Jacksonville, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2023) – The First Coast Relief Fund is now accepting grant applications from nonprofit and grassroots organizations working on direct community support and healing in the New Town and Grand Park neighborhoods. These grants represent dollars raised by the Relief Fund following the tragic, racially motivated shooting Aug. 26.
Through this initial phase of grantmaking, the Relief Fund is planning to distribute approximately $250,000. This open grant opportunity will provide funding for nonprofits and grassroots organizations up to $15,000 that are operating programs focused on direct community support and recovery including but not limited to: food security, community healing and mental health. The size of grants are anticipated to directly relate to the organization’s size, capacity and reach of services. The application is available at firstcoastrelieffund.org.
This initial grantmaking focus follows several community conversations to learn about needs in the area after the Aug. 26 racially motivated shooting, which directly affected the New Town and Grand Park areas of Jacksonville. Over the past few months, Relief Fund leadership have been speaking and meeting with grassroots organizations, government officials, faith leaders and nonprofits serving in these communities to assess short-term and long-term needs. These conversations ensure duplication of services are reduced and the dollars raised will have the most impact possible. Relief Fund leadership have also spoken with other communities who have experienced similar man-made crises.
“We have heard clearly in our conversation with residents, community leaders and nonprofits in the area that these issues are a priority,” said Isaiah M. Oliver, president of The Community Foundation. “We hope to support important, grassroots organizations that are responding to the community’s needs.”
The shooting caused the closure of the Dollar General store, which provided some food access to the New Town and Grand Park neighborhoods. Residents of the area expressed in community meetings access to fresh food was a challenge even when the store was open. In addition, residents expressed a need to address trauma from gun violence, which was also a concern even before the mass shooting that took the lives of three people.
In addition to the open grant opportunity, a total of $45,000 from the Relief Fund has been awarded to several on-the-ground organizations who immediately stepped in to serve following the crisis: Feeding Northeast Florida, Northwest Behavioral Health, Edward Waters University Schell Sweet Community Resource Center and The Hub (@ Kings Road). These dollars are meant to help replenish capacity of these organizations as well as support their future work in New Town and Grand Park.
“Our neighbors in this area are hurting not only from this horrific attack but also from longstanding, systemic inequities,” said Melanie Patz, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida. “As part of this partnership of grantmakers, we are here to help with some short-term needs and to listen to community members about the longer-term strategies that will improve quality of life for good.”
Together with partners, the First Coast Relief Fund is also in conversations about a longer-term strategy to address hate and racialized violence with a broader coalition of community stakeholders. The total amount raised through the First Coast Relief Fund in this effort is more than $1 million. Information on additional grantmaking will be coming in the new year.
Originally conceptualized following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Relief Fund has distributed nearly $9 million through 251 grants to 128 unique organizations since its inception in 2016. Response efforts to date include Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
Please note: Applicants must represent a nonprofit or grassroots organization
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FIRST COAST RELIEF FUND
Text: HEALINGJAX to 50503
By check: Pay to the order of First Coast Relief Fund and mail to: First Coast Relief Fund, 40 E. Adams St., Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32202. Please note “Healing Jax” in the memo of the check.
HOW TO ACCESS FREE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support via phone for people in distress, including resources for you or your loved ones and best practices for professionals. Dial 9-8-8 on your phone, or visit unitedwaynefl.org/988.
Additionally, United Way 211 is a free information and referral hotline available 24/7 to connect callers to emergency resources, including crisis response efforts. Dial 2-1-1 to connect with a call center specialist.
About United Way of Northeast Florida
Founded 100 years ago in 1924, United Way of Northeast Florida has earned a reputation as a respected and efficient philanthropic organization. United Way envisions a community of opportunity where everyone has hope and can reach their full potential. The organization’s mission is to solve Northeast Florida’s toughest challenges by connecting people, resources and ideas. United Way focuses on improving economic mobility in the following impact areas: basic needs, financial well-being and racial equity. The nonprofit organization’s long tradition of addressing the human-service needs in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and northern St. Johns counties is made possible through the commitment of thousands of volunteers, donors and community partners. 100 years of serving and uniting Northeast Florida was only the beginning. To learn more, visit unitedwaynefl.org, or follow United Way of Northeast Florida on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About United Way of St. Johns County
United Way-SJC fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in St. Johns County. For 60 years, this has been done by strategically investing in quality programs, building partnerships, advocating for better policies, engaging the community and leveraging resources to focus on community problems that matter most. Success is measured not by dollars raised, but by lives improved and changed. www.unitedway-sjc.org
About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Florida’s oldest community foundation, works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community. The Foundation helps donors invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helps nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helps people come together to make the community a better place. Since its inception in 1964, the Foundation has accepted more than $1 billion in gifts and made more than $695 million in grants. For more information: www.jaxcf.org.
About the Jessie Ball duPont Fund
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a private foundation that works to expand access to opportunity and create inclusive growth for the people, organizations and communities that Jessie Ball duPont knew and loved. We envision a world in which every member of those communities feels they belong, and is engaged in shaping the future of their community. We use our grantmaking, investments, research and partnerships to increase equitable access to opportunities and resources for members of society who have historically been excluded, and placemaking to build stronger communities where all voices are heard and valued. Learn more at www.dupontfund.org.
About the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida
The Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida mobilizes volunteer and financial resources to inspire engagement in Jewish life and assure a Jewish future in the local community, Israel, and around the world. Through the support of an annual campaign and Foundation, Federation helps to support members of our community by providing for health, education and welfare, and ensuring the dignity of life. For more information, visit jewishjacksonville.org.