Florida’s maritime heritage is central to understanding Florida’s culture and way of life. Lighthouses played a critical role in Florida’s history, making it possible to explore, settle, and develop Florida by using its 1,350 miles of coastline. Of the approximate 62 lighthouses that were constructed in the Sunshine State between 1824 and 1954, only 30 survive to this day. Those that remain are too important to lose to unnecessary neglect.
The Florida Lighthouse Association’s (FLA) mission is to safeguard Florida’s remaining lighthouses for future generations by supporting community-based restoration, preservation, and education efforts. One of the ways the FLA achieves this important mission is by providing direct financial support to non-profit organizations, municipalities, and county/state government entities that are actively engaged in the restoration, preservation, and operation of historic lighthouses across the state.
Nearly $2,000,000 in FLA grant funding has been awarded to qualifying lighthouse organizations since the Florida Lighthouse Association was officially incorporated in 1996. All FLA grant funds are generated through both the sale of the Visit Our Lights specialty license plate and private donations. Florida Lighthouses that have directly benefitted from the FLA's Grants-in-Aid program include:
- Amelia Island Lighthouse: $197,240
- Anclote Key Lighthouse: $15,000
- Cape Canaveral Lighthouse: $95,768
- Cape Florida Lighthouse: $200,000
- Cape St. George Lighthouse: $62,225
- Cape San Blas Lighthouse: $98,500
- Cedar Key Lighthouse: $47,293
- Crooked River Lighthouse: $71,750
- Egmont Key Lighthouse: $15,100
- Fowey Rock Lighthouse: $33,250
- Gasparilla Island Lighthouse: $67,462
- Hillsborough Inlet Lighthouse: $58,000
- Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse: $184,200
- Mayport Lighthouse: $300
- Pensacola Lighthouse: $290,247
- Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse: $173,356
- Port Boca Grande Lighthouse: $171,365
- Sanibel Island Lighthouse: $2,244
- Sombrero Key Lighthouse: $3,000
- St. Augustine Lighthouse: $141,250
- St. Marks Lighthouse: $37,875
The Florida Lighthouse Association's mission is to safeguard Florida's remaining historic lighthouses for future generations by supporting community-based restoration, preservation, and education efforts.
Florida Lighthouse Association Objectives
- To establish and maintain a volunteer-driven non-profit organization with a membership comprised of lighthouse preservation organizations, advocates, and enthusiasts from across the state that works collectively to protect and support Florida's 30 surviving historic lighthouses.
- To increase visitation to Florida's publicly-accessible historic lighthouses through direct promotional efforts.
- To provide direct financial support for the ongoing restoration and preservation of Florida's 30 surviving historic lighthouses and light station structures through the FLA's grants-in-aid program.
- To develop public appreciation and awareness of the unique role that lighthouses have played in Florida's maritime and social history through the development and support of statewide educational programs.
- To facilitate a collaborative system of mutual support between Florida's lighthouse preservation organizations.
- To engage in all lawful purposes that will benefit the preservation of Florida’s lighthouses as permitted under the laws of the State of Florida for nonprofit organizations.
Meet the President
Michael Bennett has been an active Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA) member since 2007. His volunteer contributions to the FLA have included serving as the official delegate for the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum since 2010, as the former chair of the FLA's Grants Committee, and as the current FLA president.
Michael was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida, and served in the US military for ten years before earning degrees in Education and History from the University of Central Florida in 1999. Following graduation, Mike worked as a middle/high school history teacher and then as the assistant principal of a private school for at-risk youth. He accepted his current position as the Director of Operations at the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum in 2006.
From the President
The State of Florida is rich in maritime history. With more than 1,300 miles of coastline stretching from Cumberland Sound to Pensacola Bay, it is no wonder that the Sunshine State has been home to more than 60 lighthouses since the founding of St. Augustine in 1565. Although many of these towers have been lost to time, 31 historic Florida beacons exist to this day.
Many of these surviving lighthouses now serve as public museums and historic sites maintained and operated by non-profit preservation groups, municipalities, or county/state/federal parks and agencies. Most can be viewed from several locations and 18 can currently be visited by the public daily or on specific days of the week or month, with or without reservations.
