JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, through the Jaguars Foundation, today personally committed $1 million to LIFT JAX and their work with the Historic Eastside Community Development Corporation (HECDC). The donation is designed to support the holistic revitalization of the Eastside neighborhood, also known as Out East, and continue work being done by members of the Jaguars organization to support a culturally-rich and important neighborhood less than a mile from the team's home at TIAA Bank Field.
"I love what LIFT JAX represents, so it's my privilege to make this donation and help to set a course that I hope will have immediate and lasting impact," Khan said. "This isn't about cutting a check, however. It's about all of us making a commitment of our time and resources, continued and uninterrupted, to empower our neighbors and break the cycle of poverty. That takes work and requires accountability, and the Jaguars Foundation is more than ready to do its part."
Under the banner of the NFL's Inspire Change platform, Jaguars staff began collaborating with LIFT JAX and the HECDC more than a year ago to determine how the team can best support their work. The team provided holiday meals support and volunteered in the community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January. Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer was introduced to Out East with a tour in mid-April led by HECDC President Suzanne Pickett. Click here for photos and b-roll of that tour.
The collaborative partnership is designed to target five essential, shared priorities:
- Food Insecurity – Provide year-round access to healthy foods and nutrition education and establish a permanent neighborhood market.
- Parks, Playgrounds and Green Spaces – Reimagine outdoor spaces to encourage healthy lifestyles and increase community wellness for all ages.
- Local Culture and Business - Celebrate the rich history and culture of the Historic Eastside neighborhood through support of local businesses and events such as the quarterly Melanin Market and other place-making activities.
- National Register of Historic Places - Support the application of the Historic Eastside neighborhood to the State Historic Preservation Office for designation to The National Register of Historic Places.
- Organizational and Community Support - Build the capacity of LIFT JAX and the HECDC to ensure operational support to continue to positively impact the Out East community.
"As a nonprofit founded on the belief that community partnerships can help solve society's complex challenges, LIFT JAX is grateful for the Khan Family and the Jaguars' investment in Jacksonville's Eastside neighborhood," said David Garfunkel, president of LIFT JAX. "The Jaguars' donation will help advance the pillars of LIFT JAX's Purpose Built Communities model which takes a holistic approach to strengthening neighborhoods through high-quality, mixed-income housing, cradle-to-career education, community wellness and long-term financial vitality. We are excited to work with the Jaguars, the Historic Eastside Community Development Corporation and community leaders to implement the priorities that residents have shared with us to create a more vibrant, thriving neighborhood for everyone in the Eastside."
"The Historic Eastside CDC and the Eastside Community are excited to begin a long-term partnership of 'Withintrification' with the Jaguars in our efforts to preserve and protect our community," said Pickett.
Located just north of the Jaguars home at TIAA Bank Field and known to generations of locals as "Out East," the Eastside community is widely considered to be one of Jacksonville's most important historically African-American neighborhoods and was once home to historical figures including A. Philip Randolph, union leader and father of the Civil Rights Movement; Bob Hayes, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and Olympic gold medalist known as the "Fastest Man in the World;" and the 1958 Matthew Gilbert High School football team, the first all-Black Florida state champions.
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ABOUT LIFT JAX
The seeds for LIFT JAX were planted in 2017 when, under the leadership of the Women's Giving Alliance, a cross-sector group of Jacksonville's business and community leaders convened to plot a path to eliminate poverty in the city. LIFT JAX's flagship strategy is to implement the Purpose Built Communities model in Jacksonville's Eastside, affectionately known as Out East. The nationally recognized model has transformed poverty-stricken areas across the country and is based on a coordinated, holistic approach to revitalization, including high-quality, mixed-income housing; cradle-to-career education; community wellness; and long-term financial vitality for residents. As the Community Quarterback, LIFT JAX is working with Eastside residents directly to identify pressing community needs and bring together partners to address them. For more information about LIFT JAX and Jacksonville's Eastside, and to get involved, visit liftjax.org.
ABOUT HISTORIC EASTSIDE CDC
Historic Eastside CDC (formerly known as the Eastside Community Coalition) is the formal neighborhood organization that serves as the resource and liaison to preserve and transform the Eastside neighborhood through equitable community development by improving access to affordable housing, social services, cultural development, wealth building, education and safety. For more information, visit www.hecdcjax.org.