Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

At 885 square miles, Jacksonville, Florida, is geographically the largest city in the continental United States. It currently ranks as the eleventh most populous city in the nation and the largest in Florida, with more than 825,000 people. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Jacksonville is 55 percent white, 31 percent African-American, 8 percent Latino, and 4 percent Asian. In comparison to the state as a whole, Jacksonville has very different demographics, with twice the percentage of African-Americans and Asians but a third the proportion of Latinos. In 2011, residents elected Alvin Brown as Jacksonville’s first African-American mayor.

In 2011, Forbes ranked Jacksonville as one of the top ten best cities for technology jobs and Bloomberg Businessweek rank it fourth for cities with the biggest growth in technology jobs. The city has also been ranked by Forbes in 2011 as one of the best in the nation for minority entrepreneurs; according to the U.S. Census Bureau more than a quarter of all businesses are minority-owned and nearly 30 percent are majority women-owned. Jacksonville also ranks as one of the best cities for young professionals to live and work.

At every level in Jacksonville – from the city- and region-wide to the most grassroots of efforts – community wealth building initiatives exist and are being implemented. Municipal enterprises are especially important to the city’s economy: JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority) is the seventh-largest municipally owned electric utility in the country and largest in the state, serving nearly 420,000 customers across a 900-square-mile service area. In 2011, the company had more than $2 billion in total revenue and nearly $2 billion in assets.

The Port of Jacksonville is also an important economic engine for the city, owned and operated by an independent government agency called the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT). A 2009 study estimated that 65,000 jobs in Northeast Florida are related to port activity and that the Port generates nearly $19 billion in economic impact annually. The Port’s current expansion project is expected to create an additional 5,000 to 10,000 new jobs. Furthermore, JAXPORT has made commitments to supporting the regional economy of Northeast Florida by implementing a Small and Emerging Business Program, which includes a focus on minority suppliers.

Several municipal and community efforts have been specifically focused on place-based revitalization efforts in the city’s especially hard-hit northwest neighborhoods. Metro North Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Northwest Jacksonville CDC are two neighborhood organizations focused on commercial redevelopment and housing rehabilitation in the area. City leadership has also turned its attention toward these neighborhoods through a Neighborhood Stabilization Program focused on providing affordable housing for families in three specific zip codes. The city has also created the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund (NWJEDF), a public fund that can provide up to 25 percent of a total project cost for existing or prospective businesses seeking to expand in the targeted Northwest Jacksonville area.

Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods also highlight the city’s community wealth building efforts. With more than 84 community gardens and the state’s largest and longest-running farmer’s market, Jacksonville strives for local growth through a variety of strategies. As result of the consolidation of Jacksonville in 1968 – which combined the city proper and county – local organizations have reacted by collaborating in various ways due to the large size of the city, including creating many regional associations and organizations. One such initiative is known as GoLO Jacksonville. GoLO manages a blog authored by various participating neighborhood associations to encourage residents to avoid malls and instead buy from locally owned and operated businesses in Jacksonville’s seven historic neighborhoods.

