Beaches Community Fund

Beaches Community Fund
Beaches Community Fund members vote on the latest round of grantmaking. 

From Guana to Mayport, our beautiful beaches are the crown jewels of Northeast Florida. But not everyone who lives near the shoreline can participate in the good life at the beach because of issues such as poverty and food insecurity. In 2013, a group of committed local donors stepped forward to acknowledge those needs, and began a journey that culminated in the Beaches Community Fund—a special fund created by Beaches people to support their neighbors and improve the quality of life for all Beaches residents.

Changing Perceptions

While the number of Beaches residents and the ratio of Beaches residents living in poverty are lower than Jacksonville, research shows that impoverished people at the Beaches struggle as much, if not more, due to lack of services and the distance to services in Jacksonville. This was validated in our meetings with the nonprofits who serve the community—they continually battle the perception that there is little to no need at the Beaches.

Research Based Giving

Following the request of interested donors, The Community Foundation conducted research with beach-based agencies, faith leaders,and government officials, as well as in-town service providers. The research pointed the committee to issues that particularly affect Beaches families and individuals, such as access to transportation, access to affordable high-quality child care, food insecurity, and mental health, among others. Upon reviewing The Community Foundation’s findings, several donors proposed establishing a Committee-Advised Fund that could be used to address some of the issues at hand.

The Power of Collective Giving

Nearly three dozen donor families at the beach are now contributing to a pooled grantmaking fund from which all grants will be made. Foundation staff members work with fund members to establish priorities, research grant opportunities, seek answers to member questions, manage grantmaking functions and share results. In its first two years of grantmaking, the Beaches Community Fund has made nearly $400,000 in grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $75,000.


The first two grants were made in the fall of 2015:

  • $75,000 to Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) to partner with Feeding Northeast Florida to open a satellite food distribution center
  • $10,000 to the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida to create the Eleanor Ashby Leadership Series—social and skill-based events to connect and strengthen the nonprofit sector at the Beaches.

Another round of grants was made in Spring 2016:

  • $75,000 to 7North II Inc.--including $25,000 outright award and $50,000 challenge grant--to help create the Mental Health Wellness Center
  • $35,000 to Lutheran Social Services of Florida for a playground at the Jacksonville Beach Head Start Center
  • $20,000 to the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida to continue the Eleanor Ashby Leadership Series 


In 2017, a third round of grants was made to bring total giving to more than $350,000. 

  • $5,000 to Florida Institute for Education at UNF to study opportunities to improve early childhood education for Beaches children.
  • Up to $15,000 to Read USA to conduct book fair(s) during the back-to-school timeframe.
  • To three Beaches nonprofits to experiment with low-cost options (including Uber and JTA passes) to help clients access transportation for jobs, health care, and basic services. Data from these pilot grants will be shared with other Beaches–area nonprofits.
    • $10,000 to BEAM
    • $5,000 to Mission House
    • $5,000 to Sulzbacher Clinic
  • $13,600 to Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida to continue the Eleanor Ashby Leadership Series
  • $25,000 to Child Guidance Center for start-up costs for a Beaches location
  • $10,000 to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church for its Emergency Assistance Ministry
  • $20,000 to We Care’s Beaches Health & Wellness Collaboration to add a Community Health Worker for follow-up and home visits
  • $25,000 to Mission House to add a part-time housing director in its Rapid Re-Housing program
  • $10,000 to Girls Scouts of Gateway Council to create a Community Development Troop serving 100 girls from low income families at the Beaches


Early Learning

  • Kids Hope Alliance - $7,500 for Phase I of an early learning project to strengthen early learning at the Beaches.
  • Kids Hope Alliance up to $50,250 for Phase II of an early learning project initiated by the Beaches Community Fund to strengthen early learning at the Beaches, with a special focus on the Mayport Road corridor.
  • Christ Church Foundation - $75,000 to support the Rhoda Martin Head Start Center in Jacksonville Beach.
  • Read USA - $12,000 to hold book fairs to promote literacy and an early love of reading for 800 children at the Back to School with BEAM event and 900 students at Mayport Elementary and Finnegan Elementary.


  • Beaches Council on Aging (Dial-A-Ride) - $25,000 to add a second vehicle, allowing Dial-A-Ride to expand their service to Mayport and Ponte Vedra, and expand their mission to include employment-related transportation.

Nonprofit Capacity & Collaboration

  • Nonprofit Center for Northeast Florida - $20,000 to continue the Eleanor Ashby Leadership Series and Emerging Leader Series.

Hunger & Nutrition

  • BEAM - $25,000 to support BEAM’s distribution of food from the Beaches Community Food Bank via mobile pantries.
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic Church - $5,000 to provide hygiene buckets for distribution through the church’s food ministry program.

Student Supports & Youth Development

  • Beaches Habitat - $10,000 to enhance their afterschool tutoring program.
  • Communities in Schools - $15,000 matching grant to fund a Student Enrichment Program at Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School to work intensively with highest-need students who are most at-risk of dropping out.
  • Girl Scouts of Gateway Council - $10,000 to continue community development troops for more than 110 girls at the Gail Baker Center and Boys & Girls Club.

Health & Wellness

  • We Care - $20,000 to supplement the Beaches Health & Wellness Collaboration with a Community Health Worker for follow-up and home visits.
  • Women’s Center - $35,000 to support victim advocacy and sexual assault prevention and education at the Beaches.

To learn about and apply for a Beaches Community Fund grant, click here.

Interested in Getting Involved?

Anyone can contribute to the Beaches Community Fund by clicking here or the button below. To become a member of the Beaches Community Fund and join in the grant recommendation process, please contact Joanne E. Cohen, VP Philanthropic Services or call her at (904) 356-4483.



Contact Information

245 Riverside Avenue, Suite 310
Jacksonville, FL 32202

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

Connect With Us