Nonprofit News: Highlighting Jacksonville's Philanthropic Community

  • By
  • | 12:00 p.m. May 3, 2011
  • News
  • Share

from staff

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. E-mail 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.

12 grants for education from Chartrand Foundation
In about one week, baby Markia will reach a significant milestone — her first birthday. The “friendly and bubbly” infant, as described by her mother, Kimberly, has enjoyed a healthy start based upon the support of an organization that is helping to create brighter beginnings for Duval County families.

Created from a Chartrand Foundation seed grant awarded to St. Vincent’s Seton Center for Women and Infants, “Brighter Beginnings” was established in 2009 to provide educational outreach to women and families in high-need communities.

With Duval County leading the state in the number of premature births and infant deaths, the program was established to serve the Health Zone 1 community, a population that is disproportionately affected by poverty and related outcomes.

“We recognize that educational projections begin with good prenatal care and a healthy, engaging infancy,” said Ashley Smith Juarez, executive director of The Chartrand Foundation. “Brighter Beginnings raises awareness among parents of how to best support their babies, and its importance in putting them on a trajectory for success in school,” she said.

Since its establishment, “Brighter Beginnings” has provided health-education services to 137 mothers.

The Chartrand Foundation’s most recent grant of $15,000 to the program allows the Seton Center to expand its community outreach and education efforts highlighting healthy pregnancy strategies, life choices, and infant care with women and their partners.

“Brighter Beginnings” is one of 12 education-based initiatives implemented by area nonprofit organizations that were awarded a total of almost $200,000 awarded by The Chartrand Foundation this quarter. Other award winners include:

• The Bridge of Northeast Florida Computer Animation Lab: $24,600. The grant will fund the development and launch of a 42-week program and summer camp that teaches reading, video production, game development, podcasting and more.

• JASMYN Student Support Services: $61,889. JASMYN has been an advocate for student support programs in local public schools. It has continued to meet the needs of students, teachers and administrators with the development and implementation of Gay Straight Alliances in numerous schools. JASMYN will use The Chartrand Foundation funds to continue programming, develop and expand leadership conferences and events, conduct teacher training and coordinate advocacy outreach activities.

• Jacksonville Public Education Fund One in Three: $25,000.

Named for the number of public high school students who fail to graduate in four years, “One in Three” is an art exhibit by more than 20 area students who are or have been enrolled in Duval County schools. To be launched by the education fund this fall at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, students’ photographs and personal stories will profile the challenges and successes of local students while generating awareness about the dropout crisis and opportunities for community and civic engagement.

• JPEF Education Resource Strategies: $10,000. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund will work with a nonprofit consulting firm, Education Resource Strategies, to assess how effective Duval County allocates its time, people and resources. The Chartrand Foundation grant helps to fund the firm’s work to include an intensive review and comparison of district records, expenditures, budget and personnel against nationally recognized best practices.

• Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida Logic Model Training: $2,000. The Nonprofit Center will use the funds to develop a custom Logic Model-based template. In addition, the center will biannually host training workshops for nonprofit organizations and provide technical assistance built on methods to design, develop, measure and evaluate goals and objectives.

Also receiving funding during the quarter were the Florida Philanthropic Network ($2,000), Baptist Medical Center: Tipping the Scale ($12,500), The Bridge of Northeast Florida: Weaver Zone ($12,500), Grantmakers for Education ($1,000) and JCCI – Early Childhood Study ($40,500).

Established by the Chartrand family in 2006, the mission of The Chartrand Foundation is to improve educational opportunities for children in Duval County through strategic investments that encourage and strengthen early learning and public education advocacy.

Legal assistance for seniors
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs awarded a minigrant to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to host a community event designed to educate seniors about the legal rights and protections available to them. The $1,000 minigrant, one of 14 awarded around the state during May’s recognition of Elder Law Month and Older Americans Month, is part of the department’s recognition that legal needs are increasingly intertwined with other issues facing seniors today.

“More and more often, we’re seeing that challenges faced by elders have their roots in more complicated issues that can only be resolved by the legal system” said Michael Figgins, executive director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.

“The event we hold will be an important step to teach seniors about the resources available to them,” he said.