An overview of community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

The Community Foundation in Jacksonville

Founded in 1964, The Community Foundation is the oldest and third-largest community foundation in the Florida. The Foundation holds more than $164 million in assets and has granted more than $166 million to organizations. The Foundation serves Jacksonville and the surrounding Northeast Florida and is home to 392 individual funds established by donors. In 2011, The Community Foundation committed to investing $150,000 over three years (2011-2013) in a LISC Jacksonville comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy in Duval County.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville that serves approximately 330 organizations, selected based on Mrs. DuPont’s will. Today, the foundation focuses on building the capacity of eligible organizations, expanding access and creating opportunity, and strengthening the nonprofit sector. The foundation, founded in 1977, now holds more than $281 million in assets, and, in 2010, it granted more than $12.5 million. Awarding over $200 million in grants since its founding, the foundation has contributed to a variety of place-based investments, including supporting LISC Jacksonville, by partnering with The Community Foundation, and investing an additional $750,000 in its comprehensive neighborhood revitalization initiative in Duval County. In 2011, the foundation also made a $2 million program-related investment to the Florida Community Loan Fund to increase the inventory of affordable rental housing and grow the capacity of organizations that provide affordable rental housing locally.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville that serves approximately 330 organizations, selected based on Mrs. DuPont’s will. Today, the foundation focuses on building the capacity of eligible organizations, expanding access and creating opportunity, and strengthening the nonprofit sector. The foundation, founded in 1977, now holds more than $281 million in assets, and, in 2010, it granted more than $12.5 million. Awarding over $200 million in grants since its founding, the foundation has contributed to a variety of place-based investments, including supporting LISC Jacksonville, by partnering with The Community Foundation, and investing an additional $750,000 in its comprehensive neighborhood revitalization initiative in Duval County. In 2011, the foundation also made a $2 million program-related investment to the Florida Community Loan Fund to increase the inventory of affordable rental housing and grow the capacity of organizations that provide affordable rental housing locally.

Program Related Investments

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville that serves approximately 330 organizations, selected based on Mrs. DuPont’s will. Today, the foundation focuses on building the capacity of eligible organizations, expanding access and creating opportunity, and strengthening the nonprofit sector. The foundation, founded in 1977, now holds more than $281 million in assets, and, in 2010, it granted more than $12.5 million. Awarding over $200 million in grants since its founding, the foundation has contributed to a variety of place-based investments, including supporting LISC Jacksonville, by partnering with The Community Foundation, and investing an additional $750,000 in its comprehensive neighborhood revitalization initiative in Duval County. In 2011, the foundation also made a $2 million program-related investment to the Florida Community Loan Fund to increase the inventory of affordable rental housing and grow the capacity of organizations that provide affordable rental housing locally.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville that serves approximately 330 organizations, selected based on Mrs. DuPont’s will. Today, the foundation focuses on building the capacity of eligible organizations, expanding access and creating opportunity, and strengthening the nonprofit sector. The foundation, founded in 1977, now holds more than $281 million in assets, and, in 2010, it granted more than $12.5 million. Awarding over $200 million in grants since its founding, the foundation has contributed to a variety of place-based investments, including supporting LISC Jacksonville, by partnering with The Community Foundation, and investing an additional $750,000 in its comprehensive neighborhood revitalization initiative in Duval County. In 2011, the foundation also made a $2 million program-related investment to the Florida Community Loan Fund to increase the inventory of affordable rental housing and grow the capacity of organizations that provide affordable rental housing locally.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Ability Housing of Northeast Florida

Ability Housing of Northeast Florida is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 that develops and operates affordable rental housing for low-income individuals and families at risk of homelessness or with disabilities. In 2008, the organization purchased an 83-unit complex with a $2 million loan from LISC and Bank of America. After rehabilitating this complex, 42 units will be available for formerly homeless individuals and families, while 41 units will be available to low-income families for half the average market rate rent above $650. The organization has also purchased a 52-unit foreclosed property and is working with HUD to acquire a 60-unit foreclosed complex. In 2009, the organization generated revenue of $900,000, with 73 percent generated from rental and program revenue.

LISC Jacksonville

LISC Jacksonville was founded in 1999 to provide resources, practitioners, and advocates for community development initiatives. In supporting the increase of affordable homes, 24 homes have been sold in 2009 and construction has begun for 30 more homes in 2010. The nonprofit’s pilot program, Empowering People Inspiring Change (EPIC) Communities, works within Jacksonville’s underserved communities in the Eastside and Northside to stimulate economic development, improve access to quality education, and expand investment in residential and commercial units. The nonprofit hopes the city will invest $2 million in grants, in addition to the $900,000 already granted by The Jessie Ball duPont Fund and The Community Foundation for the EPIC Communities program’s success.

Metro North Community Development Corporation, Inc.

