onePulse given notice to repay nearly $400k in grant funds for canceled museum project

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Department of State says the OnePULSE Foundation owes nearly $400-thousand after the Foundation announced its not going through with a museum project.


The letter was sent Tuesday to OnePULSE Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer, saying the foundation needs to repay 100% of the grant money the foundation used.

According to the letter obtained by Eyewitness News, the Foundation spent just over $394,000 of the $500,000 given in the grant. It was awarded by the Florida Department of State’s Cultural Affairs Division in 2019 for the “Pulse National Memorial and Museum.”

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Orange County staff voiced concerns to commissioners about OnePULSE’s debt to the state last week. Staff said Orange County might be on the hook to repay OnePULSE’s grant to the state whenever the county took over the property on West Kaley Street.

According to state grant agreement, OnePULSE Foundation had to build a cultural facility within 10 years of the agreement. OnePULSE entered into the agreement for the $500,000 grant in 2019.

So, that facility had to be built sometime before 2029, according to the agreement.

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If it did not happen, OnePULSE had to pay 100% of the money back.

OnePULSE announced last month the board decided to dissolve the organization weeks after the Foundation notified the county it was not moving forward with the museum project.

The question Orange County commissioners and staff had last week – does OnePULSE’s Foundation even have enough money in the bank to pay the state back?

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OnePULSE told Eyewitness News last week it would have to do an audit to find out, but the Foundation said it will be transparent about their finances.

We reached out to OnePULSE for comment today after the letter was made public.

A spokesperson said the Foundation is working with the state to resolve the issue. The Foundation hired legal counsel last week to review the appropriate steps needed to carry out the board’s decision to dissolve, while also complying with Florida law.

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