Our Impact

A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund

Give Now to the A.L. Lewis Fund

Left to right: Joe Louis Barrow, Branita Mann, J.D. Staton, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Nina Waters, The Honorable Brian Davis, Wanda Willis, Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Carol Alexander, Gregory Owens, Darnell Smith, Dr. Atiya Abdelmalik, Dr. Floyd B. Willis. Not pictured: Martha Baker, Mark Bennett, Mrs. Tanya Davis, Fred Franklin, Jan Healy, Chuck Hyman, Ken Johnson, Lisa Johnson, Tim Johnson, Ronnie King, Eric Mann, Antoinette Rowe, Jim Stallings, Cleve Warren

Supporting Black Communities & Philanthropy

Abraham Lincoln Lewis was a local entrepreneur, humanitarian and philanthropist who became Florida’s first African-American millionaire. Over his lifetime, he established many businesses, and founded American Beach to strengthen Black communities. Today, his vision and legacy continue with the A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund. This collective giving fund invests in solutions to advance equity, justice and transformational change in Black communities.

A New Way to Enter: A Conversation

Proceeds to Support the A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund Grantmaking

August 17, 2023

WJCT Studios, 100 Festival Park Ave, Jacksonville, FL, 32202

The A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund hosted a successful fundraising event, “A New Way to Enter: A Conversation,” featuring Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole and her two sister-colleagues from Spelman College, Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Dr.  Celeste M. Watkins-Hayes. Mayor Donna Deegan presented Dr. Cole with a key to the city of Jacksonville, and more than 250 people gathered to hear the conversation, which will air as a television special on WJCT Public Media. We wish to thank our generous sponsors, including legacy sponsor Florida Blue, and all the guests who joined us for an unforgettable night. 

“A New Way to Enter” promises to be a provocative conversation centered on womanhood, philanthropy and opportunities in our ever-changing world. Three colleagues, authors, longtime sister-friends, and distinguished scholars in women studies warmly invite you to join them for this special gathering in our Jacksonville community.

For sponsorship information, please view our sponsorship package here, and contact Wanda Willis, VP of Civic Leadership, at wwillis@jaxcf.org for details. For information about the event, contact Soirée Experts, soireepro@soireejax.com.

Registration Closed

Thank You to Our Sponsors


Inspirational Sponsors

The Chartrand Foundation

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

trailblazer Sponsors

GATE Foundation

Jacksonville Transit Authority

Supporter Sponsors

Martha Baker
Baptist Health
Barbara English
Community First Credit Union
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
Mayo Clinic
PGA Tour
Regency Centers
UF Health Jacksonville
United Way of Northeast Florida
VyStar Foundation
Ellen & Jim Wiss


Special gifts courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp


Igniting Transformational Change

Established by 22 community stewards in 2020, the A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund is the first of its kind in Northeast Florida. Supporting this important work achieves enduring change in three focus areas to strengthen Black neighborhoods and the organizations that serve them.

Economic Development

Increased access to opportunities that create inclusive and economically thriving communities.


Investments in educational resources that equip individuals and organizations with the tools to succeed in a career, business and/or industry.


Solutions that target eliminating social, racial and economic barriers to achieve optimal health and well-being in Black communities.

“‘When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.’
{African proverb}
That’s what philanthropy is about. We brought with us the tradition of being of service to others.”

– Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, great-granddaughter of A.L. Lewis

More about the A.L. Lewis Fund

For more information, contact Wanda Willis VP, Civic Leadership, at wwillis@jaxcf.org, or donate to support local Black communities.