As part of the Jacksonville Jaguars' $1 million dollar financial commitment to Mayor Alvin Brown's Public-Private Partnership Initiative supporting military veterans when they return from service, the Jaguars Foundation is providing a $20,000 grant to the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida to create an online platform to identify and map all of the veterans' services in Northeast Florida.
Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said, "We are honored to be able to help support and assist members of the military upon their return. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their loyal and selfless service to protect us and our freedoms, and we hope this commitment will benefit many veterans in their pursuit of training, jobs, housing and quality of life with their families."
The grant was announced today at the 2012 Collaboration Summit and Workshop held at the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. Rena Coughlin, CEO of the Nonprofit Center, stated that the recently created online Nonprofit LINK platform (www.TheNonprofitLink.org) will be used to map and catalogue services in northeast Florida that are available to veterans in order to:
- Identify community-wide re-integration services to veterans returning from service;
- Provide government agencies a tool for locating and contacting resources for veterans;
- Provide nonprofits with a map of services and interrelated programs that will improve efficiency in service delivery and coordination of care;
- Provide nonprofits with the foundational information they need to work together to gather information, promote collective action and describe impact; and,
- Provide the philanthropic community with a comprehensive picture of veterans' needs and services, and a method of contacting the providers.
In announcing the grant, Jaguars Foundation President Peter Racine said, "We want to welcome our military servicemen and women home when they retire or complete their terms of service – not just with words – but with concrete and expedient support. This grant is an important first step as it will help all agencies and the veterans themselves quickly find what services are available, where they are located and how to get there."
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown applauded the Jaguars' efforts in the military and veterans community. Since taking office in July 2011, the mayor has increased the focus in this area by elevating the role of military affairs at City Hall and working with partners to curb homelessness among the veterans population while building jobs and opportunity. The mayor's Jobs for Veterans program has drawn more than 90 companies who are working to help veterans transition to civilian life with good-paying career opportunities.
"The Jacksonville Jaguars and Jaguars Foundation have long gone above and beyond the call of duty to support great causes that shape our city. I could not be more proud and inspired by the stewardship Mr. Khan, Mr. Racine and everyone involved with the Jaguars organization is showing for our veterans," said Mayor Brown. "My administration works hard every day to build a deeper, more meaningful connection with the more than 240,000 people who make up our military and veterans community. I'm encouraged not only by the Jaguars' teamwork and support of veterans' issues, but by the example they are setting for others to follow.
Rear Admiral V. Guillory (U.S. Navy/ret.), Director of the City of Jacksonville's Department of Military Affairs, Veterans & Disabled Services, said, "The LINK program will enhance the services currently being provided through our department, and will help prepare us for our new Veteran's Resource and Reintegration Center which will open in City Hall in 2013 as a result of the partnership with the Jaguars." Admiral Guillory added, "These veterans will have one-stop access to critical resources including skills development, job transition counseling, and assistance transitioning into housing."
For more information about TheNonprofitLINK.org and the mapping initiative, contact Rena Coughlin at the Nonprofit Center, 904.390.3222 or email@example.com
(Photo: Left to right: Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Color Guard at the October 7, 2012 Jaguars game with Shad Khan, Jaguars team owner, and the Honorable Alvin Brown, Mayor, City of Jacksonville.)