Miracle of Love was founded in 1991 by Lowell D. Stafford.
Stafford was born in Orlando, Florida on September 12, 1967. He graduated from West Orange High School and after his senior year, moved to Greensboro, North Carolina enrolling in the Nursing Program at North Carolina A&T State University.
In 1986, 19-year-old Lowell donated blood to his local blood bank and it was then that he learned he had tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). During that time period, not much was known about the disease and Stafford’s quest for support and information was met by irrational fear ignorance, and rejection among professional personnel at various medical centers. He then made the decision to move back to Orlando to be closer to his family. When he arrived he was determined to make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and founded the organization known as Miracle of Love, Inc. or “MOL” as it is known.
Miracle of Love started as an Assisted Living Facility and was not incorporated until 1997. Even after incorporation with no funding, Lowell utilized his disability check to assist clients and keep the organization running. He received his first federal award from the Ryan White Care Act of $60,000.00 to do Transitional Case Management at the Orange County Correctional Facility the Central Florida Reception Center and hired 2 full time employees.
In 1999, Miracle of Love moved into a building in the Richmond Estates neighborhood in Orlando.
Even after the Ryan White funding, Lowell still worked as volunteer at the Orange County Correctional Facility providing HIV testing and education to the juvenile population and used his disability check to run the Assisted Living Facility. In 2000 with funding from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, he hired six additional staff to specifically work in the area of HIV prevention services.
In 2001 Miracle of Love received monies from the City of Orlando’s Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program to assist individuals in need of housing services including the individuals at the Assisted Living Facility.
Lowell D. Stafford passed away on Nov. 19, 2003 due to complications from HIV/AIDS and is remembered by his staff and colleagues as a true soldier in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
In 2008, Miracle of Love moved into the old Centaur building, located at 741 W. Colonial Dr., where it is located today.
Lowell’s vision was to create prevention programs to prevent other young people like himself from contracting HIV or AIDS. This created his vision of a center where gay, bisexual and transgendered youth could get tested and receive education about HIV/AIDS as well as have a “safe-space” to hangout if they were HIV positive or being rejected from family and friends.
In 2003 with funding for a youth program from the Florida Department of Health he started providing prevention services in a rented space called the “Gathering Center.” After renting space for many years in 2011 a grant was submitted to the City of Orlando that enabled Miracle of Love to purchase a building in 2012. After being re-modeled, the building opened in renamed “the Stafford House” in honor of Lowell D. Stafford in June of 2014
Today, Miracle of Love has a staff of 25 employees and a yearly budget of approximately $1.7 million.