Fund Pledges Up To $500,000 For Hurricane Matthew Relief

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has pledged up to $500,000 to seed an emergency relief fund to aid victims of Hurricane Matthew in Northeast Florida.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund was established Oct. 10, 2016 by United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. The relief fund will assist organizations helping those in Northeast Florida affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund provided an immediate gift of $250,000 to the relief fund and pledged up to an additional $250,000 to match gifts from other funders and individuals.

“Our trustees know how devastating events such as Hurricane Matthew can be,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “We hope our gift – and the funders’ example of collaboration – will inspire others in our community to join together and assist those in need.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the funding partnership at the American Red Cross Northeast Florida Chapter headquarters in Jacksonville. He said the City of Jacksonville will participate in the relief fund’s oversight committee.

“While Hurricane Matthew presented our city with many challenges, it has also presented us with many opportunities,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “I am incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support offered by philanthropic leaders, organizations, and residents throughout our community. The First Coast Relief Fund is an incredible demonstration of this support established to help citizens rebuild and support their immediate and long-term needs.”

The funders’ strategic partnership will enable the community to respond more rapidly, the funders said. “This collaboration will streamline and amplify the ability to quickly support local organizations serving victims of this hard-hitting storm,” said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida.

“We know that many generous groups and individuals will want to assist in repairing and rebuilding our community,” said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. “This effort allows us to focus on the disaster needs of the entire region. We believe this united strategy will allow us to move as swiftly as possible and achieve better results.”

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund will make grants only to organizations helping individuals impacted by Hurricane Matthew in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The fund will provide resources to meet needs not met by government programs.

“We know from our experience helping in other disasters that victims have needs that will not be covered by government programs,” said Magill. “This fund provides resources to fill those gaps.”

One hundred percent of all gifts will go to the relief effort. Any unspent funds will be used to seed a permanent disaster relief fund for Northeast Florida.

“The extensive damage to our communities by Hurricane Matthew is enormous.  Our residents and businesses will face many obstacles in the effort to rebuild, but we will,” said Melissa Nelson, executive director of the United Way of St. Johns County.  “Through this collaboration, we are able to approach this disaster relief regionally, which is fitting because we were all impacted. United Way of St. Johns County is proud to be a partner in this effort.”

The distribution of funds will be overseen by a committee comprised of representatives of the City of Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida, United Way of St. Johns County, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville.

The first grants to be made by the relief fund will be $25,000 each to the Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Jacksonville Area Command of the Salvation Army.

“We are pleased to join with Northeast Florida’s strongest nonprofit funders in responding to this crisis,” said Alan Margolies, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. “Each of us is committed to making our community whole again.”

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO FLORIDA’S FIRST COAST RELIEF FUND

Online: bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief
Text: Texting STORM to 50503
By check: Pay to the order of United Way of Northeast Florida and mail to P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428

** Be sure to note “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund” on the check

HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
Only nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.
Application forms will be available online by Friday, Oct.14 at bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief and each of the partner websites.