JFCS executive director Colleen Rodriguez honored for her 20 years of service


By Jewish Family & Community Services


It was a Friday, Bill Clinton was president of the United States. People were enjoying listening to Candle in the Wind by Elton John, Steve Jobs had returned to Apple as its CEO after quitting 12 years earlier, and Titanic would hit movie theaters in less than a month. The year was 1997. Iris Young was the Executive Director of JFCS, the agency was located on Cardinal Point Drive, and Colleen Rodriguez was hired as social worker on a Department of Juvenile Justice contract to serve at-risk youth at Joseph Stilwell Middle School.


When Rodriguez started with the JFCS the organization had a $2.5M budget, employed around 30 staff, and had limited space in an office on Cardinal Point Drive. Steadily Colleen worked hard for the children and families of Northeast Florida, showing the board of directors and JFCS staff that she was a true leader. In 2011 Colleen was promoted to executive director.


With Colleen at the helm, a supportive Board of Directors, wonderful strategic partners and generous donors, JFCS grew and grew in order to better meet the needs of the community. Through our wrap-around approach to social services JFCS now serves over 17,000 clients per year, with 176 staff in six core program areas, and a $12.5M budget.


With the growth of the agency, Rodriguez realized the need for a new and better designed building to house the increased staff and to provide a higher level of services to our clients. It seems to be no coincidence that Colleen celebrates 20 years of service to JFCS just as the agency settles in to its new headquarters, her ultimate vision; designed entirely from the perspective of a social worker –herself- to better meet the needs of children and families.