When the Jaguars were named as the 30th NFL franchise in 1993, the Weavers' vision was to give back to the community in a substantive manner. Today, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jaguars Foundation and the Weaver Family Foundation continue that commitment, responding to needs in and around the Jacksonville community. In the seven years since these organizations came to Jacksonville, each has made significant contributions locally through donations, grants, in-kind support and numerous programs designed to specifically address the needs of First Coast residents.
The Jaguars Foundation awarded $737,352 in grants in the first cycle of 2002 to 30 agencies (see attached list of grantees). Since its first grants were awarded in March of 1995, well before the team played its first game, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $5.1 million to Jacksonville area programs to assist disadvantaged youth. The Foundation anticipates awarding over $1 million in grants in 2002. This level of giving is among the top few in professional sports.
The Foundation also annually awards more than 11,000 Jaguars home-game tickets with an in-kind value exceeding $420,000. The major ticket program is Honor Rows, whereby economically and socially disadvantaged youth earn a seat to home games by setting and achieving ambitious but realistic goals for academic improvement, personal behavior, and community service. This year, over 4,600 tickets have been awarded to youth, chaperones, agency staff and their volunteers to attend a Jaguars home game. Other Foundation-sponsored charitable seating programs include Sailors Aweigh for Navy families whose parent is on deployment; coach Tom Coughlin's Jay Fund for children with leukemia and other childhood cancers; youth football associations for low-income youth; HabiJax, sponsored by Friends of HabiJax for volunteers; and Ronald McDonald House.
The Foundation's Playbooks literacy initiative to promote reading will kickoff its 2002-2003 edition of The Official Playbooks in September 2002. Kickoff events will take place at a library branch in each of the five counties: Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. John's, beginning with the Jacksonville Public Library on September 10th. This colorful booklet highlights books for all ages recommended by players, coaches, and cheerleaders and staff. The Playbooks website (www.playbooks.org) is also being updated to feature new players. Both the booklet and the website also feature interactive games and contests for children to be eligible for Jaguars prizes.
The Straight Talk program, under the leadership of Delores Barr Weaver, continues its unique partnership with the local media to help reduce teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. This year, the Foundation welcomed a new partner: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF), the official health plan and community relations partner of the Jaguars. BCBSF has committed $44,000 annually for three years to help underwrite costs of the Foundation's live town hall forum, held each year in May, and other costs associated with the Straight Talk programs. In May 2002, the television stations broadcast the fourth live town hall forum, "Teens & Sex…The Real Truth 2002," featuring celebrity host Ananda Lewis and Jaguars players Kyle Brady and Donovin Darius. It was broadcast from WJCT, public television and simulcast on Channel 4 on May 23, and rebroadcast by the other five television stations from May 25-29. Straight Talk continues to inform and provide resources through its website with its new feature, Ask Dr. Linda, which can be entered through jaguars.com or Jacksonville.com.
The Foundation is in its third year of funding programs specifically addressing this issue, done in partnership with the Weaver Family Foundation. Straight Talk was featured on the nationally syndicated sports magazine television show "More Than A Game" in 2001. The Jaguars Foundation has also been named a partner with the National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy for the first ever "National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy" on May 8, 2002.
At Christmas time, through the "Bicycle Fix-Up and Giveaway Program," the Foundation, along with the Jaguars head athletic trainer Michael Ryan, helped to distribute reconditioned bicycles and new safety helmets to 100 children who did not have a bike and whose families could not afford to purchase one. The Foundation also volunteers at the Jacksonville Housing Partnership's annual "Paint the Town", providing a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of a house selected for the program.
Partnering with the nation's largest healthcare philanthropy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jaguars Foundation has established an aggressive campaign to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs by youth. Included in this campaign are public service announcements featuring Jaguars players, sending the message that smoking is neither "cool" nor conductive to athletic performance. This is also an integral part of the Honor Rows program. Every Honor Rows child makes a pledge to remain tobacco-, alcohol- and drug- free.
Also in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jaguars Foundation was selected in 2002 to serve as a national demonstration site as part of the Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) to promote philanthropy and help develop foundations in other professional sports teams and leagues. Twenty-four teams are expected to visit Jacksonville over the next three years to learn more about the Foundation's programs and grantmaking.
