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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jul. 19, 201707:00 AM EST

Nonprofit News: Tennis great Jim Courier tops MaliVai Washington gala

Celebrity basketball game to benefit homeless; Marzullo new CEO of Early Learning Coalition
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Former No. 1-ranked professional tennis player Jim Courier will be the featured speaker at this year’s Current/Sherman Group of Merrill Lynch Champions for Children Gala to benefit the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.

The event is Oct. 19 at the Florida Blue Conference Center in Deerwood.

The evening will include a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, dinner, scholarship award presentations to students and remarks by Courier. The gala is the largest annual fundraiser for the foundation and has traditionally raised about $250,000.

In his professional career from 1988 to 2000, Courier won four Grand Slam singles crowns, 23 singles titles, reached the No. 1 world ranking, was a member of two winning U.S. Davis Cup teams and is one of only 16 men in history to reach the finals of all four major tennis championships. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.
Courier remains active in the tennis world as a competitor on the PowerShares Series tennis circuit and an analyst on the broadcasts of television networks including Tennis Channel, Channel 7 (Australia), ITV and the BBC. He co-founded Courier’s Kids, which supports after-school tennis programs, and is captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team, a position he has held since 2011.

Gala tickets are available at and are expected to sell out. For advance tickets and sponsorship information, call (904) 359-5437.

Celebrity basketball game to benefit homeless

Betty Burney and teens in the I’m A Star Foundation announced the celebrity team roster for the Jacksonville HELPS (Homeless students Empowered through Leadership, Partnership and Service) Celebrity Basketball Game. 

With tipoff at 6 p.m. Saturday at the  Paxon School for Advanced Studies, celebrities will play high school basketball all-stars to raise money for the 2,700 homeless students in Duval County. The grassroots effort organized by I’m A Star teen leaders has raised $57,000 and awarded 14 college scholarships to homeless students since 2012.

This year’s celebrities are Donna Orender, former Women’s National Basketball Association president; police officer Bobby White from Gainesville, the “Viral Basketball Cop;” Shelia Seymore-Pennick, Ribault High School girl’s basketball coach; Chris Porter, First Coast News; Easy-E, V101.5 & 93.3; Paula Wright, Duval County School Board member; attorney Chuck Farah, Farah & Farah law firm; TJ Da Beatman, national music producer; Royce Turner, Ribault High School principal; Charles Griggs, 100 Black Men of Jacksonville; Lt. Lakesha Burton, Police Athletic League; Charles Moreland, Jacksonville mayor’s office; Ronnie King, Jacksonville Public Library; R.J. Wright, Jacksonville Giants; Jerry Holland, Duval County property appraiser; Kevin Waters, former Jacksonville Giants head coach; Warren Calloway, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office; DJ Byrd, 106.1 FM; and Leon Baxton, Communities in Schools chief operating officer.

Captains are Darnell Smith, Florida Blue North Florida market president; Bill Gulliford, City Council District 13; and Tommy Hazouri, council At-Large Group 3.
Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Proceeds will be donated to the Duval County Homeless Education Department.

Established in 2010, I’m A Star Foundation is a nonprofit comprising students ages 12 to 18 who develop solutions to improve their communities.

An acronym for “Smart, Talented And Resilient,” the foundation draws 35 volunteer student leaders from middle and high schools in Duval County each year. Founder and Executive Director Betty Seabrook Burney is a former Duval County School Board chair. 

United Way of St. Johns seeks new partners

Applications can be made until Oct. 1 for nonprofits in St. Johns County that wish to become a Certified Partner Agency of United Way of St. Johns County.
The application process is for organizations that are not currently a United Way Certified Partner Agency. 

For acceptance, the organization must be in compliance with all eligibility criteria and agree to comply with membership standards, including, but not limited to: Documentation that the organization is incorporated in Florida as a 501(c)(3), authorization by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to solicit funds, and the organization must provide human services to St. Johns County residents.

Human services are provided directly to individuals or families experiencing difficulty in meeting their basic human needs.
Visit to start the process of becoming a partner.

For details, contact Jenny Harvey at (904) 829-9721 or email [email protected].

Marzullo new CEO of Early Learning Coalition

The Early Learning Coalition of Duval Board of Directors voted to hire Denise Marzullo as the organization’s CEO and president, effective Aug. 21. She currently is the CEO of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida, and will succeed Susan Main, who is retiring.

Marzullo was chosen from more than 30 applicants.

“I wish Denise all the best. She has an outstanding staff and board to work with and I know together, the ELC of Duval will continue to thrive. It has always been our goal to help all of Jacksonville’s children get the proven benefits of high-quality child care. I believe Denise will continue our good work and ensure we stay focused on that goal,” Main said in a news release.

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