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The Ritz Chamber Players
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 25, 201512:00 PM EST

Nonprofit news: Delores Barr Weaver Fund to match up to $100,000 for Ritz Chamber Players

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Ritz Chamber Players received a donation from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund that came with a community challenge. Every $1 in new contributions through this year will be matched 100 percent, up to $100,000.

The match also will apply to donors who increase their gifts. The funds will provide the resources needed to carry out the Ritz Chamber Players’ mission to add minority representation in classical music and the fine arts to reflect the diversity of the community.

African-Americans comprise less than 2 percent of the orchestra musicians. The Ritz Chamber Players, a group of African-American classical musicians, fosters appreciation of chamber music through performances and educational outreach.

Since its founding in 2002, the group has taken classical music into classrooms in front of thousands of students, especially where access to live performances is limited.

“Each classroom performance gives us a chance to inspire youth who may have never considered classical music as an enjoyable art form, much less the possibility that they could learn to play it themselves,” said Terrance Patterson, executive and artistic director of the Ritz Chamber Players.

This is the third time the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, which resides at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, has pledged matching funds for the Ritz Chamber Music Society. Previous matching campaigns have raised $100,000 and $180,000.

“The Ritz Chamber Players is a cultural gem and the best kept secret here in Jacksonville,” said Weaver.

For a list of the Ritz Chamber Players’ scheduled performances and events, visit


St. Augustine Humane Society spay/neuter clinic certified by alliance

The St. Augustine Humane Society and its team of spay/neuter clinic professionals and veterinarians now hold formal certification from the Humane Alliance as a National Spay/Neuter Response Team.

The staff recently went to Asheville, N.C., for a training program and received on-site training in St. Augustine from an alliance mentor. There are more than 140 response team certified clinics in the U.S.

Renovations are underway for pet clinic expansion and construction will begin soon for the nonprofit’s Society Pet Spa grooming center in an adjoining building.

The St. Augustine Humane Society’s spay, neuter and surgery clinic is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday. The wellness clinic is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday. Pet owners must pre-register for spay and neuter surgery. For appointment scheduling and information call (904) 829-2737 or visit


Black ties and blue jeans benefit Cathedral Arts Project

First Coast Rotaract selected Cathedral Arts Project as the beneficiary of the 12th Biennial Black Tie & Blue Jeans Gala at 7 p.m. May 2 at the Jacksonville Historical Society’s Old St. Andrews Church. The event is the charity fundraiser for First Coast Rotaract’s 25th anniversary.

Cathedral Arts Project’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in Northeast Florida by unleashing the creative spirit of young people. Rotaract’s project is to supply more than 200 visual arts students with art backpacks.

Over the past 12 years, the gala has raised more than $160,000 for various organizations, including Big Fun Box, JLG Brain Cancer Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House.

Attendees wearing a mix of black tie and blue jeans attire will have an open bar, hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, live music and raffle items. Advance tickets for the event are $50 per person and can be purchased online at or from any First Coast Rotaract member.

For more information, contact Amanda Zoeller at (239) 994-9494 or [email protected].

Founded in April 1990, First Coast Rotaract Club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville. The group of nearly 40 members, ages 20-35, extends the guiding principles and philosophies of the worldwide Rotary International organization to young professionals and emerging leaders on the First Coast through community service and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

More information about Rotaract can be found at

Cathedral Arts Project was launched in 1993 by a group from St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral who had a heart for both children and the arts. They wanted to provide children in the immediate neighborhood an opportunity for a meaningful education in the arts.


Kitchen on San Marco cooking for Ronald McDonald House

Kitchen on San Marco will host “Growing the House that Love Built,” a grand opening charity event where 100 percent of proceeds will go to the capital campaign for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville.

The event will be held in the restaurant at 1402 San Marco Blvd., from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, a day before the restaurant’s April 1 opening to the public.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with members of the Red Shoe Crew, Ronald McDonald House’s Young Professionals organization, and to support the expansion and renovation campaign to better serve the growing number of pediatric patients coming to Jacksonville to access medical care.

A $25 donation is required for admission, which provides attendees with complimentary wine, beer, cheeses and fruits and a chef’s selection of passed hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are required and limited, and can be reserved by visiting

The restaurant features a gastropub atmosphere with local craft beers and a curated wine list. Kitchen on San Marco’s menu consists of a variety of contemporary American food, which guests can enjoy in small plates or as larger traditional entrées.

For more information about Kitchen San Marco, visit or call (904) 396-2344.


$21,000 from BJ’s foundation for local food bank

Christian Fellowship Ministries is one of 13 food pantries in Northeast Florida that is now putting more food on the tables of people who need it through a grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation provided to Feeding Northeast Florida, an affiliate of Feeding America.

In celebration of BJ’s Wholesale Club’s 30th anniversary, its foundation provided 30 grants of $21,000 to food banks to help them build the capacity related to the acquisition, storage and distribution of food for the hungry.

In Jacksonville, Feeding Northeast Florida is using the grant to help small food pantries like Christian Fellowship Ministries add coolers and freezers so it can accept, store and distribute more nourishing produce, dairy and meat products in addition to canned foods and other items.

“Before the installation, Christian Fellowship was providing just under 550 pounds of fresh and frozen products to people over a four-month period,” said Feeding Northeast Florida President and CEO Bruce Ganger. “Now, with a new commercial grade cooler and freezer on hand, Pastor Ola Williams and her team are now providing nearly 8,000 pounds within the same amount of time, quadrupling their distribution capacity.”

Christian Fellowship Ministries’ food pantry serves more than 350 families in need twice each month.

Since the capacity project launched late last year, Feeding Northeast Florida has partnered with 13 member agencies in four counties — providing them with eight coolers, four freezers and 14 freezer blankets. The targeted capacity building has enabled the agency to provide nearly 100,000 pounds of healthy fresh and frozen food to food-insecure families living in communities that don’t have access to fresh food, also known as food deserts.


Mad City Money for teens Saturday

More than 20 local credit unions are partnering through the Northeast Florida Chapter of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions to host the Mad City Money Simulation on Saturday.

The free, annual event transforms the Main Library Downtown into an interactive city where teenagers adopt new identities and learn to manage their finances.

Judy Walz, president of the Northeast Florida Chapter of the league and senior vice president of marketing and planning at VyStar Credit Union, said parents can expect their teenagers to learn how to identify wants versus needs, budget household income and balance a checkbook by participating in real-life scenarios at the workshop.

“Mad City Money gives teenagers the opportunity to foster their financial futures in a fun, safe environment,” Walz said.

In addition to the educational workshop, the event also will include free pizza and drawings for prizes. Although walk-up attendees are welcome, RSVPs are requested by Thursday for planning purposes. Contact Jack Baker at [email protected] or by phone at (904) 307-2899.

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