A confluence of factors often come into play in marginalized communities, but very often financial security is at the heart of the issue. Helping create economic opportunity can be the key to assisting residents in their quest for stability and prosperity. In supporting Community Development Corporations in neighborhoods like Arlington, Northwest Jacksonville, Historic Eastside and North Riverside, The Community Foundation provides not only financial resources but valuable partnerships, introductions to other funders, wider sector knowledge and community connections.
In 2018, The Community Foundation provided support for LISC Jacksonville’s launch of the state’s first Financial Opportunity Center on New Kings Road in Northwest Jacksonville. The New Town neighborhood now has access to services including job placement, career improvement and employment services through a national model called Steps 2 Success. The goal is to assist residents with finding a job as well as developing a career path. Steps 2 Success wraps financial education and coaching into the program, with the ultimate goal of family financial security. LISC Jacksonville now has five additional Financial Opportunity Centers.
In 2022, we made a $5,000 grant to Us and Our Children, to support a Lead High School trainer and a curriculum consultant to expand the Kash Kids virtual reality program in Northeast Florida. Kash Kids helps K-12 students solve future financial problems by empowering them to make better financial choices. The grant helped reach 300 high school students in Northeast Florida. The online program broadens the reach of this work beyond Northeast Florida, and will allow the organization to monetize the course for future revenue. With the help of a consultant hired with our funding, they were able to leverage an additional $30,000 in funding for the program.
Individuals released from the justice system can face a daunting future. Clients of Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work program receive training, job placement, financial benefits, support services, housing and transportation assistance – everything needed to build a new future after involvement with the criminal justice system. We have supported Operation New Hope for many years, and most recently provided a grant to provide food, shelter and basic needs for clients completing the Ready4Work program in Northeast Florida.