Local Rotary club holds Nonprofit Day


The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach held Nonprofit Day on March 1, hosting leaders from two local nonprofit organizations to speak at its meeting at Marsh Landing Country Club.

Dr. Jennifer Brown, executive director of KIPP Jacksonville Schools, first explained her nonprofit’s mission of preparing students from the city’s educationally underserved communities with the necessary tools for success in college and life.

“We believe that demographics do not define destiny,” said Brown, whose schools are tuition-free, public charters. “At KIPP, we are all committed to seeing our students get access to college and choice-filled lives.”

In fact, Brown added, college begins for KIPP students on the first day of kindergarten, when they are told the year they will be entering college.

KIPP Jacksonville Schools, which is currently comprised of two elementary schools and a middle school, is part of the greater KIPP network of 209 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The wait list currently has over 1,000 students, Brown noted. Visit https://www.kippjax.org/ for more information.

Mike Merrill, the founder and president of Florida Urgent Rescue, discussed F.U.R.’s goal to improve the lives of shelter and rescue animals, assist in urgent rescue situations and implement resources to help animals.

“Our philosophy is to help the animals that need the most help,” said Merrill, whose organization has rescued over 740 animals, or 27 dogs and cats per month, over the past two years.

F.U.R.’s efforts include foster services, veterinary services and an adoption program. What sets the nonprofit apart, Merrill said, is its additional offerings. These include shelter introductions and evaluations, which allow the organization to learn more information about the shelter animals; the Save Our Strays program, which is now responsible for tracking and trapping 86 stray dogs; and F.U.R.’s urgent transport program, which moves animals in need to shelters in the northern United States. Visit https://www.floridaurgentrescue.com/ for more information.