Hibiscus Children’s Center Honors Outstanding Volunteer Dan Braden


Hibiscus Children's Center had the privilege of nominating founding board member and long-time supporter Dan Braden for the 2020 National Philanthropy Day “Unsung Hero” Award.  Dan received this special award during the November 20th virtual awards ceremony, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.   Excitement was in the air as staff and volunteers joined together with Dan at the Hibiscus Shelter to watch the announcement.   Senator Gayle Harrell, also a Hibiscus Children’s Center founding board member, joined the festivities.  In a video message, Senator Harrell shared, “Dan has done so much for Hibiscus.  In 1985, when LaVaughn Tilton challenged us to help children, Dan was there and designed the Shelter. He put an addition on the Shelter in 2010 and he has been a Board of Directors member and president and more.  Congratulations Dan, we appreciate you so very much.

In 1985, a group of concerned citizens galvanized to form Child Abuse Prevention, Inc. The advocacy group was led by LaVaughn Tilton, Hibiscus Founder, and a few passionate supporters including Dan Braden. Over 35 years later, Dan is still going strong in the fight against child abuse. Dan has successfully combined his skills and talents as a renowned architect with his passion for protecting children and making life better for them in our community. Since opening its doors, Dan has been essential to the growth and development of Hibiscus’ programs and facilities. He donated his professional services as owner of Braden & Braden AIA, P.A., a local architectural firm, to the designing and building project of the Hibiscus Shelter in 1985, opening its doors in 1989.   In 1999, the need to expand services for abused children resulted in the Hibiscus Village opening its doors in 2004. Dan and his firm were crucial in the designing and completion of eight homes and the campus center.  In 2010, the need to expand the Shelter facility was necessary. Once again, Dan was instrumental in helping to accomplish this and provide more efficient and effective services for our children.  In 2018, the almost $2 million Brighter Futures Makeover project was launched to renovate the Hibiscus Shelter. Once again, Dan was at the forefront of this vital project to restore our children’s home. Dan’s knowledge and connections provided the necessary leadership and guidance to bring the makeover vision to fruition. A new dining/community room addition was built onto the Shelter which provided a fortified area for the children and staff to shelter-in-place during a natural disaster. This is essential for helping to minimize the children’s trauma that occurs during a crisis. Dan was there every step of the way to ensure the job was done correctly, stayed on course and with the highest level of quality.  Dan is also a founding Hibiscus Children’s Center board member and has been an integral part of the governance and leadership of the operations of the organization.

Dan shared this message for the Hibiscus staff, “I would like to thank all of you for your wonderful work. My award is really yours.  An unsung hero is the person who is up in the middle of the night with a child who is scared. Helping a child who has no friends or family looking to soothe their frazzled nerves.  Years ago I helped paint the Shelter with the help of a four-year old whose arms had cigarette burns on them.  How could I walk away from helping him.  I want you to know you have my undying support and admiration”. 

Matt Markley, Hibiscus CEO, said, “Dan is a visionary who’s been instrumental in Hibiscus Children's Center’s transition from its early beginnings as a safe haven for twelve abused and neglected children to a leader in child welfare services on the Treasure Coast.  Dan combines his passion for protecting children with his professional talents and skills to change their lives. For 35 years he has been a vital part of the Hibiscus Family and we are grateful for his deep commitment to providing thousands of abused children a safe place to call home”.

For more information about our services or how to get involved, please visit or contact Michelle King, CDO, at (561) 452-5791 or via email at

Hibiscus Children’s Center Honors Outstanding Volunteer Dan Braden