Legal issues and the need for an attorney’s assistance can develop when questions arise over a senior’s shelter, food quality and supply, public assistance benefits and independence. 

For example, a legal services provider may be able to determine that an elder’s inability to pay the utility bill is actually the result of losing money in a home repair swindle, or that the need for housing assistance stems from a landlord-tenant dispute that led to eviction.

The minigrants were awarded only to legal aid agencies that provide civil legal services to low-income Floridians and to vulnerable and poor older Floridians. 

The minigrant recipients will collaborate with their local Area Agency on Aging or other aging network provider. The community education event must focus on a consumer law topic such as consequences to signing a contract, debt collection, scam and fraud awareness, or identity theft.

For more information, call 356-8371, extension 302.

Jim Moran Foundation supports seniors
The Jim Moran Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant payable over two years to the Senior Life Foundation for its Lifelines for Seniors program, which provides emergency assistance to low-income seniors.

Founded by automotive pioneer Jim Moran, the mission of the Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of programs and opportunities that meet the needs of the community.

Also, the Senior Life Foundation is partnering with the Northeast Florida Community Action Agency and the City’s Independent Living Program in a “Saving Our Seniors Energy” effort to repair or replace an essential appliance whose condition is contributing to high energy costs for those who meet the Senior Life Foundation’s eligibility requirements.

The foundation receives referrals from the community action agency. For referred seniors to receive assistance, they must be at least 60 years old, live independently and have a monthly household income not exceeding $1,000.

The Senior Life Foundation also is donating pianos to the Clanzel Brown, Louis Dinah and Moncrief senior centers, thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation in Jacksonville and a posting on Craigslist by Holiday Hill Baptist Church in Arlington.

The foundation received the pianos through a donation to the church, where they had been in service for many years. Donating their assistance to move the pianos to their new homes are Carolyn Antman, who is licensed in piano-tuning, repair and restoration, and business partner Vincent Jaso.

The idea to provide pianos came about as part of the foundation’s 10th anniversary project to bring the gift of music to Duval County seniors.

Next, the pianos will be tuned and concerts with sing-alongs, featuring Senior Life Foundation board member John Thomas at the piano, will be scheduled at the centers.

“The Senior Life Foundation is delighted to be able to donate pianos to these Duval County senior centers,” said Mari Terbrueggen, president and founder.

“Music really is a universal language. Come to one of our concerts and you will see smiling seniors tapping their toes and singing along to the tunes of their youth. Most importantly, these concerts provide outreach for our foundation. They are our way of alerting seniors, whose incomes are below the poverty level, that the Senior Life Foundation often can provide immediate assistance in a crisis,” she said.

Regions Bank donates books
United Way of Northeast Florida and Regions Bank are distributing more than 1,400 books to United Way-funded programs supporting early learning, student success and senior engagement in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

Regions Bank conducted the book drive on behalf of United Ways from Florida’s Panhandle to Jacksonville as part of its “Share the Good” community service program.

Help for storm victims
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. announced that guests in any of its 484 store locations throughout its operating area can help their neighbors affected by the tornadoes and severe storms that swept across the South last week by donating through the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program.

Winn-Dixie customers will find “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” donation sheets available at all registers, where they can donate an amount between 50 cents and $500 directly to the American Red Cross. 

The cashier will scan the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” donation sheet, which automatically adds the amount designated by the customer to the total bill.

Funds from the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program will aid the American Red Cross in providing food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to the communities affected by the storms that caused major damage in Alabama last week.

Ability Housing awarded state grant
The Florida Department of Children and Families has awarded Ability Housing of Northeast Florida $365,175 to support the nonprofit’s mission to provide quality, affordable housing for adults with a disability and others at risk of homelessness.

The grant is one of six Homeless Housing Assistance Grants awarded statewide and will support Ability Housing’s efforts to rehabilitate 34 apartments into permanent housing for homeless families.

“People have a preconceived notion of who the homeless are. But, in reality, they’re our neighbors. Families with children are the fastest growing homeless population in our community. Something has to be done; the lasting impacts on those children and our community will be tremendous,” said Ability Housing executive director, Shannon Nazworth.