Each year since it was founded in 1975, Jacksonville Community Council Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to investigating and evaluating issues that affect the North Florida community, has taken a look back at its own performance and accomplishments.
The organization hosted its 39th such review Thursday at the WJCT Studios, where JCCI will be moving in December from its offices at 2434 Atlantic Blvd.
Ben Warner, JCCI president and CEO, said the past year was remarkable, mainly due to the JAX2025 effort to identify the community’s 25-year vision for Jacksonville.
More than 16,000 people participated in the process, which Warner said was the most participation of any project in JCCI’s history.
“We expected 5,000 people to take part in JAX 2025. We held more than 200 community meetings. It was the biggest undertaking we’ve ever done and the most gratifying. It was a wild ride,” he said.
Now that the vision is clear, Warner said, the next step is implementation.
“It’s time to make decisions as a community. There has been enough talk. Let’s get to work,” he said.
“JAX 2025 stretched the organization. The thing I’m proudest of is that the organization was introduced to people on a whole new level,” said J.F. Bryan IV, outgoing chair of the JCCI board of directors.
Bryan will be succeeded on the 2013-14 board by Congregation Ahavath Chesed Senior Rabbi Joshua Lief.
The theme for the meeting was “This is My Story.”
Michael Boylan, president and CEO of WJCT, said when JCCI moves in December into the public broadcasting station’s building near Metropolitan Park, the two organizations will have in common not only an address, but a purpose and commitment as well.
“There have been many discussions about shared visions. Both of our organizations are the ‘go to’ for residents who want to learn about North Florida and speak up and speak out,” he said.
He said the news and public affairs programming produced for radio and television by WJCT will be used to “spread JCCI’s message.”
Kimberly Hyatt, executive director of Cathedral Arts Project Inc., also spoke of shared visions.
She said the JAX2025 project and the level of community involvement in the process influenced the Kennedy Center National Partnerships program to make an award to Cathedral that will ensure visual and performing arts education for local elementary school students.
“This time next year, every child in kindergarten through eighth-grade in public school in Duval County will receive an equitable arts education,” Hyatt said. “Through JAX 2025, the city came together to tell the story.”
Before the presentations began, Warner told the Daily Record that JCCI is looking beyond the next 12 months and the initial implementation of its landmark community visioning exercise.
“We’re already planning the celebration of success in 2025,” he said.