Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced May 21 he is donating $1 million to LIFT JAX to support the “holistic revitalization” of the Eastside neighborhood north of TIAA Bank Field.
The contribution is through the Jaguars Foundation. Through the NFL’s Inspire Change platform, the Jaguars and LIFT JAX have been working with Historic Eastside Community Development Corp. for more than a year.
“I love what LIFT JAX represents, so it’s my privilege to make this donation and help to set a course that I hope will have immediate and lasting impact,” Khan said in a news release.
“This isn’t about cutting a check, however. It’s about all of us making a commitment of our time and resources, continued and uninterrupted, to empower our neighbors and break the cycle of poverty. That takes work and requires accountability, and the Jaguars Foundation is more than ready to do its part.”
The release said the partnership is designed to target five priorities in the neighborhood, which also is known as Out East:
• Food insecurity: Provide year-round access to healthy foods, nutrition education and establish a permanent neighborhood market.
• Parks, playgrounds and green spaces: Reimagine outdoor spaces to encourage healthy lifestyles and increase community wellness.
• Local culture and business: Celebrate the rich history and culture of the historic Eastside neighborhood through support of local businesses and events such as the quarterly Melanin Market and other activities.
• National Register of Historic Places: Support the application of the Eastside neighborhood.
• Organizational and community support: Build the capacity of LIFT JAX and the HECDC to ensure operational support positively impact the Out East community.
“LIFT JAX is grateful for the Khan Family and the Jaguars’ investment in Jacksonville’s Eastside neighborhood,” said David Garfunkel, president of LIFT JAX in the release.
“The Jaguars’ donation will help advance the pillars of LIFT JAX’s Purpose Built Communities model which takes a holistic approach to strengthening neighborhoods through high-quality, mixed-income housing, cradle-to-career education, community wellness and long-term financial vitality.”
The release said the Out East community is considered to be one of Jacksonville’s most important historically African-American neighborhoods. It was home to A. Philip Randolph, union leader and father of the civil rights movement; Bob Hayes, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and Olympic gold medalist; and the 1958 Matthew Gilbert High School football team, the first all-Black Florida state champions.
For more information about LIFT JAX and Jacksonville’s Eastside, visit liftjax.org.