Foundation For Dreams Inc
16110 Dream Oaks Place
Bradenton FL 34212-1611

The mission of the Foundation for Dreams is to celebrate the abilities and develop the strengths of children with special needs and chronic illnesses ages 7-17 by collaborating with families to provide individualized result-based goals, family support and recreation in a camp environment. 

CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Elena Tomeo Cassella
Board Chair Mrs. Anna Maria Carleton
Board Chair Affiliation Early Learning Coalition
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1996
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Mar 2018
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Foundation for Dreams Tax Exempt FormView
Impact Statement
This past year we have worked with consultant Hal Williams as a prototype group for the county to integrate Results First language and targets in order to better measure/document outcomes and gains children and parents/caregivers receive from our program. From this new framework and mindset, we have been able to capture the ways we enable children and their families to "burn bright" through our Dream Oaks Camp program: 
  •  440 children with 97 wide-ranging diagnoses (including: ASD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, ADHD, PTSD, Diabetes, blindness) MET individualized goals in areas of behavioral skills, health/hygiene, social interaction, and activities of daily living while attending our program. 
                   Examples of goals met include: initiating appropriate social interaction with peers 1 time per activity and 1 time per meal, utilizing complete sentences when requesting a want/need, brushing teeth thoroughly for at least 2 minutes with 2 prompts or less, transitioning from a preferred to a non-preferred activity with minimal problem behavior, and utilizing mobile aid to walk at least 50% of distances. 
  •  458 parents/caregivers felt the extended respite they received from our program provided great value to themselves and their families, giving them time for other tasks and strengthening the overall family unit
                  Parents/caregivers reported actively using respite time to: relax and rest, go on a vacation/trip, spend time with spouse, complete necessary adult tasks (work, grocery shopping, cleaning, planning party, etc.), spend time with other children, have "me time" (hobbies, massage, etc.), and spend time with friends. 
  • Throughout 7 weeks of summer camp and 13 weekend camps, 463 children (100% of clients served) tried new things and interacted with friends old & new by participating in our 20+ unique, adaptive camp activities and adventures. 
  • Through partnerships with organizations such as JFCS (Camp Mariposa- a national addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth who have been impacted by substance abuse in their families), Children's Cancer Center (FLIGHT Camp- "Families Laughing in Group Hoping Together" weekend retreat for families who have a child diagnosed with cancer) and Parenting Matters (Chosen Families Weekend- unique multi-faceted support program for adoptive families), over 170 children and families have experienced the magic of Dream Oaks Camp in various educational and therapeutic capacities. 
Major Goals for current year: 
  • Begin moving away from tactical fundraising to major donor and legacy based development
  • To continue expanding services by working with other non profit organizations that serve similar populations of children
  • Maximize utilization at our current location to increase capacity and programs
  • Achieve local and regional recognition as a leader in special needs programming
Needs Statement
Top most pressing needs:
  • Creating storage units/supply rooms, allowing rooms currently being used as storage to be repurposed and utilized for camper residential stays. This would increase the number of children we are capable of serving, therefore increasing the number of children benefitting from camp! ($10,000) 
  • Construction of a multipurpose "SuperDome" ($250,000+) 
  • Funds to support losses to program following Hurricane Irma (over 30 trees down resulting in about $20,000 worth of removal fees, $10,000 operational revenue lost due to necessary closing of camp) 
  • Adaptive low ropes course ($15,000) 
  • Due to higher costs associated with raising a child with special needs, a large majority of our families (~90%) require financial assistance in order to send their child to camp, creating an ever-present need for financial support. We keep costs low for our families, for example, our actual costs for one child to attend a week of residential summer camp are $1,475, but we only ask families to be responsible for half of that. However, many still cannot 
Background Statement