Through the Weaver Family Foundation, Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver have supported many local agencies and initiatives. Since 1995 they have made contributions to Jacksonville organizations totaling more than $7.8 million, which includes $400,000 of their $1 million commitment to The United Way of Northeast Florida.
Delores Barr Weaver, Jaguars Owner/Partner and Chair/CEO of the Jaguars Foundation, is the Chair of the HabiJax Golf Tournament and Founder of Friends of HabiJax, Jacksonville's affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Since its inception in 1996 through 2001, the golf tournament has built 25 houses, representing a cash contribution to HabiJax in excess of $820,000. Friends include major sponsors of the golf tournament, local businesses that participate in the Florida Sales Tax Refund Program and individuals.
During the fiscal year of July 2001 to June 2002, Friends built 68 houses, which represents a cash contribution to HabiJax of $2.3 million. The 2002 golf tournament will build 7 houses by year's end for an additional contribution of $245,000. Since 1996, the HabiJax Golf Tournament and Friends of HabiJax partnership sponsored a total of 100 houses for a cash contribution in excess of $3.3 million.
The Jaguars Community Relations Department manages a broad scope of community support, including player involvement and celebrity appearances, NFL outreach and recognition programs, youth football, an annual food drive, public service announcements, fan mail programs, and in-kind charitable donations of autographed team memorabilia, among other programs. More than 2,500 local organizations are assisted annually through the department's programs and services.
League programs implemented annually by the department include the NFL Community Quarterback Award, NFL Grassroots/Community Football Fields program, NFL Man of the Year Award (players), the NFL & United Way partnership, Tackling Hunger program, NFL Extra Effort Award (players), and NFL Charities and Youth Football Fund grants available to current and former players.
In addition to the Jaguars' work, that of the Jaguars Foundation and the Weavers, tremendous contributions have been made by foundations established by Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Mark Brunell. The Jay Fund, established by Coughlin in 1996, assists local youth and their families who are affected by leukemia. A total of $627,000 has been donated through The Jay Fund Celebrity Golf Classic, with those funds going directly to aid local families and to provide research in the area of pediatric leukemia.
The Mark Brunell Foundation is committed to enriching the lives of children who face chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Since 1997 his charity golf tournament has contributed more than $600,000 to Wolfson Children's Hospital, specifically for children receiving pediatric and neonatal intensive care. In addition to his foundation programs, Brunell supports Dreams Come True, the Ronald McDonald House, and the pediatric care programs at Community Hospice.
Other Jaguars players are also actively involved in the community including tight end Kyle Brady (Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Jaguars Foundation Straight Talk program), cornerback Fernando Bryant (25-Sports Foundation, Hubbard House, I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless), strong safety Donovin Darius (Donovin Darius Children's Foundation, Jaguars Foundation's Straight Talk, Honor Rows, and Playbooks programs, Gift of Life blood drive, Sharpen Your Skills youth football camp), punter Chris Hanson (Community Asthma Partnership), and tight end Pete Mitchell (National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Additional players are committed to support community causes this fall. They include linebacker Danny Clark (Unpuffables anti-tobacco program), cornerback Jason Craft (Playbooks and Jacksonville Reads!), quarterback David Garrard (Unpuffables program), defensive tackle John Henderson (Playbooks reading initiative), and linebacker Wali Rainer (prostate cancer awareness).
All of the programs described here, and the money raised and donated, have taken place in the eight years since the Jaguars came to Jacksonville on November 30, 1993. When the team was awarded, Wayne and Delores Weaver made a commitment that the Jaguars would be winners on the field of life as well as on the football field. These direct benefits to the Jacksonville community are living proof that the Jaguars are delivering on that promise.
GRANT AWARDS. The following grants were awarded by the Jaguars Foundation to date in 2002:
-- Autism Association of NE Florida: $25,000 renewal grant to support parents of children with autism to improve care of autistic children and advocate for needed services in Jacksonville such as those that are available elsewhere in the state.
-- Betty Griffith House: Renewal grant for $28,849 the Peace Project in St. Johns County to end the cycle of domestic violence by educating students, parents and teachers.
-- The Bridge of Northeast Florida: $50,000 to help offset state cutbacks for the Bridge Teen Community Connection providing youth with academic assistance, mentoring, healthcare and health education, computer skills, job skill training and placement.
