(1) As used in this section, the term “direct-support organization” means a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under chapter 617 and organized and operated to conduct programs and activities; initiate developmental projects; raise funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of moneys; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, securities, funds, objects of value, or other property, real or personal; and make expenditures to or for the direct or indirect benefit of the state and for blind persons in this state.
(2)(a) The Division of Blind Services is authorized to organize and incorporate a direct-support organization pursuant to the requirements of this section and chapter 617 to accomplish the purposes and objectives set forth in this section.
(b) The first board of seven members of the direct-support organization shall be appointed by the Governor. Two members shall be appointed to serve 2-year terms, three members shall be appointed to serve 3-year terms, and two members shall be appointed to serve 4-year terms. Thereafter, the board shall be self-appointed according to the established bylaws.
(c) The director of the division or his or her designee shall serve as an ex officio member of the board of the direct-support organization.
(d) The direct-support organization is subject to the requirements of s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution, chapter 119, and s. 286.011.
(e) Upon the dissolution of the corporation, all properties of the corporation revert to the division.
(f) The direct-support organization shall maintain donations and direct service expenditures in a bank account outside of the State Treasury.
(g) Any administrative costs of running and promoting the purposes of the corporation must be paid by private funds.
(3) The purposes and objectives of the direct-support organization must be consistent with the priority issues and objectives of the Department of Education and must be in the best interests of the state, though the Division of Blind Services may permit, without charge, the appropriate use of property and facilities of the state by the direct-support organization subject to this section. Such use must be directly in keeping with the approved purposes of the direct-support organization.
(4) Funds designated for the direct-support organization must be used for the enhancement of programs and projects of the Division of Blind Services. All moneys received by the direct-support organization must be deposited into an account of the direct-support organization and must be used by the organization in a manner consistent with the purposes and goals of the direct-support organization.
(5) The direct-support organization shall comply with the audit requirements of s. 215.981.
(6) The director of the Division of Blind Services may designate employees of the division to solicit donations from public or private sources to fund the authorized purposes of the direct-support organization.