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Beaches Community Fund

Beaches Community Fund members discuss the latest round of grantmaking prior to the ratification of three new grants. 

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 who struggle with basic human needs.

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 persons 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. Three major issues surfaced at the beach: hunger, children and veterans. All three issues had poverty at their core. 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

More than two dozen donor families at the beach are now contributing to a pooled grantmaking fund from which all grants will be made. Foundation staff will work with the group to establish priorities, research grant opportunities, seek answers to member questions, manage grantmaking functions and share results. The first two grants were made in the fall of 2015:

  • $75,000 to Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) which will 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 

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 jcohen@jaxcf.org or call her at (904) 356-4483.

 

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