The Beaches Community Fund — an initiative of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida — will make grants to a dozen nonprofit organizations this year totaling more than $315,000, which is more than twice what was granted in 2017.
Formed just four years ago, the Beaches Community Fund has grown to three dozen families who pool their philanthropic dollars to respond to issues affecting many of their neighbors and fellow Beaches residents.
“It is a privilege to work with this group of generous Beaches residents, led by Martha Baker and Tracey Westbrook, to grow the size and expand the scope of their philanthropy at the Beach, particularly in such a short period of time,” noted Joanne E. Cohen, vice president of philanthropic services for The Community Foundation. “Their investments are already improving the lives of many of their fellow Beaches residents.”
In learning about the challenges of those under-served Beaches citizens, the Beaches Community Fund set a high priority for the first three years of grantmaking on transportation, early learning and nonprofit capacity. Grantmaking is not limited to these areas, but they did get special attention in the competitive grantmaking process. This year’s grants include:
· $25,000 will be granted to Beaches Council on Aging (Dial-A-Ride) to add a second vehicle, allowing Dial-A-Ride to expand service to Mayport and Ponte Vedra, and to include employment-related transportation.
· (Up to) $50,250 will be granted to Kids Hope Alliance 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.
· $75,000 will be granted to Christ Church Foundation for the Rhoda Martin Head Start Center in Jacksonville Beach.
· $12,000 will be granted to Read USA for 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 Finegan Elementary.
Nonprofit capacity building
· $20,000 will be granted to Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida to continue the Eleanor Ashby Leadership Series and Emerging Leader Series.
Hunger and nutrition
· $25,000 will be granted to Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) for food distribution from the Beaches Community Food Bank via mobile pantries.
Student support and youth development
· $10,000 will be granted to Beaches Habitat to enhance their afterschool tutoring program.
· $15,000 will be granted to Communities in Schools for a matching grant to fund a Student Enrichment Program at Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School to work intensively with the highest-need students who are most at-risk of dropping out.
· $10,000 will be granted to Girl Scouts of Gateway Council to continue community development troops for more than 110 girls at the Gail Baker Center and Boys & Girls Club.
Health & wellness
· $20,000 will be granted to We Care to supplement the Beaches Health & Wellness Collaboration with a Community Health Worker for follow-up and home visits.
· $35,000 will be granted to Women’s Center to support victim advocacy and sexual assault prevention and education at the Beaches.
· $20,000 will be granted to Mission House for the Rapid Re-Housing program, which provides short-to-medium-term (one to five months) rental assistance and support while clients seek employment, followed by case management for a year to assist clients in navigating roadblocks on their journey to independence.
The Beaches Community Fund grants committee includes the following members: David Loeb, Bill Buckingham, Nancy Chartrand, Helen Short, Ellen Wiss, Rebecca Blaudow, Andy Sharkey, Jan Healy, Tracey Westbrook, Martha Baker, Joanne Cellar, Mary Ellen Darretta, and Renate Hixon.
Since the Fund’s first grants were distributed in the Fall of 2015, the Beaches Community Fund has awarded a total of $673,060. For more information, visit .