Dream Oaks Camp represents a living dream for Eddie Mulock, founder of the Foundation for Dreams, Inc.  While recuperating from heart transplant surgery at Shands Hospital in 1995, he witnessed the plight of many children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. He wondered what these children did away from their many hours at the hospital and was inspired to create a place they could look forward to and call their own. He returned home to Bradenton, Florida and set forth on his mission to plan for and build a camp designed to meet the needs of children with physical and developmental challenges.   In August of 2000, the Foundation for Dreams formed a collaborative partnership with the Southwest Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  This effort allowed the Foundation to build Dream Oaks Camp on the several pristine acres of Camp Flying Eagle, thereby utilizing their existing facilities, while focusing on renovating and building new facilities.  The Foundation for Dreams & Dream Oaks Camp remains independent from the Boy Scouts of America.  In 2001, Mr. Mulock’s dream came true as we welcomed our first summer campers, providing day camp services to 56 children.  In the fall of 2001, a ground breaking ceremony was held to begin the construction of 7 Dream Oaks cabins that sleep up to 20 people, all designed to be barrier-free and inclusive to meet the needs of any child with special needs.   Today, we are proud to say that all 7 cabins have been constructed and we provide services to approximately 600 individuals a year through our year round weekend, residential and day camp sessions with a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio or better. 

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Hillsborough
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
FL- DeSoto
Areas Served Comments We offer a year round program for children with special needs and chronic illnesses. The Foundation for Dreams is unique in that we are the only camp in the Southwest Region of Florida providing year round weekend, spring break and summer residential camp sessions for children with varying ability levels and chronic/terminal medical conditions. We primarily serve Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Tampa and the greater Southwest Region Florida area.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Human Services
Secondary Org Type Recreation & Sports
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Foundation for Dreams takes great pride in our accomplishments and growth over the past 18 years. Starting out with just 50 children for our first summer, we are now serving hundreds and continue to receive new applications. 7,500 children in Manatee County alone have a diagnosed special need, meaning there are so many children and families that have not yet discovered the magic of Dream Oaks Camp. 
As I approach my tenth year as an Early Learning Specialist, I appreciate more and more every day what Foundation for Dreams does for the children they serve. There is an abundance of boundaries that society has put up for children with special needs, creating unique obstacles these children work daily to overcome. Oftentimes, children with special needs are not included because strategies are not modified to their ability level, leading to isolation and frustration. Dream Oaks Camp gives these children a place they can call their own, a place where they feel safe and successful, a place where they belong. The staff members are full of compassion and energy, eager to make campers feel like they are special, loved and accepted. Instead of focusing on a child's disability, staff look at a child's abilities and how they can modify an activity to give the child the confidence to participate. This type of immense, unique support has the power to change a child's life. 
I am so thankful to have found and connected with such an incredible organization as Foundation for Dreams. My hope is that more people find it, allowing us to extend our reach and become recognized as a leader in special needs programming. It is a challenge, but Dream Oaks Camp is too beautiful and special to be a secret! Our camp is truly a place like no other.
I would love to personally extend an invitation to anyone interested in learning more about Foundation for Dreams to visit camp and witness the difference we are making. Thank you to all those who have supported us, it is because of you that children can have a place where the "things that make us different, make us beautiful." 
Anna Maria Carleton
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director


Dear Donors and Supporters of the Foundation for Dreams,

Since 2001, we have served thousands of individuals through our program. We wholeheartedly believe that a child's unique abilities should be not only accepted, but celebrated. Dream Oaks Camp is a place where a child can be recognized as an individual, not by their disability, a place where "the things that make us different, make us beautiful." We focus on what a child can do, not what they cannot! For this reason, each activity is designed to meet the specific needs of each child we serve by adapting strategies to encourage participation of all campers and to highlight their strengths, not their limitations. Activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, arts and crafts, sensory play, yoga, scavenger hunts, etc. are all modified to help campers grow their skills, confidence and independence, all while building meaningful relationships in a safe, barrier-free environment! 

 By maintaining a low direct care staff to camper ratio, we can focus on each child's strength and potential. At camp, children can try new things, grow socially, and have fun while progressing towards goals/productive behaviors. We use research-based practices to monitor and facilitate specific targeted goals for each child. These goals fall within 4 domains: social interaction, activities of daily living, health/hygiene, and behavior strategies. Children that attend camp regularly often achieve gains that can be developed and sustained across multiple settings. Not only are there benefits for children, but parents/caregivers receive a period of respite that allows them to recharge their batteries, spend time with a spouse or other loved ones, perform adult tasks, or just get a full night's sleep! This strengthens the family unit and improves overall family health and well-being. 
Over 90% of our campers receive financial assistance, based upon family size and income.  Many of our participants are unable to pay the minimum fee of $50, due to the financial responsibilities of caring for a child who has special needs or a chronic illness.  The Foundation for Dreams policy states, “we will never turn down a child for the inability to pay”, and to date, we have stood by that promise.  