I encourage you to support the ongoing restoration, preservation, and interpretation of Florida’s historic lighthouses by visiting as many of these historic beacons as possible and in doing so, directly assist the organizations that maintain and manage them. You can also help ensure that these historic beacons will continue to shine for generations to come by becoming a member of the Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA).
Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA) is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer, membership organization. Our members play a critical role in our mission of helping safeguard Florida’s remaining historic lighthouses by supporting community-based restoration, preservation, and educational efforts. You can learn more about becoming an FLA member and the many benefits our members enjoy by visiting our Membership page.
You can also support Florida's historic lighthouses by purchasing a Visit Our Lights specialty license plate with your next vehicle purchase or replacing your current tag with a Visit Our Lights tag at the time of your annual registration renewal. This unique license plate features a beautiful watercolor rendering of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse designed specifically for the Florida Lighthouse Association. 100% of the proceeds generated by the sale of this specialty plate ($25 per plate) are used by the FLA to fund its Gene Oakes Lighthouse Preservation and Hib Casselberry Educational Grant programs which have contributed more than two million dollars to lighthouse preservation, restoration, and educational projects across the State to date.
Thank you for visiting our site and for your interest in lighthouses. Your opinion matters – please send me your comments: President@FloridaLighthouses.org.
Please help keep our lights bright!
Officers & Committee Chairs
Executive Vice President
Betty Lowe Phelps
Membership Recruitment and Retention
Government Affairs (Ad-Hoc)
Dora Lee Rosendorf
FLA Financial Reports
As a not-for-profit organization, we are required and please to share our IRS 990 Financial Reports. You may access them on our GuideStar account [https://www2.guidestar.org/]
Not Familiar with GuideStar?
Here are a few tips to help you navigate through the GuideStar process.
If you do NOT have a GuideStar account:
- Create an account - it is FREE and this is a reputable site with lots of information on nonprofits.
- Click on Register in the top left of the page.
- Create an account – When you have accepted the terms the page will tell you that they have sent you a confirmation email.
- Go to your email and find the email from email@example.com
- Click the link in that e-mail to activate your account:
- Welcome and thank you for registering at GuideStar.org. Click here to confirm your e-mail address and begin accessing the nonprofit data you need.
- At this point, you will be taken to GuideStar’s log in page.
- In the future, can go directly to http://www2.guidestar.org/ and log in.
After you log in, here’s how to access the FLA financial reports:
- Go to http://www2.guidestar.org/ and log in
- Once you are logged in on GuideStar’s home page complete the search boxes
- Choose “Nonprofit Search”
- Type in “Florida Lighthouse Association Inc”
- Click on Start Your Search
- Click on the red link FLORIDA LIGHTHOUSE ASSOCIATION INC
- Click on the grey tab “Forms 990 & Docs”
- Under Forms 990 Received from the IRS - Click on the year you want to review
Board of Directors
Ron Ecker - Commissioner
Amelia Island - Chris Belcher
St. Augustine - Jay Smith
Cape Canaveral - Chris Ecker
Hillsboro Inlet - Ken Herman
Mayport/St. Johns - Eric Martin
Ponce De Leon Inlet - Mike Bennett
Jupiter Inlet - Jamie Stuve
Eric Martin - Commissioner
Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation - Jack Burrie
Dry Tortugas - Glen Simpson
Alligator Reef Lighthouse - Rob Dixon
Richard Sanchez - Commissioner
Cedar Key - John Hooker
Anclote Island - Dan Hogan
Egmont Key - Richard Sanchez
Gasparilla Island - Sharon McKenzie
Port Boca Grande - Sharon McKenzie
Sanibel Island - Celina Kersh Monte-Sano
Wanda Mayo - Commissioner
St. Marks - Craig Kittendorf
Cape San Blas - Charlotte Pierce
Pensacola - Jon Hill
Crooked River - Steve Allen
Cape St. George - Amy Hodson
Get Our Newsletter
Stay in the know about upcoming tours and more.