Fifteen Jacksonville-based nonprofits have received almost $1 million from the community’s major donors and philanthropic institutions. The donations will help feed and house individuals and families affected by the economic recession.
The grants represent the first wave of funding this year from the Community Safety Net Fund at The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, which was re-opened in June with a $500,000 gift from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
The Safety Net Fund received requests for $1.35 million in emergency funding from the community’s safety net organizations. Because of the initial gift from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and other early donors, the Safety Net Fund awarded $616,330 in grants to 11 nonprofits.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund directly funded an additional $319,000 to four organizations to expedite funding.
“These organizations are facing unprecedented demand and we felt it was important to provide emergency funding now,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “We will continue to encourage others to contribute to this fund.”
Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has submitted legislation to City Council to authorize a contribution to the Safety Net Fund of $100,000. In addition, several private foundations have expressed interest in contributing but are awaiting board approvals.
“We look forward to these contributions being finalized and anticipate a second round of grants being awarded after Labor Day,” said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation.
The Community Safety Net Fund was created in late 2008, when the Jessie Ball duPont Fund invested $1 million to establish the fund and The Community Foundation, the City of Jacksonville and other donors invested another $600,000 to alleviate the soaring demand for food and shelter due to the recession.
By spring 2009, all contributed funds had been distributed through grants to organizations serving the needy in Jacksonville.
By spring 2010, it became apparent that the impact of the recession had not abated. The number of people using food stamps was at an all-time high for Duval County and shelters and food pantries reported continuing record levels of demand.
In response, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund invested $500,000 to reopen the fund, and The Community Foundation solicited additional contributions from other donors.
Grants awarded in July from the Community Safety Net Fund were:
• BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry): $50,000 to provide rent and utility assistance for residents in need in the Duval County Beaches area.
• City Rescue Mission: $25,000 to provide food and shelter for the homeless in Duval County.
• Dignity U Wear: $29,570 to purchase clothing for children and youth.
• Downtown Ecumenical Services Council: $26,000 to provide food for its food pantry to help families in need and clothing for the homeless.
• ElderSource (Northeast Florida Area Agency on Aging): $100,000 to provide rent and utility assistance for Duval County senior citizens in financial crisis.
• I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless: $100,000 to provide food and shelter for the homeless population in Duval County.
• Jewish Family & Community Services: $34,500 to provide rent and utility assistance to Duval County residents facing financial crisis.
• Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (Second Harvest Food Bank): $36,500 to provide 50,000 pounds of food to hungry Duval County residents through the distribution of about 1,429 Family Food boxes.
• Mission House: $10,000 to provide food to residents in need and the homeless population in the Duval County Beaches area.
•Trinity Rescue Mission: $92,000 to purchase a refrigerated box truck and hire a driver to distribute the produce grown on the mission’s farm to other safety net organizations.
• Urban Jacksonville: $100,000 to provide Meals on Wheels to homebound senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.
Grants awarded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund were:
• Catholic Charities Bureau: $100,000 to provide rent and utility assistance for families in need in Duval County.
• Clara White Mission: $50,000 to provide food for Duval County’s homeless population.
• Community Connections of Jacksonville: $93,000 to provide utilities, rental assistance and food for Duval County families in need.
• The Salvation Army: $76,000 to provide food and shelter for the homeless in Duval County.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund makes grants to more than 330 eligible organizations identified by Mrs. duPont in her will. The Fund has assets of more than $265 million and has awarded $291 million in grants since 1977.
The Community Foundation in Jacksonville works to stimulate philanthropy in order to build a better community. The oldest community foundation in Florida, it has assets of $142 million.