-- Children's Crisis Center: $36,854 renewal grant for the Child Victim Rapid Response Program for child abuse prevention and intervention in the Englewood full service school area.
-- Communities In Schools – Jacksonville: $73,982 to help offset state funding cutbacks for an in-school drop-out prevention program at 11 schools serving an estimated 1,000 students and their families. Also, $3,050 for a Best Practices Workshop for After-School programs.
-- Communities In Schools of Nassau County: $30,000 to help offset state funding cuts for the in-school dropout prevention program entitled Comprehensive Approach to Readiness Skills (CARS) at four schools in the Nassau County School District.
-- Community Connections: $50,000 to help offset state cutbacks at the A. L. Lewis Center for after-school and summer services for children and families; and matching funds for the Girls Club Leadership Program funded by the Remmer Family Foundation.
-- Duval County 4-H Foundation: $20,000 renewal grant for the Junior Master Gardener Program of hands-on horticultural learning and academic skills practice in reading, math, writing and science, using the Texas A&M developed curriculum.
-- Family Counseling Services: $40,000 renewal grant for the Families and Schools Together (FAST) early intervention program for at-risk youth and their families.
-- Family Nurturing Center of Florida: $28,985 renewal grant for a parent education and visitation program for abused children and their biological and foster families.
-- The Florida Ballet: $10,000 to provide a scholarship fund for professional training for young talented low-income inner city youth.
-- Gateway Community Services, Inc.: Renewal grant for $28,000 for a therapeutic art program for children in recovery from substance abuse and their families.
-- Girls Inc. of Jacksonville: $30,000 Straight Talk renewal grant for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (PAP) program to strengthen girls' skills to avoid pregnancy, promote health, and think realistically about their goals, values, relationships and futures.
-- Historic St. Johns County Police Athletic League: $30,000 renewal grant for multi-site after-school reading, cultural arts and tutoring program for youth in Hastings.
-- Hope Haven Children's Clinic and Family Center: $5,000 for outreach diagnostic and evaluation services, and therapeutic groups for low-income inner-city students.
-- Jacksonville Alliance for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy: $1,762 for 2002 Teen Summit.
-- Jacksonville Children's Chorus: $6,300 to provide scholarship funds for economically disadvantaged children.
-- Jacksonville Public Libraries Foundation: $2,000 for the "Jax. Reads!" program to encourage teens to read the classic novel of bigotry and morality, To Kill a Mockingbird; and participate in discussion groups held at public libraries, schools and other sites.
-- JASMYN: $25,652 for a renewal grant for the "Safety Net" project, which builds on and expands the Safe Schools Program.
-- Jewish Family & Community Services: $7,315 for a renewal grant for the "Collage" project for girls, ages from 11-17; and for a teen suicide prevention support group.
-- The Kesler Mentoring Connection, Inc.: $2,000 to provide support for mentoring awareness and recruitment.
-- Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville: $5,000 renewal grant for the "We Read to Succeed" for middle school aged teenagers with academic and emotional problems
-- Leadership Jacksonville, Inc.: $3,500 for leadership workshops for students at Andrew Jackson High School, and teen-to-teen mentoring for student leaders.
-- NBA Chance: $25,000 "Teen Streets," an after-school cultural enrichment and pregnancy prevention program at the Hollybrook Homes and surrounding community.
-- North Jacksonville Youth Development: $18,900 for a renewal grant to provide after-school and summer activities on Jacksonville's northside, including homework assistance, tutoring, martial arts, computer courses, and volunteerism.
-- PACE Center for Girls: $35,000 to open PACE's on-site "Straight Talk" Health Clinic, primary care services in partnership with the Duval County Health Department.
-- Safe Harbor Boys Home: $20,000 for funding to purchase a Dynamometer machine for an Engine Diagnostics Training Program, for their vocational education program.
-- The Sanctuary of Northeast Florida, Inc.: $25,203 for reading and "All that Jazz" after-school and summer program in the Springfield neighborhood.
-- St. Vincent's Foundation: $20,000 renewal grant for mobile medical outreach vehicles providing medical care to low-income, homeless and uninsured children and families.
-- Youth Crisis Center: $50,000 for the final phase of campus renovations that will upgrade program facilities and consolidate all of the staff on-site.