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Evening the field

The Jaguars Foundation Board announced the awarding of $596,150 in grants in its first grant cycle of 2006 to 21 local youth-serving agencies serving economically and socially disadvantaged children and families.

Under the leadership of Delores Barr Weaver, Jaguars Foundation Chair and CEO, the Foundation's grand total in grant giving since 1995 is more than $9.5 million in the Jacksonville area, which includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties. "Our dream of the Jaguars Foundation began even before Jacksonville was awarded the 30th NFL franchise in 1993, and we were already awarding grants before the team played its first game in 1995," Weaver remarked. "I am proud of the Jaguars Partners for making the million-dollar commitment annually to support these important programs for youth and their families."

According to the Foundation's Executive Director, Peter Racine, "Quality after-school, summer and prevention programs give low-income children and teens a chance to capitalize on opportunities for success in the future that we all want our children to have." Racine reported that this year's grants included many agencies with long-term track records of proven quality services for children, as well as some promising new initiatives, including a middle school peer-mentoring program for special needs children, an after-school and summer program focused on the needs of 3rd to 5th grade girls, a transition program for foster care teens preparing for adulthood, and a father involvement program for families with pre-kindergarten children.

The following general grants were awarded by the Jaguars Foundation in the first cycle for 2006:

· Best Buddies International Inc.: $5,000; Peer mentoring program for special needs students at Southside Middle School

· Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida: $25,000; Woodland Acres Boys & Girls Club

· The Bridge of Northeast Florida: $50,000; The Bridge Teen Connection Program

· Communities In Schools of Nassau County: $25,000; Multi-site school drop-out prevention program

· Community Connections of Jacksonville: $50,000; Programs at the A. L. Lewis Center

· The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach: $40,000; After-school arts/youth development program at Mayport Elementary School

· DLC Nurse & Learn: $46,000; Program support and equipment at preschool/extended day care for severely disabled children from infants to 2 years old

· Duval County 4-H Foundation: $30,000; School-based 4-H Jr Master Gardening program

· Episcopal Children's Services: $7,200; Father involvement initiative at Head Start programs

· FIRST BOOK: $9,000; Support for distribution of 100,000 new children's books in the homes of low-income families in greater Jacksonville

· Habitat for Humanity of the Jacksonville Beaches: $15,950; After-school academic tutoring program at the Jordan and Donner Centers

· The Historic St. Johns County Police Athletic League: $30,000; Multi-site reading/after-school program in Hastings

· Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary: $10,000; Transitional independent living for foster care graduates

· JASMYN: $20,000; Safety Net Program for at-risk youth

· National Council of Negro Women's Child Watch Partnership of Jacksonville: $25,000; Community based after-school/summer program for girls

· Northeast Florida Center for Community and Justice: $30,000; Program support and scholarships for disadvantaged/at-risk youth to attend Metro Town Multicultural Leadership Program

· Police Athletic League of Jacksonville: $50,000; After-school educational program at Mallison Park

· Trinity Lutheran Church; $3,000; Children's Enrichment Workshops at various churches and the YMCA in Riverside

The Jaguars Foundation Board also awarded the following Straight Talk™ grants for comprehensive education prevention programs working to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among teens:

· The Bridge of Northeast Florida: $40,000; Focus on Kids I and II; Peer Educators; Cultural Connections; Responsible Manhood

· Girls Inc. of Jacksonville: $30,000; Growing Together, Will Power/Won't Power, Taking Care of Business

· PACE Center for Girls Jacksonville: $25,000; Time To Be A Girl

· Planned Parenthood of Northeast Florida: $30,000; FACES (Facts for Adolescents about Choices, Education and Sexuality) of Northeast Florida, Teen Advocates and Teen Theater

The Jaguars Foundation focuses on strategic grant making, networking, and volunteer support to serve economically and socially disadvantaged youth and families of Jacksonville. Other Foundation programs include Honor Rows® which uses seats at Jaguars home games to reward economically and socially disadvantaged youth for reaching pre-determined academic, behavioral, and public service goals; The Official Playbooks®, an initiative to encourage reading and use of local public libraries; Straight Talk™ which focuses on reducing teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases; and the Jaguars Don't Smoke campaign to reduce tobacco use among youth.

The second cycle of grants for 2006 will be awarded in late November. For information on the Grants Program guidelines and application, please visit the Jaguars Foundation website at or call (904) 633-KIDS.

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