Tom and Mary James Donate $2 Million to Parc Center for Disabilities


The Largest Private Donation Since the Organization’s Inception in 1953

St. Petersburg, March 19, 2024: In an unprecedented act of generosity, Parc Center for Disabilities is thrilled to announce a landmark donation of $2 million from philanthropists Tom and Mary James, the largest private donation ever received by the organization. Earmarked for the groundbreaking of the new Children’s Services Center, this transformative gift significantly elevates Parc’s capacity to empower individuals with developmental disabilities. Beyond its immediate benefits, the contribution is poised to inspire broader community support, underscoring the center’s pivotal role as a vital, unique resource.

The new Children’s Services Center is set to be a premier facility, epitomizing Parc Center for Disabilities’ dedication to excellence, state-of-the-art technology, and the enhancement of children’s cognitive and emotional development. Beyond a preschool, the center will feature three specially designed playgrounds, and provide comprehensive educational and early therapeutic interventions. It will also offer vital support services for families, ensuring holistic care for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“People should know that, despite the size of the community we’re in, we have a very good place for people with special needs, which you can’t find everywhere. I’ve known the people with Parc for a very long time. The fact is, they have demonstrated time and time again, they’ll bend over backwards to help all the kids and all the adults who need services. I speak from experience knowing some of the people who live there. I’m proud we are associated with Parc Center for Disabilities,” said Mr. James.

“I am thrilled and deeply moved to share news of this extraordinary donation. Tom and Mary know our need is urgent and made this leadership gift early in our campaign to have major financial impact, to show their commitment to our mission, and to demonstrate their confidence in Parc Center for Disabilities,” stated Michelle Detweiler, Parc’s CEO. “ For years, Tom and Mary James have been pivotal in championing our mission, and this magnanimous gift is a testament to their unwavering dedication to transformative change and community enrichment. Their enduring support has been instrumental in establishing Parc Center for Disabilities as a frontrunner in empowering individuals with developmental disabilities. This leadership contribution not only underscores their commitment but also propels us forward in our continued pursuit of excellence in service and advocacy,” added Detweiler.

Parc Center for Disabilities stands out in the region for its comprehensive continuum of services, catering to individuals from infancy through senior living. The organization is structured around three pillars of excellence: Children’s Services, Adult Day Training, and Residential Care, ensuring a lifetime of support for individuals and families. Following a substantial $6 million investment in enhancing adult services and facilities, Parc is excited to embark on the next significant phase: the development of the Children’s Services Center. This initiative is particularly crucial, as Parc is the sole provider of early intervention services for children with developmental disabilities in Pinellas County.

“Tom and Mary James are extraordinary role models,” according to Michael Bice, Chair of Parc Center for Disabilities’ Board of Directors. “Their generosity and commitment to their community has a profound impact on our region, from their founding of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art to their significant support of other organizations in the arts, healthcare, human services, and social services. Tom created the practice at Raymond James Financial of supporting philanthropic efforts in the communities where its employees live and work. We are honored to have them as partners.”

About Parc Center for Disabilities

Parc Center for Disabilities is a nonprofit organization that has been serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1953. Their “person-centered” approach has garnered Parc’s reputation as a progressive leader in its field and in the community. As an organization and a community, Parc Center for Disabilities shares a powerful belief that all persons should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and let their capabilities shine. Parc Center for Disabilities is wholly dedicated to ensuring that every individual they serve is valued, respected, and embraced by all for their uniqueness.



Media Contact: Lisa Emory
Director of Marketing & Communications