We Proudly Support the Community We Serve
Because we’re a longtime local builder, we feel it’s essential to give back to the community that has given us so much of the years. At Lee Wetherington Homes, giving back has always been an honor and our pleasure. Each year, we contribute part of our profits – as well as our time and talents – to a number of local organizations and causes that are near and dear to our hearts.
The Lee Wetherington Foundation
In 2002, Lee Wetherington made an initial gift of $1 million to establish the Lee Wetherington Foundation, administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and today has $2.8 million to award grants, primarily to those whose needs are not addressed by other governmental or charitable entities, with a focus on the less fortunate and especially on disadvantaged youth. Further, he has made a series of print and electronic ads, “Building Bridges,” to encourage others to make philanthropic contributions. Since its inception, the Lee Wetherington Foundation has donated over $2 million in grants to deserving non-profit organizations throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County
Lee Wetherington has been involved with and has been on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County since 1991. Elected to the Executive Committee in 1998, he became Vice-President in 2000 and President in 2001.That same year, he served as board chair. Wetherington has also chaired the Building Committee and is responsible for funding and building the new Fruitville Boys & Girls Club, North Port Boys & Girls Club, and the proposed Venice Boys & Girls Club. In addition, he serves on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, working to raise funds and endowments for the Venice, Fruitville and North Port Clubs. Under his leadership, the committee raised $10 million in seven months.
Lee Wetherington Companies has given more than $600,000 to the children of this community through contributions to the Kids in College Scholarship Fund—which Wetherington founded—and the Boys & Girls Clubs Capital Endowment. In addition, Wetherington’s personal donations of time and talent are incalculable.
In 2009, Lee Wetherington Homes completely remodeled the existing Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club, added two school rooms, offices, and a dance room, remodeled the gym and kitchen, and completely re-painted and re-floored the structure — all pro-bono. Attendance went from less than 75 kids to over 300 kids.
2016: Lee Wetherington Family Village. Lee Wetherington spearheaded the campaign, along with the Community Foundation of Sarasota, to buy 9 duplexes out of foreclosure in a predominately black neighborhood, completely rebuild the structures inside and out, and refurnish all residences, which was paid for by the LW Foundation. It is now transitional housing and home to 18 formerly homeless families, mostly veterans. This initiative not only changed lives but transformed a neighborhood.
Oscar Scherer State Park
Beginning in 2002, Lee Wetherington Homes has provided support for the annual Scrub Jay 5K Run and One-mile Fun Run/Walk and donated $250 from the sale of every home in Willowbend, a Lee Wetherington community adjacent to Oscar Scherer Park. In September 2008, Lee Wetherington Companies donated 16.31 acres — valued at over $800,000 — to Oscar Scherer State Park to use the land for buffering from surrounding urbanization.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
In 2001, Lee Wetherington was named to the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, Inc. He had already been working with these Clubs for many years and provided support to the Kids in College scholarship, among other contributions. Lee Wetherington Homes and trade partners also donated funds and labor to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, valued at $80,000, to update and remodel the Bradenton Unit, a building constructed in 1925. In addition, the company presented a technology grant that allowed the purchase of a new server and associated software to provide networking, backup capabilities, virus prevention and greatly increased efficiency.
In 2012 Lee Wetherington Homes completely refurbished the Teen Center at the Bayshore Club, taking structure down to the studs and including new furniture, televisions and games, computers to study, carpeting, a dance floor, and a new study area. Attendance went from 25 kids to over 100 kids.
Fruitville Public Library of the Sarasota County Library System
In January 2002, Lee Wetherington met with representatives from the new Fruitville Public Library (of the Sarasota County Library System) and its not-for-profit support group, The Friends of Fruitville Public Library, to develop a productive use for the empty space just outside its back doors. Wetherington suggested a unique Reading Garden and donated the resources of Lee Wetherington Homes to make it a reality. He spearheaded the campaign to secure donations of labor and materials for the Garden, which has a Storybook Cottage and stage, waterfall, butterfly garden, herb garden, scented garden, birdhouse, bat house and many other special features. Developed in a public-private partnership among Sarasota County, Lee Wetherington Homes, trade partners, and the Home Builders Association of Sarasota County under the Home Builders Care program, the Reading Garden held its Grand Opening in October 2002. Since then, the Garden has become a cherished, valued asset for residents and the Sarasota County Library System. Valued at more than $250,000, the Reading Garden began to garner awards even in its first year of operation.
United Way of Sarasota County, Inc.
Lee Wetherington organized and co-chaired United Way’s first Day of Sharing in 1992 and repeated his leadership role in subsequent years.
1992: For Children’s Haven and Adult Community Services, Wetherington coordinated donations of labor and materials from Lee Wetherington Homes and others in the building industry to revamp a group home for eight developmentally handicapped young women. He raised over $400,000 in labor and materials and supervised 400 volunteers who refurbished, cleaned, and painted seven buildings in the complex. Contributions of labor and materials resulted in the installation of a new water heater, roof, fascia, bathroom, kitchen, pool area and flooring.
1994: To benefit five different organizations at five different sites, Wetherington spent nine months organizing and chairing a vast project. He supervised 800 volunteers and coordinated over $750,000 donated in labor and materials to refurbish ten buildings.
1995: Wetherington headed teams of volunteers who refurbished a group home for Project Rainbow (Easter Seals) by installing new cabinets, flooring, patio, and deck, and by painting the facilities.
1997: Wetherington organized and helped raise over $25,000 worth of labor and material for The Loveland Center for the Disabled in Venice, Florida.