United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville have joined together to create Florida's First Coast Relief Fund to assist organizations helping those in Northeast Florida affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has pledged up to $500,000 to seed the region-wide relief fund, which will accept gifts from individuals and other funders to help with the immediate, unmet needs resulting from Hurricane Matthew.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the funding partnership Oct. 10 at the American Red Cross Northeast Florida Chapter headquarters in Riverside. He said the City of Jacksonville will participate in the relief fund's oversight committee.
“While Hurricane Matthew presented our city with many challenges, it has also presented us with many opportunities,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “I am incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support offered by philanthropic leaders, organizations, and residents throughout our community. The First Coast Relief Fund is an incredible demonstration of this support established to help citizens rebuild and support their immediate and long-term needs.”
The strategic partnership will enable the community to respond more rapidly, the funders said. "This collaboration will streamline and amplify the ability to quickly support local organizations serving victims of this hard-hitting storm," said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida.
"We know that many generous groups and individuals will want to assist in repairing and rebuilding our community," said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. "This effort allows us to focus on the disaster needs of the entire region. We believe this united strategy will allow us to move as swiftly as possible and achieve better results."
Florida's First Coast Relief Fund will begin with a $250,000 gift from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund will then match others' gifts up to $250,000 for a total potential contribution of $500,000, said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
"Our trustees know how devastating events such as Hurricane Matthew can be," Magill said. "We hope our gift – and the funders' example of collaboration – will inspire others in our community to join together and assist those in need."
Florida's First Coast Relief Fund will make grants only to organizations helping individuals impacted by Hurricane Matthew in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The fund will provide resources to meet needs not met by government programs.
“We know from our experience helping in other disasters that victims have needs that will not be covered by government programs,” said Magill. “This fund provides resources to fill those gaps.”
One hundred percent of all gifts will go to the relief effort. Any unspent funds will be used to seed a permanent disaster relief fund for Northeast Florida.
“The extensive damage to our communities by Hurricane Matthew is enormous. Our residents and businesses will face many obstacles in the effort to rebuild, but we will,” said Melissa Nelson, executive director of the United Way of St. Johns County. “Through this collaboration, we are able to approach this disaster relief regionally, which is fitting because we were all impacted. United Way of St. Johns County is proud to be a partner in this effort.”
The distribution of funds will be overseen by a committee comprised of representatives of the City of Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville.
The first grants to be made by the relief fund will be $25,000 each to the Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Jacksonville Area Command of the Salvation Army.
"We are pleased to join with Northeast Florida's strongest nonprofit funders in responding to this crisis," said Alan Margolies, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. "Each of us is committed to making our community whole again."
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO FLORIDA’S FIRST COAST RELIEF FUND
Text: Texting STORM to 50503
By check: Pay to the order of United Way of Northeast Florida and mail to P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428
** Be sure to note “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund” on the check
HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
Only nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.
Application forms will be available online by Friday, Oct.14 at bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief
and each of the partner websites.
About United Way of Northeast Florida: With a rich 93-year history, United Way of Northeast Florida has earned a reputation as a respected and efficient philanthropic organization. The nonprofit organization’s long tradition of addressing the human service needs in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and Northern St. Johns counties is made possible through the commitment of thousands of volunteers, contributors and community partners. Learn more at unitedwaynefl.org.
About United Way of St. Johns County: The only organization of its type in St. Johns County, United Way-SJC brings together agencies, businesses, organizations, faith-based groups, government and individuals to focus on the community problems that matter most. Partners share the vision and have the energy, passion, expertise and resources to get the work done. For nearly 60 years, United Way-SJC has improved lives and built a strong, healthy community by strategically investing in quality programs, building partnerships, advocating for better policies, engaging the community and leveraging resources. Success is measured not by dollars raised, but by lives improved and changed. www.unitedway-sjc.org
About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida: The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (jaxcf.org), Florida’s oldest and largest community foundation, works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community. The Foundation helps donors invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helps nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helps people come together to make the community a better place. Now in its 52nd year, the Foundation has assets of $313 million and has made grants of nearly $369 million since 1964.
About the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville: The Jewish Federation of Jacksonville is a fundraising organization supporting the members of our community and providing for health, education and welfare, and ensuring the dignity of life. For more information, visit jewishjacksonville.org.
About the Jessie Ball duPont Fund: The Jessie Ball duPont Fund invests in people, organizations and communities that were important to Jessie Ball duPont. To learn more visit www.dupontfund.org.