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At left, Christy Evans is featured on the Christmas in July poster. Her grandmother, Dixie Matarazzo, was visiting Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center's inpatient unit when she heard "Jingle Bells" being sung in the hallway.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jul. 20, 201612:00 PM EST

Nonprofit news: Farah & Farah first of '500 Founders'

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Independent Living Foundation began its first statewide fundraising campaign, 500 Founders, with a $50,000 grant from the Farah & Farah law firm.

The foundation was established in 2001 to assist the Independent Living Resource Center of Northeast Florida.

The organization has a goal to assist all 17 independent living centers in Florida.

The campaign hopes to add 500 donors of $100 each to match the grant from Farah & Farah.

With those donations, $1,000 Empowerment Awards will be given to each center. The remainder will be used to support the Northeast Florida facility.

The centers support the independence of people with disabilities. The organization serves people where they live, helping them chart their path to independence, whether it is assistance with finding employment, getting needed equipment such as a walker or a shower lift to help with home care or finding transportation.

“Disability doesn’t matter until it affects you. We want those who have challenges to know that we care,” said Eddie Farah.

For more information, visit

It’s never too hot for a Christmas holiday drive

Baptist Health Marketing and Communications team members sang Christmas classics such as “Jingle Bells,” “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” throughout the Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville campus as a reminder it’s time for Christmas in July.

For information on making an online donation, the toy wish list and other information, visit

The Toy and Donation Drive wraps up Monday in the circular driveway at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville/Wolfson Children’s Hospital with the final toy drop-off from 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

BairFind Foundation locates missing children

The BairFind Foundation announced there are now 139 Minor League Baseball teams participating in the search for missing children, up from 40 last year.

BairFind signs in each stadium feature profiles of area missing children, increasing the likelihood of recovery.

BairFind established this year a partnership with Minor League Baseball and Minor League Baseball Charities to place their signs in every minor league baseball stadium in America.

As Minor League Baseball Charities' newest official Homegrown Charity Partner, BairFind is expanding the search for missing children through sports-based marketing.

BairFind began in 2014 with signs in 26 stadiums and expanded to 40 in 2015.

More than 250 missing children were featured during that time and 68 were safely located.

For more details, visit

Winston Family YMCA $2M from goal

Mirroring the construction progress of the new Winston Family YMCA on Riverside Avenue, the First Coast YMCA's community fundraising campaign has less than $2 million to raise toward the goal of $21 million.

The organization has received $770,000 in donations since May and $33,410 from the brick paver recognition campaign. Added to previous contributions, it’s a total of $19 million.

On schedule to open in late August, the Winston YMCA’s construction crews are completing interior painting, flooring, millwork installation and landscaping.

The new facility will open with new programs, including 180 group exercise classes each week, aqua fitness, an adult basketball league, fluidity barre and a KidZone with a floor-to-ceiling interactive sensory system.

In addition, the Y’s Healthy Living Center will provide programs on topics from community health concerns to healthy lifestyle suggestions.

Those who are interested in making a donation to help reach the Y’s fundraising goal can still contribute in any amount.

For more information or to donate, visit or contact Nekita Nesmith at (904) 265-1812.

State Farm donates $5,000 to City Rescue Mission program

City Rescue Mission received a $5,000 State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant.

The insurance company is partnering with the mission to purchase educational software and program materials for people in the LifeBuilders Program.

LifeBuilders is a long-term, residential addiction recovery program.

It is designed to rebuild lives broken by substance abuse and other life-controlling issues.

The Workforce Development staff evaluates each student to determine his or her academic skill level.

Individualized academic, job training and employment skills training plans are designed for each student.

Students have access to a computer-based Learn to Read Program to assist slow and non-reading students and a GED preparation course.

In addition to the online courses, students receive group instruction from volunteers.

To learn more about programs and volunteer opportunities, visit

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