We are extremely excited about the growth of our program and many new organizations that we have partnered with throughout the years. Thank you to all of our supporters and donors who make all of these dreams a reality! 


With Kindest Regards,


Elena Cassella

Executive Director 


Our program encourages children to recognize each other as individuals, not by their disabilities. Each camp session has a theme and activities specialized to meet the needs of each child we serve. Activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, yoga, art, sports and games, etc. are modified to help campers grow skills, confidence/self-esteem, and independence while building meaningful relationships in a safe environment.

By providing low direct care staff to camper ratios, staff can focus on each child’s strengths and potential. Campers receive individualized goals within 4 domains: social interaction, activities of daily living, health/hygiene, and behavior strategies. By facilitating and monitoring these goals, staff can document the developmental, social and behavioral gains campers are achieving at camp! Campers that attend regularly often sustain and develop these gains across multiple settings.
In addition, parents/caregivers receive respite, improving overall family wellbeing. 
Budget $609,300
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Families
Short Term Success
Milestones: By the end of each camp session: 
1. Parents/caregivers complete application and program intake form. 
2. Staff narrows down individualized targets with the parent before or during check in and they agree to 2 attainable targets for their child to work on during that session.
3. Children progress towards targets within one of four domains: 
   -social interaction
   -behavioral skills
   -health and hygiene
   -activities of daily living  
Milestones: By the end of each camp session, 90% of parents/caregivers...
1. Develop a trusting relationship with our organization and report feeling comfortable knowing their child is safe and protected while at Dream Oaks Camp. They trust their child is being actively managed while at camp and that all of their needs are being met. 
2. Actively use the respite to do something for themselves or other family members. They report it's of great value to themselves and their family's health/wellbeing and they have more gas in the tank as a result. 
Long Term Success
Target 1: Of the 300 children anticipated to be served, 275 will meet individualized, result-based goals set by the parents, derived from the following four domains: activities of daily living, social interaction, health/hygiene skills and behavior strategies. 
Target 2: Of the 300 parents/caregivers anticipated to be served, 275 will find that the planned break or regular respite strengthens the overall family unit. 
Program Success Monitoring
Staff begins a camp session by conversing with parents/caregivers to decide on 2 targets for the child to work on during that session. Counselor/staff facilitates and monitors these targets throughout the camp session, utilizing strategies to assist the child in achieving success and recording data that provides feedback on whether or not the child is progressing. Counselor/staff daily document steps/actions taken to help the child progress towards targets, the child's reaction to those steps/actions, and if the steps/actions were successful. Therefore, successful strategies will be built upon and maintained in future camp sessions, while failed strategies will be discontinued. At the end of each camp session, counselor/staff completes a progress report detailing whether a child met/progressed towards their individualized targets, what strategies were most successful, if the child socially interacted with friends old & new, and what activities the child participated in. This report is then sent home with the parent/caregiver so that successful strategies can be transferred over into multiple environments.
"Tracking to Success" survey is given to parents at the beginning of each camp session, to be returned when they pick their child up. This survey collects brief feedback on child's progress, as well as both quantitative and qualitative feedback from the parent/caregiver regarding comfort level, use of time, individual as well as overall family value, net positive recharge, and trust level of child's direct care. Outcomes are evaluated after each session to analyze potential changes and/or improvements to better serve the camper and families.
Program Success Examples
"My son has attended Dream Oaks Camp the past 3 years and loves D.O.C. more than you can possibly know! He literally looks forward to it ALL year and compares every happy emotion he has with how it feels to be there. He has Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and OCD. Like most kids with ASD he struggles to find a place where he truly fits in. He attends a public school in the ESE program and still feels out of place. His needs are too severe for general ed. and too mild for ESE so he is always left feeling like he does not quite belong... Dream Oaks is the place where he belongs! He makes us pack weeks ahead and leaves his stuff by the front door. He hugs his counselor the moment he meets them, which is very out of character for him. He cries the minute he sees that I am there to pick him up and the entire car ride home too. This kid NEEDS D.O.C.!" 
-Mother of current camper
"Thank you again for a fabulous summer experience for my daughter. Dream Oaks truly was a dream come true for our family. I knew she was in good hands as the counselors were dedicated to helping her, open to listening to us at drop off about her needs and quirks, and kept her safe. This first experience will always stick with me because it was the first summer that was truly fabulous- thanks to you. I was able to spend a week alone with my husband, another week with my other daughters at Grandma's, and another week on a family reunion. We all love (camper) but gosh that break helped us reconnect as a family. Knowing she loves the camp too, we have to hide her camp shirt from her... this morning she found it and wore it to school! She also picks up the camp picture in her PECS book quite often!" 
-Mother of 2016 Summer camper 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Elena Tomeo Cassella
CEO Term Start Mar 2010
CEO/Executive Director Email

