76ºF

More than $3M distributed to Northeast Florida nonprofits for COVID-19 relief

Feeding Northeast Florida changing the way it operates during the pandemic
Feeding Northeast Florida changing the way it operates during the pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 85 nonprofit agencies in Northeast Florida have been granted over $3 million for COVID-19 relief from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund.

The fund, which started making grants in March from more than $5 million in donations, is a collaboration between The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida and United Way of St. Johns County.

“By far, the greatest need we’ve seen to this point is for food and financial assistance,” said Kathleen Shaw, a member of the Relief Fund’s grants committee and vice president of Programs at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. “We have been able to make grants to some of the big regional food suppliers, like Feeding Northeast Florida and Barnabas, but we’ve also made grants to many smaller organizations so they can acquire food from the regional food banks and get it into their clients’ hands as soon as possible.”

Applications from nonprofits are still coming in, and members of the Relief Fund’s grant committee continue to meet weekly to review, approve and ensure grants go out the door quickly, the fund said. Priority is given to agencies in Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Baker, Clay and Putnam counties that provide food; housing; financial assistance for individuals and families; child-care support for first responders and other frontline staff; medical, safety supplies and equipment; and technology support for safety net providers.

The fund said vulnerable populations are a primary focus of Relief Fund grants. One of the earliest recipients was to ElderSource, Northeast Florida’s Area Agency on Aging.

“With the resources provided by the First Coast Relief Fund, we are able to help older adults with food, supplies, mental-health counseling through telehealth, telephone reassurance and financial assistance,” said Linda Levin, chief executive officer at ElderSource. “This funding and the services we are able to provide as a result are lifesaving.”

You can see a complete list of the grant recipients, including a county-by-county breakdown of the agencies, here.

"We're continuing to see requests from the organizations serving our most vulnerable neighbors, and are grateful to the coalition of public and private donors answering the ongoing call to help," said Katie Ensign, vice president for Placemaking and Administration for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. "Florida's First Coast Relief Fund is working closely with local systems addressing these critical issues -- including homelessness, food insecurity, mental health services, small businesses resilience, and emergency response services -- to ensure that grants are helping to build a more effective community infrastructure to quickly and efficiently get assistance to those who need it most."

The fund said generous donors continue to support the relief efforts, including recent gifts of $1 million from the city of Jacksonville and $500,000 from The Humana Foundation that brought the fund to more than $5.4 million – more than was raised for relief following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

The Relief Fund has hundreds of donors at all levels. The following is a list of funders who have committed at least $250,000 to the Relief Fund for COVID-19:

  • The City of Jacksonville -- $1,000,000
  • The Humana Foundation -- $500,000
  • Jessie Ball duPont Fund -- $500,000
  • Shad Khan of the Jacksonville Jaguars -- $400,000
  • The Jim Moran Foundation -- $250,000
  • J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver -- $250,000
  • Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock Foundation -- $250,000

A complete list of donors to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund can be found here.

“Thanks to all the supporters of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund for their generosity and confidence in our agency to mobilize quickly to serve,” said Lauren Weedon Hopkins, regional director of Catholic Charities Jacksonville. “As we learned from our Hurricane Irma experience, Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund provides essential funding at a crucial time so Catholic Charities can aid those most in need.”

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund is administered by United Way of Northeast Florida with 100% of donations going to nonprofit agencies that provide direct services to individuals with needs that are not met by government programs.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund will remain open until needs stabilize and while funding is available. To learn more, give or apply, visit unitedwaynefl.org/COVID19response.


About the Author: