FLASHBACK: Jim and Cynthia Handley Honored as Space Coast Daily Humanitarians in 2015
By Maria Sonnenberg // January 10, 2023
2015 SPACE COAST DAILY HUMANITARIANS
WATCH: Crosswinds Youth Services captured the Handley’s hearts soon after the couple’s move to the Space Coast and they was quickly asked to serve on the board of directors of the organization, which creates opportunities for young people to thrive and succeed.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County nonprofits can thank former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for introducing Jim and Cynthia Handley to Brevard movers and shakers, community leaders the Handleys would later tap to raise funds for organizations such as Crosswinds.
“We were co-chairs for Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaign in 1994 and that led to our getting involved with so many great people and great organizations,” said Jim Handley.
“We were just going to be a couple of beach bums sitting on beach chairs, but Jeb opened up the doors.”
The Handleys had originally not even intended to move to Brevard. In fact, after they married in 1988, the couple initially planned to sell the Cocoa Beach condo Jim had purchased when he was an engineer with IBM as part of the Apollo Space Program.
“After I moved away, I used the condo only for vacations, and so we came down to sell it, but as we crossed the Causeway, we looked at each other and we realized this was where we wanted to be,” said the Cocoa Beach resident.
Cynthia had participated in politics before the move to Brevard and needed no encouragement to become connected with Brevard’s political scene and community voluntarism.
Crosswinds Youth Services captured Cynthia Handley’s heart soon after the couple’s move to the Space Coast and she was quickly asked to serve on the board of directors of the organization, which creates opportunities for young people to thrive and succeed.
“I was so impressed by what they were doing,” said Handley, who was active with Crosswinds until she was elected to the Florida Network for Families and Children in 2013.
Since the Florida Network distributes funds to groups such as Crossswinds, Handley was forced to resign the Crosswinds board, over which she had presided from 2003 to 2006. It was the only reason she would agree to leave an agency she so highly respected.
Jim gladly led a major capital campaign for the agency raising $3 million. In gratitude, Crosswinds named the Handley Learning Center in the couple’s honor. The couple has also fundraised for Brevard Zoo and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Additionally, Jim was a member of the board of trustees of Brevard Community College, now Eastern Florida State College, for eight years and served on boards of The Boys and Girls Club of Brevard, the Brevard Community College Foundation, the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium, and the King Center. He is presently an Ambassador for Port Canaveral.
He was recently named to the Florida Tax Watch Board. In 2012, he was one of the honorees at the annual Brevard Walk of Fame.
Raising money for worthy causes has been a win-win situations for these “would-be beach bums.”
“We’ve met a lot of wonderful people” said Jim Handley.
ABOUT THE 2015 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure
The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarians include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created in 2008 by Maverick Multimedia, publisher of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily, to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.
All 2015 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2015 edition of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
The first Gala was held in 2010 and is produced by Brevard Productions.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:
• Brevard Family Partnership
• Brevard Neighborhood Coalition
• Brevard Special Olympics – Debbie Spence
• Lila Buescher
• Canine Companions for Independence
• Childrens Hunger Project
• Circles of Care
• Ginger Davis
• Cove Merchants Association
• Dr. Brian Dowdell
• Early Learning Coalition of Brevard
• Betsy Farmer
• Darcia Jones-Francey
• Harris Corp. Foundation
• Malak Hammad
• John & Cynthia Handley
• John Harper
• Mike & Stephanie Haridopolos
• Sheriff Wayne Ivey
• Robert Jordan
• Dr. John Lovejoy Jr. & Dr. John Lovejoy III
• Victor Luebker
• Rita Pritchett
• David Schmitt
• Oscar & Turney Sieveking
• The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Dr. Anthony Catanese.
HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM
As always, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“For the sixth consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 42 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards was part of Space Coast Medicine Week, a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily.