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Jaguars Foundation awards grants

The Jaguars Foundation announced that they have awarded a total of 21 grants totaling more than $480,000 to local youth serving programs in the first cycle of 2001. This brings the Foundation's grand total giving, since 1995, to over $3.7 million in Jacksonville and the surrounding Northeast Florida communities, not including significant annual in-kind support. The Foundation is currently reviewing applications submitted for the second cycle and anticipates awarding up to $1,000,000 in total financial grants this year alone.

Delores Barr Weaver, Chair and CEO of the Jaguars Foundation exclaimed, "Our dream of the Jaguars Foundation began even before Jacksonville was awarded the 30th NFL franchise in 1993, and we started awarding grants even before our first football season began in 1995." In describing the grant evaluation process, she stated, "We look at our grant proposals for a long-term effect rather than a 'band-aid' approach. The programs we support strive to encourage our children to dream and to instill hope for a better tomorrow."

"Jacksonville's future depends on its children and youth," added Peter Racine, the Foundation's Executive Director. "The Jaguars Foundation is helping to ensure that our most economically and socially disadvantaged children have the opportunities and support they need to grow up and positively contribute to our community."

Racine reported that the grants in the first cycle of 2001 represent various critical areas and strategies that affect youth, including quality, safe after-school programs and early learning centers, with an emphasis on child and family literacy; access to quality arts and cultural programs; the prevention of child abuse, neglect and family violence; and preventing teen pregnancy and the spread of AIDS/HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.

One agency director, Terri Florio, of the Mali Vai Washington Foundation said, "We are excited to continue our partnership with the Jaguars Foundation. Their support will allow us to serve more kids in our after-school program and to effectively track the results." Added another agency director, Barbara Alexander of the Family Nurturing Center, who developed a program combining parent education and supervised visitation for families whose children are in foster care program, "Our goal is to reduce a child's length of stay in foster care, and assist families in the healing and reunification process. Without funding from the Jaguars Foundation, this program would not have been possible."

The first cycle of 2001 Jaguars Foundation grants include:

Autism Association of Northeast Florida was awarded $22,500 for their program to provide education and support to low-income youth and minority families with children with autism.

Betty Griffin House was awarded a renewal grant in the amount of $27,000 to continue their school-based Peace Project, which educates youth on domestic violence.

Children's Crisis Center was awarded $40,000 to expand the Child Victim Rapid Response Program, a child abuse prevention and intervention program, to a new site, the Englewood Full-Service School.

City of Jacksonville/Beaches Park Project for Kids was awarded $10,000 toward construction of a handicapped-accessible park in the Jacksonville Beach area.

Family Counseling Services was awarded $30,200 for their Families and Schools Together (FAST), a family strengthening and parent involvement program.

Family Nurturing Center was awarded a renewal grant in the amount of $27,960 to continue their parent education program for foster children and their biological parents.

First Coast Developmental Academy was awarded $26,397 for an early literacy and technology learning center for pre-school children.

Girls, Incorporated was awarded a $30,000 grant to continue its adolescent pregnancy prevention and education program. This was awarded as a Straight Talk grant, as part of the Foundation's Straight Talk initiative to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

Heart for Children was awarded $5,000 for their summer and after-school program serving youth in the northwest Jacksonville area at John Love Elementary School.

Hearts, Hands, and Hooves of Northeast Florida was awarded $10,300 for hippotherapy, therapeutic horseback riding, treatment for economically disadvantaged handicapped youth.

Historic St. Johns County Police Athletic League/Hastings was awarded $24,000 for three community- and school-based after-school programs for middle and high school students.

Jacksonville Children's Chorus was awarded $5,040 to provide scholarship opportunities to economically and socially disadvantaged youth to participate in a youth chorus.

Jewish Family & Community Services was awarded $3,822 for their teen encounter group.

Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville/SAVE Program was awarded $5,000 for their reading and mentorship program at Southside Middle School.

MaliVai Washington Foundation was awarded $75,000 for their after-school homework assistance, mentoring and tennis program at the Emmett Reed Center.

North Jacksonville Youth Development was awarded $26,400 for its after-school recreational, summer camp, karate, and family fitness program.

Otis F. Smith Foundation was awarded $20,000 for its after-school program for children ages 8-10 years at Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School, providing academic assistance and test preparation for the FCAT and development of social skills.

St. Vincent's Foundation was awarded $20,000 for its mobile medical outreach program for vulnerable and underserved youth.

The Webb Center was awarded $50,000 for its Building Adaptable Skills Increases Capacity for Self-Sufficiency (BASICS) Program.

Theaterworks was awarded $5,670 for their early literacy and theater program in inner-city schools.

Women's Resource Center/Clay County was awarded a challenge grant, in which the Foundation will match funds raised by the Women's Resource Center, up to $17,090 for its Youth Empowerment Program.

In addition to grantmaking, other Foundation programs include:

· Honor Rows: Seats at Jaguars home games act as incentives for youth participating with local agencies to set and achieve goals. For the upcoming 2001 season, 4,100 seats have been awarded to agencies in the Jacksonville area. This program won the 1996 Governor's Community Investment Award.

· General Charitable Use Seats: In addition to Honor Rows, the Foundation offers seats to a variety of other charitable organizations. For the upcoming 2001 season, the Foundation has dedicated over 5,300 seats. The total in-kind value of Honors Rows and other charitable seats exceeds $400,000.

· Straight Talk: Led by Delores Barr Weaver, this program targets teen pregnancy and STI prevention through a partnership with local media. Straight Talk includes: annual live television production of a town hall forum; production of a teen-focused video; Public Service Announcements in the stadium and on television; a web site in partnership with the Florida-Times Union (; and in conjunction with Weaver Family Foundation, has awarded nearly $300,000 in grants.

· Nike/Jaguars Foundation Community Scholars Program: In partnership with Nike and the University of North Florida, this program offers selected youth who have participated in the Foundation's Honor Rows program an opportunity to earn a four year scholarship to UNF, and mentorship support before and during their college experience.

· Youth Anti-Tobacco Initiative: Partnering with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jaguars Foundation uses signs on scoreboards and in local schools, autograph cards, and Honor Rows pledge cards to send the message to youth that smoking is neither "cool" nor conducive to athletic performance. The Jaguars were also the first team to remove tobacco advertising from the back cover of game-day programs.

· Technical Assistance: Through a partnership with The Sports Philanthropy Project and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, staff provide technical assistance in program development, evaluation and improvement to local youth-service agencies, and nationally to other sports teams or team-related philanthropic efforts.

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