in the nation in their top 25 National Best Places to Work Multifamily® for Women!

We at Pathlight HOME have some exciting news to share amid this challenging time in Central Florida and the entire country. Via live broadcast from Scottsdale, Arizona, the Multifamily Leadership organization bestowed an honor on our nonprofit team. We are thrilled to announce that we have been named second in the nation in their top 25 National Best Places to Work Multifamily® for Women!


With most of our Pathlight HOME staff working and watching the Multifamily Leadership’s recent live, online presentation from our homes, and a skeleton crew of essential employees watching from the office (and employing social distancing), we each held our breath as the finalists’ names were read and video tributes and messages from the CEOs were aired. Complete with formal dress, music, a podium and stanchions, the online excitement created by Multifamily Leadership colleagues as they announced the rankings, from 25th up to first place, was almost as palpable as being there. We’ve since learned that over 500 multifamily industry executives and their teams, representing 44 states, joined the digital event to hear the results and celebrate the accomplishments of all 25 ranking companies.


The Multifamily Industry, serving apartments and their residents, contributes more than $3.4 trillion to the US economy annually, supporting more than 17.5 million jobs. To earn a place on their prestigious list of 25 best places for women to work, we had to have previously ranked on the Official National Best Places to Work Multifamily® list, a cadre of 58 companies in the multifamily field that was revealed at a conference in November 2019. The rigorous assessment process for that award evaluated each company’s employee policies and procedures as well as responses from their employees. We also had to have created a culture in which the women who were surveyed provided positive responses about where they worked.


And we’re proud to have succeeded in both of these criteria, with Pathlight HOME having ranked 18th on the original list of 58 finalists nationwide, the only nonprofit organization among them. And with 77% of the Pathlight HOME team of 30 being female, including our President Emeritus/CEO and President, our organization’s culture is most definitely supportive of women.


Though we couldn’t see one other during the virtual event, our staff could feel each other’s vibes of excitement throughout Central Florida when Pathlight HOME was announced! (That’s team spirit!) The video of photos that Multifamily Leadership created to showcase our staff and the virtual remarks of appreciation to by our president, Babette Allen, did our troop proud and we are very grateful.


To have the caring work that the women – and men – of Pathlight HOME do each day to help change the lives of our formerly homeless residents recognized as #2 of 25 in the National Best Places to Work Multifamily® for Women is beyond thrilling! And to know so many in our community continue to support our mission makes it that much better!

Honoring Rev. Maxwell’s Legacy

Rev. Fred Maxwell was a pillar of hope in Central Florida.

Widely considered the father of our region’s black preachers, Rev. Maxwell preached throughout the community and served as pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church for 37 years. He was a civil rights leader, known for his intellect and eloquence.


Rev. Maxwell had great compassion for those who were suffering. Whenever he saw anyone in need, he wanted to find a way to make it better. He was particularly concerned with helping homeless men and women who lived on the streets, exposed to the elements without a place to call home. That concern led him to co-found Pathlight HOME almost thirty years ago.


Rev. Maxwell embodied the values of humility and hard work, and his impact on the community was recognized during his life with the Community Father’s Award, Orange County Humanitarian of the Year, Maxwell-Wright Lifetime Achievement Award and Florida Bar Foundation Medal of Honor.


Rev. Maxwell passed away almost 15 years ago, and we still miss him – his smile, his voice, his compassion, and his constant reassurance of our faith in the power of God to change the world. But we are proud that his legacy lives on at Pathlight HOME every day – and that his impact continues long past his death.

2005 Black History Celebration Banquet Humanitarian Award for Rev. Dr. Fred L. Maxwell
1998 Florida Bar Foundation Medal of Honor for Rev. Fred L. Maxwell
Nominee Recognition of Rev. Fred L. Maxwell for Religious Hall of Fame October 25 2002
Jacksonville Times-Union Article Plaque Announcing Rev. Fred L. Maxwell Inducted into Florida Religious Hall of Fame in 2002
The 2002 Maxwell-Wright Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to Rev. Fred L. Maxwell by the Florida Religious Hall of Fame, Jacksonville, Florida
1997 Liberty Bell Award from the Orange County Bar Association presented to Rev. Fred L. Maxwell
2001 Orange County Government Humanitarian of the Year Award presented to Rev. Dr. Fred L. Maxwell for Outstanding Contributions to the Citizens of Orange County
2006 Black History Month Honoree Dr. Fred L. Maxwell - Lynx Salutes Local Legends Plaque