After more than 17 years’ experience in banking, including branch management in New York and Atlanta, Sandra M. Fatmi found relocating to Orlando a natural progression to a place she would one day call “home.” With numerous trips to Orlando, previously, to visit her sister, the Kingston, Jamaica native proudly makes it known that warm weather, nearby beaches, and Caribbean festivals lured her to “The City Beautiful.”
Fatmi moved to Orlando 11 years ago. She has since become known as a powerhouse activist and ambassador to Orlando’s urban core. The depth of her dedication to community enrichment is evident as she continually works to integrate new ways of enhancing the city’s strong Caribbean and West Indian presence.
As Secretariat to the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board for the 13 Southern USA States, Fatmi navigates assistance to new arrivals in the area, with referrals for places to live and guidance for those who wish to help stimulate the overall Caribbean community structure.
As the visionary and Executive Director of United Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., (UFCF) Fatmi says partnering with like-minded professionals to create the nonprofit organization is one of the “best decisions” she’s ever made. Established in 2014, UFCF collaborates with local community and neighborhood organizations to positively transform families and individuals with early intervention and educational resources. UFCF’s motto is “Empowering Communities One Family at a Time.” Fatmi believes there is nothing better than being able to positively change the life of someone, while also giving them hope for the future.
UFCF’s Future Leaders United After-School Mentoring Program serves students at Maynard Evans High School and Meadowbrook and Robinswood Middle Schools in Pine Hills, where they receive guidance and mentoring for: STEM Education, college readiness, post high school skills, and leadership through community service. UFCF students are taught to develop positive values and to take leadership roles that will enable them to be responsible citizens. Last year, in a demonstration of support for victims and survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, a large group of UFCF students participated in the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C.
As Fatmi continues to carry the mantle of community advocacy, other selfless leadership roles include: President of the Pine Hills Community Council - the civic group for the 72,000 residents of Pine Hills; and Immediate Past-President of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Florida; one of the most diversified chambers in the state. Nicknamed “Ms. Pine Hills” due to her innate desire to encourage, empower, and educate others about the great things taking place in the community, Fatmi is the recipient of more than thirty awards received for community service in the Orlando area.
When asked about how she wants to be remembered, “We all have a purpose,” says the neighborhood pioneer. “What’s important is the difference you make that will inspire others. I want to be remembered as someone who gave genuinely from the heart.”