Jacksonville philanthropists Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock commit $1.25 million to COVID-19 relief, challenge others to step up

Jacksonville, Fla. (April 2, 2020) – Longtime local philanthropists Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock announced today a $1.25 million commitment to several Jacksonville nonprofits to support their critical missions, which are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four local organizations will be the recipient of this gift: Hubbard House ($500,000), Feeding Northeast Florida ($250,000), Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund ($250,000) and United Way of Northeast Florida ($250,000).

“We believe those who have the means to help should help, and we are blessed to be able to do so,” said Michael Ward and his wife, Jennifer Glock. “With this gift, we are hopeful others will join together in supporting our nonprofit community as these organizations navigate not only the increased challenges of those they serve but also the disruption to their own ability to operate.”

Ward and Glock have a long history of transformational gifts supporting local causes across Jacksonville. Ward has been a committed member of United Way’s Tocqueville Society since 1998 and is the founder of City Year Jacksonville, among many other notable achievements. He has been a true community steward, leading by example with his generous investments in a wide range of social programs. Ward retired from CSX in 2017 following a 40-year career in transportation.

Glock, Ward’s wife, serves as co-trustee of the Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock Foundation. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has practiced in Jacksonville for over 40 years.

Through their philanthropic vision, Ward and Glock have reshaped Northeast Florida, including now during this public health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically amplifying existing community needs and creating unprecedented demands on nonprofits.

Hubbard House, a full-service certified domestic violence center, continues to serve survivors and their children through the pandemic. The agency expects to see a surge of requests for emergency shelter and services as survivors and their children are isolated with their abusers. Additionally, they are experiencing an increase in expenses like food, staffing and technology, as their fundraising efforts face challenges.

“Because of Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock’s gift, Hubbard House will be able to continue providing life-saving and life-changing emergency shelter and services to survivors of domestic violence and their children in our community without interruption both during and after the pandemic,” said Gail Patin, CEO of Hubbard House. “The result will be saved local lives. It’s that profound and that simple, and we couldn’t be any more grateful.”

Hubbard House will use their $500,000 gift to cover budget shortfalls and keep the shelter and their services operating at optimal levels through the pandemic and beyond, as they anticipate the need for services to increase.

Moreover, as people lose their jobs and are unable to provide meals for themselves and their families, the need for food assistance has never been more critical. Feeding Northeast Florida, our region’s largest nonprofit food bank and hunger relief network, has shifted operations to solely focus on COVID-19 crisis management. Some of the food pantries they work with have reported up to three times as many households trying to access food, while panic buying and an overall 70% decrease in grocery store food donations has made it difficult for food procurement.

Ward and Glock’s gift of $250,000 will help Feeding Northeast Florida support the increased need as food assistance and Feeding Northeast Florida services become ever more critical. The organization anticipates families in Northeast Florida will continue to struggle with the impacts of this virus for many months to come.

“Pre-COVID-19, our clients often had to choose between buying food and paying for other vital resources like housing, medication, childcare or transportation,” said Susan King, president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “Now, with the realities of school and workplace closures, reduced hours, and neighbors unable to leave their homes, more and more individuals are being forced to make these impossible choices with no end in sight. Jennifer and Michael’s extraordinary support is a game changer for us at this unprecedented time, and their leadership and commitment will make a significant impact in the lives of the people we serve and in our community as a whole. We are so very grateful.”

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund was created in 2016 to help nonprofit organizations serve individuals and families in need during a community crisis. The Relief Fund for COVID-19 is providing much-needed resources to struggling families by supporting local organizations who deliver essential human services to residents disproportionately burdened by COVID-19.

“We’re so grateful for Michael and Jennifer’s gracious commitment to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund and even more so for their confidence in our local nonprofit sector to get things done,” said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and partner of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund.

For 95 years, United Way of Northeast Florida has helped individuals, families and nonprofit partners in times of need. Whether it’s answering thousands of calls for help through United Way’s 211 information helpline; coordinating Relief Fund efforts; or working daily with partner agencies to support struggling individuals and families, United Way is counted on by so many all year – and especially now more than ever. Like many nonprofits, United Way’s fundraising efforts have been significantly impacted by this crisis, and many organizations are depending on United Way’s support.

“Michael and Jennifer’s vision for Northeast Florida – a stronger, more vibrant place to call home – is powering so much good happening in our community every day,” said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida. “Unfortunately for so many of the nonprofits we support, United Way is not immune to COVID-19. Michael and Jennifer’s gift will help us fill widening funding gaps so we’re able to serve those in crisis now and all year. We are deeply grateful.”

“These are unprecedented times, and we hope our gift will serve as a catalyst for other large gifts,” said Ward and Glock. “We challenge Northeast Florida philanthropists, socially responsible companies and all individuals in our community to pull together to give what they can. Our nonprofits and struggling families need you now more than ever. When we all succeed, you will, too.”



Information on Resources and How You Can Help

Online: firstcoastrelieffund.org
By mobile phone: Text COVID19RELIEF to 40403
By check: Pay to the order of United Way of Northeast Florida and mail to P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428
** Be sure to note “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund” on the check.

United Way’s 211 hotline continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, and officials and community organizations are working throughout Northeast Florida to ensure crucial needs are met. Community members in need of assistance are encouraged to dial 2-1-1, where a team of information specialists are available 24/7. You can also dial 904-632-0600 to access a United Way 211 call center specialist. A COVID-19 information directory is available at unitedwaynefl.org/covid19resources.

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