Junior Achievement selected by Delores Barr Weaver as 1 of 20 local nonprofits to receive funding “in perpetuity” from newly established fund

Delores Barr Weaver (front row, center) with representatives from the selected organizations including JA  of North Florida President, Steve St. Amand (back row, center).

Delores Barr Weaver (front row, center) with representatives from the selected organizations including JA of North Florida President, Steve St. Amand (back row, center).


Delores Barr Weaver (former owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars alongside husband, Wanye Weaver) has established a $4 million endowed fund to help Northeast Florida nonprofits with their annual fundraising events.

Beginning in 2015, the endowment will provide an annual grant of $10,000 to 20 local organizations to support their fundraising events “in perpetuity.”

Junior Achievement of North Florida has been selected as one of 20 organizations to receive the funding. 

JA of North Florida’s annual $mart Women Make Change event, which benefits its JA Girl$ initiative, will be supported by the grant from the Endowed $10,000 Event Grant Fund est. 2015 by Delores Barr Weaver.

About the Endowed $10,000 Event Grant Fund est. 2015 by Delores Barr Weaver
Delores Barr Weaver established this Fund in 2015 to provide a $10,000 grant annually to support a premiere fundraising event in perpetuity at 20 local nonprofit organizations. This grant will provide a permanent source of income for organizations that Ms. Weaver has generously supported for many years. It is her hope that other individuals will make similar permanent gifts to organizations that have been important to them. This Fund is one of a collection of Funds established by Delores Barr Weaver at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Mrs. Weaver has an extraordinary legacy of philanthropy, and she has provided transformative support to dozens of nonprofit organizations that uplift, enlighten and advance our community. Her establishment of the Delores Barr Weaver Fund ($50 million) in 2012 was the largest gift in The Community Foundation’s history.

About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (www.jaxcf.org) is Florida’s oldest and largest community foundation. The Foundation works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community – helping donors invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helping nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helping people come together to make the community a better place. The Foundation has more than $300 million in assets and has made grants in excess of $278 million since 1964.

EverBank Executive Blake Wilson Honored at JA Hall of Fame luncheon


Outgoing Chairman, Gil Pomar, left, with Thompson S. Baker Recipient Blake Wilson at Junior Achievement's Hall of Fame luncheon on June 24.

Outgoing Chairman, Gil Pomar, left, with Thompson S. Baker Recipient Blake Wilson at Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame luncheon on June 24. Photo: Living Image Photography


Blake Wilson, President and Chief Operating Office of EverBank, said, “Junior Achievement absolutely changed the trajectory of my life,” in remarks made at Tuesday’s Junior Achievement Hall of Fame event. At the event, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Nicolai Vitti, spoke of the relevance of Junior Achievement in the public school system.

Junior Achievement of North Florida’s 16th annual Hall of Fame luncheon was held Tuesday in the East Touchdown Club at EverBank Field. The event showcased the impact the nonprofit is making in the lives of youth and honored those who make Junior Achievement’s efforts possible.

The Thompson S. Baker award is named after the founder of Florida Rock Industries and recognizes individuals who have dedicated themselves to bettering the community through leadership, hands-on involvement and philanthropic deeds. Mr. Wilson spoke of his connection to Junior Achievement during his high school years. The once Olympic-hopeful freestyle skier found his purpose in business when he participated in a JA class. “I’m living proof that JA can make a difference in a young person’s life.”

Dr. Vitti spoke to the relevance of Junior Achievement in the public school system stating that currently, “Everything is reduced to a test. What JA has done…is application based, it’s real, it’s relevant…” He spoke of the future of the public school system in which business people are valuable partners and of his ambition to make Duval County Public Schools a national model for public education.

The luncheon honored and recognized the companies and individuals who enabled Junior Achievement to reach over 40,000 students during the 2013-14 school year. Florida Blue, Citi and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch were awarded first, second and third place, respectively, for volunteer companies of the year. Laurie Allen and Bruce Barcelo were inducted into the JA Hall of Fame for their efforts in substantially contributing to Junior Achievement’s success.

Emceed by JA students, the event highlighted Junior Achievement’s most recent projects including Finance Park Virtual, an online budgeting and personal finance simulation that has been embedded in the Duval County Public Schools high school curriculum.

