Federation again teams up with Northeast Florida’s largest fundraisers for Hurricane relief


By United Way of Northeast Florida


On the heels of what is estimated to be the most destructive natural disaster to hit Northeast Florida in more than a century, more than $2 million has already been pledged to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund to support immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts. Mayor Lenny Curry announced the pledges at a press conference, the Wednesday following the storm at the Legends Center on the city’s Northwest side. The First Coast Relief Fund consists of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, the United Ways of Northeast Florida and St. Johns County, The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida and the Jesse Ball duPont Fund.


“We are pleased to join again with Northeast Florida’s strongest nonprofit funders in responding, this time, to Irma,” said Alan Margolies, Federation executive director. “We are committed to supporting our community every day but, in times of potential crisis, it’s more important than ever to come together.”


 “This collaboration of partners is a great example of the important role of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector in our community, which is the backbone of so many critical services,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.


The Jacksonville Jaguars, along with several philanthropic organizations and local corporations have contributed funds totaling more than $2 million for the Fund, which was created in 2016 to aid with Hurricane Matthew relief and to establish a permanent disaster relief fund.


 “Jacksonville and Northeast Florida have been through a lot in the last 72 hours,” Mayor Curry said at his Sept. 13th press conference. “However, it’s been inspiring to see how the people of this community come together in times of crisis. Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund is a clear example of the generosity and volunteerism displayed by the people of this city.”


Major funders who have committed to the Relief Fund for Irma include the Jaguars at $1 million, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund with $250,000, plus a $250,000 matching grant, the Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville with $500,000 for Irma relief efforts and $250,000 to the Fund in addition to the Lucy Gooding Charitable Trust’s $200,000 donation and Florida Blue’s $1 million statewide pledge for support with at least $100,000 to this fund locally. Additionally, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville, Baptist Health, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and United Way of Northeast Florida have all made commitments to the fund totaling more than $300,000.


“Bringing individual donors, corporations and major philanthropies together is a great benefit for the community, because it efficiently focuses energy and efforts,” said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.


The week Irma hit the Sunshine State, two emergency grants of $100,000 each were made to the American Red Cross Northeast Florida Chapter and The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida to help the organizations respond to the region’s unprecedented needs following Hurricane Irma.


“These grants represent our immediate initial response,” said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida, which is acting as fiscal agent for the Relief Fund. “Together with our partners, we are addressing urgent needs and will be distributing the funds quickly to where they are most-needed.”


Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund will make grants only to organizations helping individuals impacted by natural disasters in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The fund will provide resources to meet needs not met by government programs.


In 2016, donors contributed more than $652,000 to the Relief Fund in response to Hurricane Matthew. 16 local organizations providing relief services received grants totaling nearly $500,000, leaving a balance in the Relief Fund of more than $150,000 for future relief efforts. Those dollars are immediately available to help with response to Hurricane Irma and 100-percent of all future gifts will go to relief effort. Any unspent funds will remain in the fund to maintain a permanent disaster relief fund for Northeast Florida.


The Fund also provides a vehicle for individual donors to contribute to disaster relief and recovery efforts, maximizing their contributions through matching funds from major philanthropies. Donations are now being accepted through the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville at 904-448-5000, jewishjacksonville.org, the United Way of Northeast Florida at unitedwaynefl.org/relieffund or by check payable to the order of United Way of Northeast Florida, P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428, with ‘Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund’ as the memo. Those wanting to give from their phone or mobile device can do so by texting ‘STORM’ to 50503. Non-profit organizations are also eligible to apply for funding by going to each partner’s website or by going to the fund’s official page at unitedwaynefl.org/relieffund.