The Community Foundation has long been a beacon of hope and promise during different calamities, thanks to the vast generosity of our donors and the unwavering commitment of our community. When (not if!) crisis strikes, communities need a fast, efficient, comprehensive conduit between generous donors and affected citizens. Anticipating such a need, we joined with the United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida to launch the First Coast Relief Fund.
When Hurricane Matthew battered our area in 2016, the First Coast Relief Fund was able to raise and quickly disburse more than $500,000 to nonprofits so they could help citizens meet needs not met by government programs. In 2017, Hurricane Irma brought massive flooding to tidal creeks and tributaries of the St. Johns River, overwhelming neighborhoods and public areas with unprecedented high waters. The First Coast Relief Fund quickly raised more than $3.5 million to help dozens of organizations respond to flooded residents.
In collaboration with two other Florida community foundations, each of which also received $5 million, two-year grants, The Community Foundation helped to establish the Florida BrAIve Fund in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations address the unmet needs of Florida-based military personnel and their families impacted by deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fortunately, for now, the First Coast Relief Fund is inactive, but it stands ready to help in the event of another disaster in our area. Our practice is to retain a balance of approximately $240,000 to be able to respond immediately when the next crisis occurs. We are not currently asking for further support but if you would like to help the fund have a greater ability for immediate response, we welcome your gift.