View photos on our Facebook page.

Spring Bowl-A-Thon a Huge Success

Employees of Wells Fargo, #1 Fundraising Team at the Spring Challenge.

Employees of Wells Fargo, #1 Fundraising Team at the Spring Challenge.

Our annual Spring Bowl-A-Thon Challenge was held Saturday, March 8. So many teams signed up that we had to split them between two bowling alleys! Thirty-seven teams bowled for JA at Bowl America Mandarin and Bowl America Southside. The #1 Fundraising Company was Wells Fargo who raised $4,480! Another congratulations to top fundraiser, Gil Pomar of CenterState Bank who raised $2,100 for the Spring Challenge.

Thanks to all participating companies:
Advent Software
Ameris Bank
Carlisle & Gallagher
CenterState Bank
Deutsche Bank
Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, P.L.
Drummond Press
First Southern Bank
Florida Blue
Jimerson & Cobb, P.A.
Northwestern Mutual
The Jacksonville Bank
Wells Fargo

View photos on our Facebook page!

At JA’s Career Day 8th Grade Students face the question ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’


More than 200 eighth grade students at Dupont Middle School participated in a Career Day on February 14 organized by Rotary Club of Mandarin and Junior Achievement. Twenty adults from an array of professions answered questions and gave advice during the “reverse-job shadow” format.

“We really encourage students to think about what they want to do, such as planning which electives to take in high school that will support their career interests,” said eighth grade history teacher Lynn Mickler. “This is perfect because it gives them a firsthand idea of salaries and education needed.” She added, “Kids who are less than interested in school are taking notes, writing everything down, really getting into it…the hands-on aspect of it is really great.”

Rose Marie Preddy is a member of the Mandarin Rotary and helped organize this event that will benefit the entire eighth grade at Dupont. She explained there is a good sampling of different career paths including entrepreneurs, technical jobs which require no college degree, professional careers and even dream jobs: WJXT Channel 4’s Staci Spanos was present to talk about being a news anchor and the Oakland Athletics’ John Wasdin answered questions about what it takes to be a Major League Baseball player.

According to Daniel Locke, an entrepreneur who started a roofing company, he wanted students to understand that quality service will get them far if they’re interested in starting a company in the service industry. “In the service industry, you don’t have to be smart—you just have to be better than everyone else” he said. “If one kid gets what I’m saying, that makes it worth it.”

Junior Achievement aims to excite students to dream big and reach their potential. Students gained inspiration after interviewing the various professionals—police officer, architect, public relations, nurse, prosecutor, sales, author, banker and construction are just a sample of careers they had to explore.

When asked if this day helped him decide what he wants to do as a potential career, Benjamin, an 8th grade student replied, “Yes; It showed me how important of a decision it is to decide what I want to do in my life. The baseball player told me that grades are important—good grades will get you far!”








Interested in sharing your career experience with young people? Junior Achievement needs people like you to volunteer! Contact Tiffany Mackey at 904-398-9944 ext. 230 or email Tiffany@jajax.com.

Junior Achievement Receives $7,000 State Farm Grant towards High School Workforce Preparation

State Farm Logo

Junior Achievement of North Florida received a $7,000 State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship grant to carry out its JA Work$ initiative that teaches workforce preparation to high school students. These students will get a firsthand experience of the working world when they are trained and given a “job”: to teach Junior Achievement’s professionally prepared financial literacy programs to elementary students, while receiving feedback and evaluation on their performance.

JA Work$ allows high school students from low income families to have a better understanding of the workforce and the work place. Students from Lee High School have been recruited to participate and will be exposed to resume writing, job interviews and the responsibilities of work. Additionally, these students will have a deeper grasp of financial concepts because they have to teach them as their “job” when they teach Junior Achievement’s financial literacy programs to classes at Pinedale Elementary School.

“The State Farm sponsored JA Work$ initiative provides a direct impact on students graduating from high school,” said JA of North Florida president Steve St. Amand. “Junior Achievement’s workforce preparation programs that highlight resume writing, interviewing skills and workplace skills are coupled with actual work experience to give students a “how to” guide for use once they graduate.”

