Community groups collaborate on hurricane-relief fund

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With many people in northeast Florida in need of help after Hurricane Matthew, United Way, the Jesse Ball duPont Fund, the Red Cross and others are working together to help.

The First Coast Relief Fund is being established to help with housing, medical costs and other expenses from the hurricane. The organizations are asking the public to help with donations.

"The point is, there are a lot of people in the city that are hurting right now," Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said. "There are people in the city that struggle to make it every single day, and now they have a significant financial burden on them. There are people who have been without power for days. We have been collaborating together and riding our utility hard. Those linemen and women are out there working hard every day. We are working hard to get all of that power back on, because people are tired, they're hungry and they are hot and they are thirsty."

The Jesse Ball duPont Fund is pledging up to $500,000 seed money for the fund. Some of that money will be used to match donations from the public. Contributions can be made to the United Way. The first recipients include the Red Cross and Salvation Army, each receiving $25,000

You can actually text to donate by sending STORM to 50503.

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville have signed on to help with the relief fund. 

“I am incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support offered by philanthropic leaders, organizations and residents throughout our community," Curry said. "The First Coast Relief Fund is an incredible demonstration of this support established to help citizens rebuild and support their immediate and long-term needs.”

Florida's First Coast Relief Fund will make grants only to organizations helping individuals impacted by Hurricane Matthew in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The fund will provide resources to meet needs not met by government programs.

"This collaboration will streamline and amplify the ability to quickly support local organizations serving victims of this hard-hitting storm," said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida.
"We know that many generous groups and individuals will want to assist in repairing and rebuilding our community," said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. "This effort allows us to focus on the disaster needs of the entire region. We believe this united strategy will allow us to move as swiftly as possible and achieve better results."

Florida's First Coast Relief Fund will begin with a $250,000 gift from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund will then match others' gifts up to $250,000 for a total potential contribution of $500,000, said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

"Our trustees know how devastating events such as Hurricane Matthew can be," said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. "We hope our gift – and the funders' example of collaboration – will inspire others in our community to join together and assist those in need."

The distribution of funds will be overseen by a committee comprised of representatives of the city of Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville.

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO FLORIDA’S FIRST COAST RELIEF FUND:

Online: bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief | Text STORM to 50503 | Send check: United Way of Northeast Florida, P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428 (Be sure to note “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund” on the check)

HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDING:

Only nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Application forms will be available online by Friday at bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief and each of the partner websites.

DONATIONS CAN ALSO BE MADE TO RED CROSS:

American Red Cross Disaster Relief donations can be made online at www.redcross.org/cm/wjxt-pub.

Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.