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Who We Are

Founded in 1996, The Florida Lighthouse Association, Inc. (FLA) is a 100% member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping safeguard Florida's 30 surviving historic lighthouses for future generations. 

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. Approximately 62 lighthouses were constructed in the Sunshine State between 1824 and 1954. Sadly more than half of these structures have fallen victim to the ravages of time and no longer exist. The 30 historic Florida lighthouses that remain standing 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. 

More than $1,500,000 in FLA grant funding has been awarded to qualifying lighthouse organizations since 1996. 100% of all FLA grant funding is generated through the sale of the Association's Visit Our Lights specialty license plate and private donations. Florida Lighthouses that have directly benefited from the FLA's Grants-in-Aid program include:

  1. Amelia Island Lighthouse: $197,240
  2. Anclote Key Lighthouse: $15,000
  3. Cape Canaveral Lighthouse: $95,768
  4. Cape Florida Lighthouse: $200,000
  5. Cape St. George Lighthouse: $62,225
  6. Cape San Blas Lighthouse: $98,500
  7. Cedar Key Lighthouse: $47,293
  8. Crooked River Lighthouse: $71,750
  9. Egmont Key Lighthouse: $15,100
  10. Fowey Rock Lighthouse: $33,250
  11. Gasparilla Island Lighthouse: $67,462
  12. Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse: $58,000
  13. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse: $184,200
  14. St. Johns River Lighthouse: $300
  15. Pensacola Lighthouse: $290,247
  16. Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse: $173,356
  17. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse: $171,365
  18. Sanibel Island Lighthouse: $2,244
  19. Sombrero Key Lighthouse: $3,000
  20. St. Augustine Lighthouse: $141,250
  21. St. Marks Lighthouse: $37,875

Our Mission

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

  1. To develop, grow, and maintain the FLA's membership base to include delegates from lighthouse organizations around the state, historic restoration and preservation professionals, public advocates, lighthouse enthusiasts, and other members of the general public. 
  2. To increase visitation to Florida's publicly accessible historic lighthouses through direct promotional efforts.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. To facilitate a spirit of collaboration and support between Florida's lighthouse preservation groups. 
  6. 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, 30 remain standing today.  

Many of Florida's 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. Currently, 18 historic Florida lighthouses can be visited by the public on a daily basis, or on specific days of the week or month. 

I encourage you to support the ongoing restoration, preservation, and interpretation of Florida’s historic lighthouses by visiting as many of these 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 future generations 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 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 collectively provided more than $1,500,000 in direct financial support for 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:

Please help keep our lights bright!

Michael Bennett

Officers & Committee Chairs

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Beverly Oakes

Beverly Oakes
Executive Vice President

Sharon Belcher

Sharon Belcher

Barbara Bennet

Barbara Bennet

Committee Chairs

Betty Lowe Phelps

Betty Lowe Phelps
Membership Recruitment and Retention

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Dan Hogan

Dan Hogan

John Hill

John Hill
Government Affairs (Ad-Hoc)

Dora Lee Rosendorf

Dora Lee Rosendorf
Meeting Planning

Sharon McKenzie

Sharon McKenzie

Josh Liller

Josh Liller

Ken Smith

Ken Smith
Revenue Development

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 []

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
  •  Click the link in that e-mail to activate your account:
  • Welcome and thank you for registering at 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 and log in.

After you log in, here’s how to access the FLA financial reports:

  • Go to 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 grey tab “Forms 990 & Docs”
  • Under Forms 990 Received from the IRS - Click on the year you want to review

Board of Directors

District One

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

District Two

Eric Martin - Commissioner

Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation - Jack Burrie
Dry Tortugas - Glen Simpson
Alligator Reef Lighthouse - Rob Dixon

District Three

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 - City of Sanibel 

District Four

Wanda Mayo - Commissioner

St. Marks - Craig Kittendorf
Cape San Blas - Charlotte Pierce
Pensacola - Jon Hill

Crooked River - Steve Allen
Cape St. George - Amy Hodson

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