These high school students will receive a stipend upon completion of their “job” and much like a real job will be monitored and receive feedback on their work. They will also learn about responsibility, working in front of a group and the value of contributing to their neighborhoods. The elementary students who are taught JA programs by the high school students will not only be exposed to JA programs but to positive role models from schools in which they will soon be enrolled.

JA Work$ was implemented in 2012 as a pilot program thanks to State Farm’s support. This year, Junior Achievement looks to expand the program, preparing more students for success after high school.

Bowling for a Cause


Our first Bowl-A-Thon of the new year is coming up this Saturday! Sponsored by Vistakon, it will be held at Bowl America on San Jose Blvd from 11:30 – 1:30pm.

Sign up for this and future Bowl-A-Thons by contacting Molly Roberts at 904-398-9944 ext.231, molly@jajax.com.

What exactly is a Bowl-A-Thon? Check out our YouTube video to see what it’s all about!

Volunteer Spotlight: Amy Franks

Amy Franks

Merrill Lynch Volunteer Coordinator and Classroom Volunteer

Enthusiastic is one way to describe Amy Franks, volunteer coordinator for Merrill Lynch. She has been involved with Junior Achievement for 1 ½ years and is the reason many Merrill Lynch employees sign up to teach JA classes.

Amy works hard to get volunteers together to teach “JA in a Day” and also recruits for winter and spring teaching sessions. Lately she has been assisting Steve Avera, a Director at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch who is on JA’s Board of Directors, with setting up teams for Junior Achievement’s upcoming Bowl-A-Thon.

When asked how she gets so many people involved, Amy replied, “It’s actually very easy!” Her company’s daily email to employees helps get the message across: “Ten people have already signed up this morning to an email that went out yesterday,” she said.

Repeat volunteers are another resource. “They love the gratitude you get and the reward from volunteering…I ask them to tell a friend about getting involved.”

But coordinating volunteers to teach Junior Achievement is only one side of the coin. Amy is a JA volunteer herself, most recently volunteering for “JA in a Day” at Kings Trail Elementary where she taught JA Our Community to a second grade class. “I loved it. I was so surprised at how fast my kids learned because I had to go through the material kind of quick [due to time]…They all wrote me nice letters to take home; it was really sweet.”

According to Rita Story, JA program director, Amy deserves recognition not only for her volunteer service but also for the level of enthusiasm that she brings to the program. “I am very grateful for the time and talent she contributes,” Rita said.

Amy recalled some of her past volunteers have been invited by teachers to school luncheons and kids have made books for them. “Things like that show you really do make a difference.”

Amy, third from left, with fellow Merrill Lynch colleagues during "JA in a Day" at Kings Trail Elementary.

Amy, second from right, with Merrill Lynch colleagues during “JA in a Day” at Kings Trail Elementary.

All smiles after teaching a second grade class.

All smiles after teaching a second grade class.

Do you have enthusiasm like Amy to make a difference in children’s lives? Contact Tiffany Mackey at 904-398-9944 ext. 230 or email tiffany@jajax.com to learn how you can become involved!

Junior Achievement receives Starbucks Foundation grant


The Starbucks Foundation has awarded Junior Achievement of North Florida a Youth Leadership Grant in the amount of $10,000. This grant will support the JA Work$ program which provides high school students with work-related training and on-the-job experience.

“It is our goal to equip these students with work readiness skills to be become productive citizens,” said VP of Programs Tiffany Mackey.

More than 100 high school students will participate. These students will be recruited from Title I schools that are located in underserved communities. Students will also be recruited from our own JA Boy$ program which focuses on bringing financial literacy, workforce preparation and entrepreneurship programs to underprivileged boys and young men on Jacksonville’s Northside and Westside.


As with all JA initiatives, trained volunteers will facilitate the program. Volunteers will be recruited from local companies including Starbucks to teach two programs to JA Work$ students: JA Career Success and JA Personal Finance.

Armed with the knowledge imparted by these programs, JA Work$ participants will be provided a “job”: teaching Junior Achievement classes to nearly 1,000 elementary school students. Before they start, they will go through job application, resume and interview training under the guidance of volunteers. JA Work$ students will be provided a small stipend of $150 upon completion of their “job” and much like a real job, will be evaluated and receive feedback.

