McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation commits $1 million to youth education


The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation will commit $1 million over the next four years to after school academic tutoring, mentoring and development programs for students of all ages at the McKenzie’s Academic Resource Centers (MARC) in Jacksonville. Through the commitment, Goodwill Industries of North Florida’s Career Services department will partner with the foundation, focusing on operations and resource provision for the MARC programs.

“Our mission has always been to help young people recognize their full potential, and one of the best ways to do that is to empower youth through education,” said Blake Wilson, CEO of The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation. “By building a bridge between the classroom and the community, students at McKenzie’s Academic Resource Centers are being provided the opportunity to receive extra academic support in an effort to get better grades, to graduate high school and to continue to excel through college.”

With more than 300 children enrolled, the MARCs are currently operated each weekday after school by a staff of site coordinators, Duval County Public Schools educational liaisons, teacher tutors and volunteers in communities with large populations of at-risk learners. The mission of these free programs is to increase the promotion rate among students at all grade levels throughout Duval County.

In July 2014, Goodwill developed a Career Services department featuring Take Stock in Children Duval, a student mentoring and college scholarship program, and the A-STEP program, aimed at providing support for adults pursuing sustainable careers.

“By adding McKenzie’s Academic Resource Centers to our Career Services department, we will have the opportunity to impact students at an earlier age to better prepare them for a brighter future,” said Leah Lynch, vice president of Goodwill Industries of North Florida Career Services. “Together, we will have a greater impact on the whole family.”

To date, The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation has invested nearly $4 million to help young people through its local and global initiatives. The foundation was created in memory of Wilson, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident who died in 2010. The foundation is dedicated to empowering young people to discover their purpose.