Delores Barr Weaver, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chair/CEO of the Jaguars Foundation, was named Episcopal Children's Services (ECS) Children's Champion 2007 at a luncheon held on the campus of the University of North Florida this week. Over the past 13 years, Weaver has been a leader and an active member of the Jacksonville community by helping families and young people lead self-sufficient meaningful lives.
This special award recognizes an individual from the Jacksonville community who has dedicated extraordinary time and resources to improve the lives of children in Northeast Florida.
"I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than Mrs. Weaver," said ECS CEO Connie Stophel.
"She has had a profound impact on so many children in our community," Stophel added. Not only has she given considerable resources to establish and grow programs that benefit disadvantaged youth, but she has taken a hands-on approach in working with Jacksonville's children, giving hope and opportunity to thousands of deserving children."
Under Weaver's leadership of the Jaguars Foundation, more than $9.8 million in grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations in Northeast Florida that make it their priority to serve economically and socially underprivileged children and families.
Established as a strong leader of the community, Mrs. Weaver has expressed her feeling that owning the Jaguars has given her opportunities to help children she wouldn't otherwise have been able to aid, and that she will continue to work for those born into difficult circumstances.
"Children come into this world with an innocence known only to them," she said. "It is that innocence that beckons me, and you."
At the luncheon, three special guests delivered first-hand testimonials of how their lives have been directly impacted. Weaver accepted the award on behalf of each member in the community who dedicates time to children. She said two of the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville's underprivileged are teenage pregnancy and male responsibility.
"Unfortunately, many children who we at ECS serve have no father in the home," said Weaver.
"We must expect, and, yes, demand, male responsibility before our teenagers are pregnant."
The Children's Champion award, established in 2006, honors an individual from the Jacksonville community who has dedicated extraordinary time and resources to improve the lives of children in Northeast Florida. Last year's Children's Champion was Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton for his efforts in promoting early literacy.