This workforce experience will help to eliminate the unknowns of job application and the workplace. Graduates of JA Work$ will understand what it takes to find and secure a job—a process that will no longer be foreign to these students.


“[JA Work$] is the perfect combination of taking theories learned in the classroom and applying them practically,” said JA Boy$ Program Manager Jonathan Bishop. “We want to give the student participants a peek into the real-world and what it takes to succeed.”


JA Girl$ Brings Opportunities to Young Women


JA Girl$ began in 2006 and has since become an award-winning program, weaving itself into the North Florida community for the opportunities it affords girls and young women.

The program partners with youth organizations, linking them to trained female volunteers. For example, JA Girl$ recently partnered with PACE Center for Girls, an agency that helps at-risk teens, to bring Junior Achievement lessons to its 12 to 17 year old young women.

Women volunteering with JA Girl$ are trained before entering the classroom like all JA volunteers. Uniquely, JA Girl$ training involves strategies for working with girls including:

• Girls need to feel safe.
• Girls need positive female role models.
• Relationships are central in the lives of girls.
• Girls excel in language, auditory skills, fine motor skills and attention to detail.
• Girls need time to talk.
• Trauma drives behavior.
• Girls tend to have higher standards and evaluate their performance more critically.

“The strategies for working with girls create fertile ground for girls to fully understand what JA teaches, ‘financial literacy, workplace readiness and entrepreneurship,” said Elizabeth Paulson, JA Girl$ Program Director.


JA Girl$ is alive in the community, partnering with agencies and programs that support girls. One such program is Generation WOW, presented by Orender Unlimited at the University of North Florida on Nov. 6.

The program consists of speakers and panels designed to empower young women and includes a mentoring component. Nearly three hundred girls from 37 high schools participated alongside 70 professional women serving as mentors.

Gen WOW mentoring is designed to help teen girls reach a new level of positive possibilities in their goals and career choices. The women attending received the same strategies as JA Girl$ volunteers, learning tips for working with girls and maintaining awareness that “Girls are smart, talented, empathetic, perceptive, intuitive, compassionate, and passionate.”


JA Girl$’ Elizabeth Paulson, far left, served as one of the panelists at Generation WOW, an event to inspire young women.

Paulson says, “Gen WOW ties to the JA Girl$ mission in that strong female role models are presented to girls providing hope for their future career aspirations.”

JA Girl$ was awarded the International MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award for outstanding innovation.

JA Girl$ volunteer opportunities are available! Contact Elizabeth Paulson at 904-398-9944 ext. 225 or elizabeth@jajax.com

Introducing… JA Boy$

Male volunteers from community agencies and companies teach boys lessons in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship as part of the JA Boy$ program.

Male volunteers from community agencies and companies teach boys lessons in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship as part of the JA Boy$ program.

“Empowering males to means” is the goal of JA Boy$, says Program Manager Jonathan Bishop. JA Boy$ is a mirror-program to JA Girl$ and will provide gender-specific programs in financial literacy, workforce preparation and entrepreneurship.

Seven years ago, JA Girl$ was created as Junior Achievement’s reaction to the growing number of single-mother households in North Florida and the needs single mothers have for financial education. That program is now being replicated in over 20 cities in the U.S. and five foreign countries.

“The other side of the coin is fathers not remaining in the 30% of households in Jacksonville that have only one parent present,” said Steve St. Amand, president. “While we do not have all the answers, JA believes that career exploration, workforce preparation and financial literacy are three areas that can help address this issue.”

JA Boy$ will serve boys and young men in grade levels from elementary to high school. Before heading to the classroom, male volunteers undergo training that includes strategies for working with boys.

“We currently have several groups receiving JA programming, including the Edward Waters College Black Male Achievers,” says Jonathan. “Additional partnerships are being developed with various agencies. We are also working with volunteers from the community and corporations.”

“We want to inspire and encourage boys and young men to develop knowledge of finance, understand the power of their choices, and achieve their full economic potential.”

If you are interested in volunteering for JA Boy$ or would like more information, contact Jonathan Bishop, JA Boy$ program manager at 904-398-9944 ext.232 or jonathan@jajax.com.

JA Boy$ Website