Mrs. Cassella has a Master's in Educational Leadership and a strong knowledge level for non-profit management/operations, programming, donor development and budget forecasting. She served as the Foundation for Dream's Director of Development and Fundraising prior to be appointed Executive Director where she increased revenue by 300% within her first two years with the agency. She has a strong vision for the agency, as she has spent a number of years analyzing operations and working on strategic plans for operations and development. Her previous position was with the Manatee County School Board where she served as a county instructional coach, designed reading/writing curriculum maps for the district, facilitated training workshops and mentored teachers on best practices. In addition, Mrs. Cassella served a number of years as an inclusion teacher. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Manatee and enjoys being involved in her community.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Ms Jodi Franke Dec 2000 - Oct
Andrew Romines Mar 1998 - Mar 2009
Senior Staff
Elena Tomeo Cassella Director of Development
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 4
Part Time Staff 50
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 250
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Jewish Family Children's Services
Family Partnership Center 
Prospect Riding Center 
Easter Seals of SW FL
Children's Cancer Center
Centerstone (Formerly Manatee Glens)
Center for Building Hope
Tropicana Enable Group
Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County 
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Anna Maria Carleton
Company Affiliation Early Learning Coalition
Board Term Oct 2016 to Sept 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. James Allen NDC Construction Company
Ms. Nancy Beal Retired- Manatee County School District Administrator
Mr. Josh Beyer The SEMBLER Company, Vice President/FL Development
Ms. Anna Maria Carleton Early Learning Coalition of Manatee
Mr. Jeff DeJongh Financial Advisor
Mr. Brent Holweger Holweger Construction- Owner
Mr. Walter Miller Retired Manatee County School Board Elected Official
Mr. Eddie Mulock Mulock Law Firm
Mr. Jeb Mulock Vice President, ZNS Engineering
Mr Chris Nagle Tropicana EnAble
Mrs. Fran Padgett Retired Manatee County School Administrator
Ms. Kara Schiavone Tidewell
Mr. Chris Smith Loan Officer, Real Estate Mortgage Network
Mrs. Terry Wells Synovus Bank
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 9
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 4
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Meeting Attendance % 84
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Campus Planning and Development
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Oct
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Sept
Tax Year End Day 30
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $609,300.00
Projected Expenses $609,300.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $13,524.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Form 9902017
Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$464,275$360,143$263,040
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,769$856$0
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$158,440$101,909$127,493
Revenue In-Kind$2,057$2,150$10,135
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$560,308$440,335$448,544
Administration Expense$57,204$49,876$61,133
Fundraising Expense$52,751$36,633$37,144
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.121.100.86
Program Expense/Total Expenses84%84%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%8%10%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,653,400$1,586,004$1,548,711
Current Assets$255,404$136,850$107,922
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$45,000
Current Liabilities$41,179$57,467$27,094
Total Net Assets$1,612,221$1,528,537$1,476,617
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $464,275Contributions, gifts, grants $360,143Contributions, gifts, grants $263,040
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $158,440Camp Fees $115,037Fundraising $127,493
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountCamp Fees $129,159Fundraising $101,909Camp Fees $78,678
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.202.383.98
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%3%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization The Foundation for Dreams has not received the $50,000 from the state of Florida since 2010 that was once allocated to us, due to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities State Department losing its funding.  This is reflected in the total revenue amounts since 2010.  
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990 or audit.  Financial figures were taken from the 990s.  The Federal tax returns and audited financial statements for 2009 - 2012 reconcile.
Nonprofit Foundation For Dreams Inc
Address 16110 Dream Oaks Place
Bradenton, FL 34212 1611
Phone 941 746-5659