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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Feb. 26, 201312:00 PM EST

Nonprofit News: Highlighting Jacksonville's Philanthropic Community

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As our community continues to face a tight economy and shrinking budgets, the Daily Record has established this page that will each week chronicle the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Bailey Publishing & Communications invites all members of the local nonprofit community to submit news, announcements, success stories and any other information they believe would be of interest to our readers. Email to: [email protected].

We also encourage our readers to become more aware of the needs of these worthy organizations as they try to continue to provide valuable services with reduced resources.

$60,000 in grants from Bank of America

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation awarded $60,000 in grants to four nonprofits in Jacksonville.

The grants are designed to address critical needs, such as hunger and shelter, and support long-term solutions that promote financial wellness through access to community-based assistance programs.

"We're committed to supporting our local community and look to make investments that are responding to the greatest needs of the people that live here," said Greg Smith, Bank of America Northeast Florida market president.

"These grants will assist nonprofits addressing Jacksonville's immediate needs while also supporting integrated services that will help people get back on their feet," he said in a news release.

The Sulzbacher Center received $15,000 to fund its Meals for the Homeless program, which serves people seven days a week.

St. Vincent's HealthCare Foundation received $15,000 to fund medical services and programs for those in need. Services include its Mobile Health Outreach Ministry, health screenings, education and medical treatment.

Community Connections of Jacksonville received $10,000 to provide its clients with emergency food that will be used for the pantry at the Davis Center, where clients receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) services.

Second Harvest North Florida received $20,000 to support its annual Empty Bowls Luncheon that demonstrates community support for those coping with hunger in North Florida.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is awarding nearly $22 million in grants to more than 1,000 nonprofits across the country.

The majority of grants will support nonprofits serving low-income communities that have been determined to be disproportionately affected by the economic downturn.

The funding is part of the company's intensified philanthropic focus on the three core issues of housing, jobs and hunger.

Bank of America said it represents an important component of its lending, investing and giving activities to help advance local economies.

Rotary Clubs support St. Vincent's

More than 30 Rotary Clubs in Rotary International District 6970 continue their support of St. Vincent's mobile health outreach services.

The organizations, which helped St. Vincent's buy a new Mobile Health Clinic last year as part of Rotary's 100 years of service to the community, have provided another gift to help underserved and uninsured children and families continue to access medical care.

"On behalf of St. Vincent's HealthCare, I want to thank the Rotary Clubs of Northeast Florida for their continued generosity in helping St. Vincent's carry out our mission of delivering compassionate care to all those in need with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable," said Moody Chisholm, CEO and president of St. Vincent's HealthCare.

The St. Vincent's Rotary Mobile Health Clinic is a "doctor's office on wheels" that travels throughout North Florida to serve children and their families who are medically underserved.

The unit provides medical services that include immunizations and sports physicals for school children, health screenings, dental procedures, diagnostic testing, and disease management for adults.

In its first year, the St. Vincent's Rotary Mobile Unit provided patient services valued at nearly $250,000 at no charge. The unit is one of several in the St. Vincent's fleet.

"The Rotary Clubs of Northeast Florida have already made such an enormous impact on our community by helping us to provide preventive care to families who cannot afford it," said Jane Lanier, president and chief development officer of St. Vincent's HealthCare Foundation, in a news release.

"The continued support and commitment from Rotary helps us continue our legacy of delivering critically important care in order to improve the health and lives of those who need it most," she said.

Suite to host benefit for autism awareness

Suite Nightclub in St. Johns Town Center plans to host an Autism Awareness Benefit from 7:30-9:30 p.m. April 12 to support Little Star Center, a school for children with autism and developmental delays. Tickets are available for $20 at littlestarjax.com

Each ticket includes a complimentary drink, appetizers and admission. VIP packages include limousine services, special seating and bottle service. Events include raffles, door prizes and a silent auction.

The benefit is endorsed by Autism Speaks and the HEAL Foundation.

Little Star Center is a private, nonprofit school that provides comprehensive, affordable, individualized educational and behavioral services for those who struggle with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental delays.

Little Star Center supports the STAR Group, a parent support group for families with children with special needs.

Little Star Center emphasizes academics, behavior and communication. The teachers and faculty use individual and group instruction and social skills training.

The goal of the staff and the board of directors is to prepare children with autism and other developmental delays for a typical educational setting through intense training and small group sessions.

For information, call Anjelica Paulo at (904) 928-0112. 

Little Star Center, founded in 2005 to serve the special needs community in Jacksonville and the surrounding area, is dedicated to advocacy and awareness initiatives for special needs families and their children.  

Little Star is at 3771 San Jose Place, Suite 22, in Jacksonville.

Down syndrome group nationally recognized

The National Down Syndrome Society has recognized the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville with the Buddy Walk of the Year Champion of Change Award.

The National Buddy Walk Program celebrates people with Down syndrome in their communities.

The Jacksonville association will receive the award Nov. 9 at the Buddy Walk on Washington, the annual National Down Syndrome Society advocacy event in Washington, D.C.

More than 175 people from across the country will gather to advocate for legislative priorities that positively impact the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families.

The event includes a ceremony at which the Jacksonville association will receive the award.

The Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville was founded in 1989 by five families who wanted to provide support and information about Down syndrome to people in the Jacksonville area.

The vision of the families was to allow individuals with Down syndrome the opportunity to reach their full potential and become valued members of their community.

The Jacksonville association hosted its first Buddy Walk in 2002. Last year, more than 5,000 people attended the 10th Annual Buddy Walk.

In that time, the Jacksonville association has raised more than $1,440,000 as well as awareness for people with Down syndrome.

"The Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville is honored to be receiving the Champion of Change Award, and we are so proud of what our Buddy Walk has become," said association Executive Director Debbie Revels in a news release.

"To start with a couple hundred people and in 10 years grow it to over 5,000 is a true reflection of how our staff, volunteers, and families have made it their mission to make sure their loved ones with Down syndrome receive the care, therapies, and opportunities in life that they so richly deserve," she said.

Award presenters include U.S. Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and national association board members and staff.

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