Tampa’s MacDonald Training Center receives ‘life-changing’ gift from Krewe of West Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — Imagine keeping a promise for 62 years, over two generations. Now imagine that promise was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On Friday, a Tampa organization that helps hundreds of people with disabilities received a very special gift.

The Krewe of West Tampa, formerly known as the Sherife Association of West Tampa, presented two checks to the Macdonald Training Center (MTC). One was payable to the training center and the other for the same amount for the group of parents who participate in the organization of activities for adults with disabilities.

The two checks were made out to the amount of $154,220.

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Darrin Guam, chairman of the MacDonald Training Center board, said the gift left him speechless.

“It’s life changing for the people we serve and their parents and those are the people who really need the money,” he explained.

The money will go a long way toward helping with job training and building independence for the hundreds of people they serve, a mission that helped founder J. Clifford MacDonald win the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Yet this is not just a gift, but rather a promise made over 60 years ago.

In 1959, the West Tampa Sherife Association swore that if it ever sold its building, it would donate a portion of the profits to the MacDonald Training Center.

So when the pandemic forced the coterie to sell, they knew they would pull off this deal.

“It says a lot about the community of West Tampa and the people of Tampa. We are just blown away,” Guam said.

“We are happy to help you and why not help you? That’s what we’re supposed to do anyway,” added Amanda Stephens of the Krewe of West Tampa.

For an organization that has been giving back to the community for more than seven decades, the gift is a reminder that kindness always comes back, even when you least expect it.

“It’s so heartwarming just before the holidays to receive a huge gift. It shows how generous and selfless the people of Tampa are. They made a commitment in the 1950s and here we are more than 60 years later, fulfilling their promise and we had no idea. They did it on their own,” Guam explained.

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