Foundations Partner to Invest $900,000 In Jacksonville Communities Through LISC

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (April 28, 2011) – The Jessie Ball duPont Fund and The Community Foundation in Jacksonville have come together to invest $900,000 in LISC Jacksonville to support a new broad-based effort to revitalize communities in Duval County.

Leaders of both foundations are challenging the community to raise an additional $2 million to fully fund LISC Jacksonville’s EPIC (Empower People and Inspire Change) Communities initiative.

“LISC Jacksonville has a proven track record in our community of helping local people build safe, stable neighborhoods that nurture strong families and healthy young people,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “The new EPIC Communities initiative builds on LISC Jacksonville’s success by focusing not only on housing, but on family finances, children’s education, a healthy environment with recreational opportunities, and stable neighborhood businesses that provide needed services and stimulate the economy.

“Today’s world requires that nonprofits work more collaboratively and take a more comprehensive approach to addressing challenges — and LISC Jacksonville’s new initiative does just that. We hope other funders will join us in supporting this important work.”

To support the initiative, trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund have approved a $750,000 investment and the trustees of The Community Foundation have approved a $150,000 investment.

The total cost of the EPIC campaign is about $6.5 million, said LISC Jacksonville Executive Director Janet Owens, with about $4 million raised to date from a variety of funders, including LISC’s national office.

“One of the strengths of LISC is its ability to bring national investment to Jacksonville,” said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation. “As a national organization, it has a broad network of investors who recognize the critical importance of growing strong communities.

“As a community we must share that commitment, creating opportunities for every corner of our city to thrive — especially those that are most challenged by years of disinvestment.”

LISC Jacksonville opened its offices in Jacksonville in the late 1990s, spurred by invitations from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, The Community Foundation and the Jaguars Foundation. Since then, LISC Jacksonville has invested almost $42 million in Jacksonville, working in some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods.

A recent study, funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, underscored the importance of these investments, by highlighting the disparities in opportunity for children from neighborhoods north and west of the St. Johns River, compared with those south and east of the river. (http://www.kirwaninstitute.org/research/projects/jcc-child-well-being.php)

The EPIC Communities initiative will focus initially on two pilot communities in urban Jacksonville, with the goal of nurturing resident-led improvements supported by LISC Jacksonville’s financial investment.

To learn more about LISC Jacksonville and the EPIC Communities initiatives visit www.liscjacksonville.org.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund makes grants to more than 330 eligible organizations identified by Mrs. duPont in her will. The Fund has assets of more than $281 million and has awarded $303 million in grants since 1977.

The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, Florida’s oldest community foundation, works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community. It has assets of $154 million and has made grants in excess of $170 million since 1964.

Contact:

Sherry Magill, president
904-353-0890 / smagill@dupontfund.org

Nina M. Waters, President
The Community Foundation
904-356-4483 / nwaters@jaxcf.org

Mary Kress Littlepage
KBT & Associates
904-384-8496 / mekl@comcast.net