For the second time in Jacksonville Jaguars' history, the Jaguars Foundation has exceeded $1 million dollars in grant awards. The Foundation announced that 18 grants were awarded totaling more than $576,602 to local youth-serving programs in the second cycle of 2001. This, in addition to the earlier awards in 2001 totaling $486,401, brings the grand total for 2001 to $1,063,002 in grant awards. The Foundation's grand total giving since 1995 is more than $4.4 million in the Jacksonville area, which includes Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns and Baker counties. In 1999, the Foundation also topped the $1 million dollar mark, awarding $1,066,380 in grants.
"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," Delores Barr Weaver, chair and CEO of the Jaguars Foundation exclaimed. "I am proud of the Jaguars and its partners for making the million dollar commitment to support these important programs for youth and their families. In light of the September 11th tragedy and our current state and national economy, grant support of our local agencies is that much more important."
According to Greg Johnson, president of the Sports Philanthropy Project, a national training center and clearing house for professional team and individual athlete foundations, "The Jaguars Foundation is recognized nationally for its excellent programs, and this level of grant awards places the Jaguars at or near the top of philanthropy among teams, not just in football, but in all of the professional leagues."
Peter Racine, the Foundation's executive director, reported that the grants help to ensure that the most economically and socially disadvantaged children have the opportunities and support they need to grow up and positively contribute to the Jacksonville-area community. The grants address critical areas for youth, including quality, safe after-school programs; child and family literacy; access to quality arts and cultural programs; preventing child abuse; and preventing teen pregnancy and the spread of AIDS/HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.
The second cycle of 2001 Jaguars Foundation grants are:
-- Arts Triumphant, Inc.: $15,000 to establish an after-school scholarship program for low-income youth interested in learning the art of dance.
-- Boys Hope of Florida: $10,000 for expenses related to the positive development, health and well being of at-risk youth at the Boys Hope group home.
-- Cathedral Arts Project: $18,800 for visual art and string instrument instruction in after-school programs at schools with underprivileged youth.
-- Clara White Mission: $26,500 for support services at its after-school and summer athletic and mentoring program in the Brentwood area.
-- Community Asthma Partnership: Renewal grant for $50,000 for project to identify and address the needs of high-risk and underserved children with asthma.
-- Communities in Schools of Jacksonville: $25,000 to establish an in-school, character-education reading program at five elementary schools.
-- Dignity U Wear Foundation: $25,000 to partially cover costs for the Development Director position to procure clothing for homeless children, adults and families.
-- Limelight Theater: $6,723 for its outreach programs for underserved youth in St. Johns County.
-- Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): $100,000 renewal grant to support effective nonprofit community development corporations (CDC's) to improve low-income neighborhoods.
-- Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida: $25,000, in partnership with the Weaver Family Foundation, to help co-found the Nonprofit Center in Jacksonville as a resource for area nonprofit organizations.
-- Planned Parenthood of Northeast Florida: $89,936 renewal grant for the FACES (Facts for Adolescents about Choices, Education and Sexuality) teen health clinics, teen theater, and pregnancy prevention education programs.
-- Pro-Am Jax: $2,000 to provide positive behavior building opportunities for at-risk kids through organized sports role modeling and mentoring.
-- Project Special Care: $34,178 to provide special services and respite care for low-income families with children with developmental and/or physical disabilities in St. Johns County.
-- The Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art: $35,000 for its visual arts and literacy program in low-performing and/or underserved in the arts schools entitled ArtExplorium in the Classroom.
-- The Kesler Mentoring Connection: $25,000 renewal grant for mentor recruitment, training, background screening and other services to nonprofit agencies with youth mentoring programs.
-- The National Conference for Community and Justice: $20,000 for Metrotown Institute and "Leaders of United Diversity" (LOUD), to promote respect and understanding among teens of differences in race, gender, culture, and faith.
-- First Call/United Way of Northeast Florida: $19,316 planning grant to explore feasibility of creating a collaborative online venue for disseminating important health-related information to at-risk teens.
-- University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville: $49,149 to its Pediatric Emergency Medical Department to study the incidence of teen depression locally and create a validated depression screening tool that emergency department physicians can utilize to help prevent teen suicide.
In addition to grantmaking, other Foundation programs include:
-- Honor Rows: Seats at Jaguars home games are used as incentives for youth participating with local agencies to set and achieve goals. During the 2001 season, 4,100 seats were 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. During the 2001 season, the Foundation dedicated more than 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 (straighttalk.jacksonville.com) in partnership with The Florida-Times Union; and, in conjunction with the Weaver Family Foundation, has awarded nearly $300,000 in grants. For the 2002 season, Straight Talk "Teens & Sex … The Real Truth" live simulcast is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, from 8:00-9:00 p.m. on stations WJCT-PBS 7 and WJXT-CBS 4. The show will continue to be broadcast through May 29 on the following stations:
Saturday, May 25, 6:00-7:00p.m. WAWS-Fox 30
Sunday, May 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m. WTEV-UPN 47
Monday, May 27, 8:00-9:00 p.m. WJWB-17
Tuesday, May 28, 8:00 -9:00 p.m. WTLV-NBC 12
Wednesday, May 29, 8:00-9:00 p.m. WJXX-ABC 25
-- 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, as well as 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, on autograph cards and on 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, Jaguars Foundation staff provide technical assistance in program development, evaluation and improvement to local youth-serving agencies, and nationally to other sports teams or team-related philanthropic efforts.