Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation
Believing that youth represent the community’s future, the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation is committed to serving the greater Jacksonville area through strategic financial, networking, and volunteer support benefitting economically and socially disadvantaged youth and families. By building upon our city's strengths, we seek to realize the positive potential of our young people in need. In doing so, we aim to serve as a model to other sports franchises.
When the Jaguars were named the 30th NFL franchise in 1993, the vision of principal owners J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver was to give back to the community in a substantial manner. The Jaguars Foundation was formed as the team’s philanthropic arm and awarded its first grants in March of 1995, before the team played its first game. Under the leadership of Delores Barr Weaver, Jaguars Foundation Chair and CEO, the team provides the Foundation with $1 million annually for grant making and programs. To-date, the Foundation has allocated more than $9.8 million in grants. This level of giving is among the top few in professional sports. Through a fair and objective evaluation process grants are awarded to local nonprofit organizations serving economically and socially disadvantaged youth and their families.
The Foundation’s non-cash awards include 11,800 Jaguars home-game tickets each year, with an annual value exceeding $420,000. The primary program through which tickets are distributed is HONOR ROWS®, with more than 4,200 tickets allocated annually. In partnership with REEBOK and Alltel, economically and socially disadvantaged youth between the ages of 9 and 17 can earn a seat to a home game by setting and achieving ambitious but realistic personal goals, such as academic improvement, nutrition/physical fitness and volunteer community service. Other Foundation-sponsored charitable seating programs include Sailors Aweigh for Navy families with a parent on deployment; inner-city youth football associations; HabiJax (local Habitat for Humanity) volunteers; and families at Ronald McDonald House.
The Foundation’s literacy initiative, in partnership with Pepsi and Reebok, includes The Official Playbooks®, a colorful booklet featuring the team’s owners, players, head coach, cheerleaders and mascot JAXSON de Ville, to encourage children to read and use their public library. Over 22,000 copies are distributed annually at local libraries. It can also be accessed on-line at www.playbooks.org.
The program has also spearheaded the distribution of 300,000 new children’s books to the homes of low-income families, with an additional 100,000 to be distributed in 2007. Also, approximately 1/3 of the foundation’s grants are awarded for programs with literacy and tutoring components.
Since 1995, the Foundation’s unique partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, local media, non-profit agencies and the Weaver Family Foundation has worked to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) among youth. The initiative includes a prime-time TV program for teens and parents, Teens & Sex…The Real Truth, broadcast by every network affiliate in Jacksonville each May. Additionally, more than $1 million dollars in STRAIGHT TALK™ grants have been made since 1999 for teen pregnancy and STI prevention programs.
The Foundation's primary objective is to help meet the needs of economically and socially disadvantaged youth (prenatal through teens) and families, striving to address the causes of those needs wherever possible, and thereby prevent problems before they begin.In making grant decisions, the Foundation seeks to support initiatives that foster significant lasting value beyond the funding period.
Organizations seeking support should attempt to build on the strengths of low income or disenfranchised youth, families, neighborhoods and local communities, helping to nurture sustainable local skills, leaders, programs, and facilities.In their efforts, organizations should involve these populations in identifying and solving their own problems, such as by enhanced participation of parents, legal guardians, and mentors.
The Foundation recognizes that differences in age, sex, race, ethnicity, disabilities, etc., can divide individuals from one another.The Foundation will support efforts that build understanding and promote cooperation among different groups.
In carrying out its activities, the Foundation seeks to promote communication and functional collaboration, where appropriate, both within the broader nonprofit community, and across government, independent, and private sectors.
Organizations seeking support should reflect a diversity of races, cultures, ethnicity and genders in their staff, board and advisory boards; or have realistic plans to strive toward diversity.
The Foundation will consider requests for capital campaigns or general operating support only if tied to an articulated long term strategic plan (e.g., 3-5 year plan), which should be submitted with the proposal.
The Foundation may put resources into projects of its own creation.In addition, the Foundationmay issue Requests For Proposals (RFPs).