Metro North Community Development Corporation, Inc. was founded in 2001 to serve Jacksonville’s urban core and the Northwest neighborhoods. Through residential and commercial revitalization and development, the organization aims to improve the education, health, and quality of life of residents. Their Block-by-Block Initiatives started recently in January 2012 to transform a 20-block area in Jacksonville’s Metro North and Greater Brentwood neighborhoods by December 2014.

Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation

Founded in 2001, Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation revitalizes the community of Northwest Jacksonville through education, housing rehabilitation, and economic development. The organization has begun the construction of the $3.5 million, 10,600-square-foot North Point Town Center, which will consist of offices and stores to economically anchor its surrounding neighborhood. The City of Jacksonville donated the land and provided loans and grants for this project. The organization has also built and sold 67 new homes, while only having a staff size of six people.

Operation New Hope

Operation New Hope was founded in 1999 to revitalize Jacksonville’s Historic Springfield, which had been dilapidated for over 30 years. The nonprofit has restored more than 76 homes in Springfield and the Eastside neighborhoods of Jacksonville. The nonprofit is also responsible for the Eastside Community Garden, which provides educational, recreational, and nutritional benefits for the community. Beyond this, the organization works with other community organization to provide guidance and assistance for those in need of basic necessities including clothing, shelter, and training for employment. In 2003, the Bush administration and the Labor Department selected the organization as the national model for the Ready4Work program, providing ex-offenders the assistance to re-enter society and the workforce.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Community First Credit Union of Florida

The Community First Credit Union of Florida was founded in 1935 and is a non-profit credit union based in Jacksonville serving seven counties in Northeast Florida with 16 branches. In 2011, the credit union loaned more than $700 million, held assets of more than $1 billion, and had more than 104,000 members. The credit union supports the community through raising funds for local community organizations and through financial education workshops.

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Alive Credit Union

Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Alive Credit Union primarily serves the healthcare community as well as retail organizations. With more than 15,000 members and 37 employees, the credit union had a customer savings rate 63 percent higher than the national average as of March 2012.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. was founded in 2005 and consists of a group of professional artists interested in building the arts industry in Jacksonville. Currently, the cooperative has more than 30 members and hosts over 1,500 visitors each month at their three galleries. Beyond showcasing local artists, The Art Center members volunteer their time to provide murals for public schools and other non-profit organizations, and consequently have received the 2009 Art of Caring Awards from HandsOn Jacksonville.

The Neighborhood Garden

Founded in 2009, the Neighborhood Garden now has more than 100 families buying produce weekly through its purchasing cooperative. The cooperative also donates bags of produce to at least three families in need every week. Employing only three people, Neighborhood Garden manages 10 pick-up locations and organizes a delivery service.

Vystar Credit Union

Vystar was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Jacksonville. Vystar is the 19th largest credit union in the nation with $4.4 billion in assets and over 405,000 members as of 2011. The credit union has over 1,100 full-time employees.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Haskell

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Haskell is an integrated design-build firm founded in 1965 with four locations. In 2008, the company became employee-owned and currently has 601 ESOP participants. To further communication between employees and senior management following the ESOP transition, the ESOP Communication Committee was formed to liaise for both parties. The firm currently has more than 690 employees, generates revenue of over $590 million, and has completed 1,500 projects to date.

Individual Wealth Building

Real$ense Prosperity Campaign

The Real$ense Prosperity Campaign is a community coalition founded in 2003, supported by local government, and led by the United Way to help middle- and low-income residents build wealth. Real$ense provides free financial education classes and administers an Individual Development Account (IDA) program. To date, the coalition has helped 290 individuals enroll in IDAs and earn more than $600,000 in matched savings.

Local Food Systems

Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens

Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens (FNFCG) was founded in March 2011 in response to a need for an organized association of the many community gardens in the Northeast area. Through this organization, the 84 associated community gardens are able to collectively share resources, apply for funding opportunities, and increase their leverage with the local government in influencing the region’s food system.

Jacksonville Farmers Market

Jacksonville Farmers Market is Florida’s oldest farmers market, founded in 1938. It features over 200 farmers and vendors at a market that is open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. The market makes available the freshest produce from North Florida or South Georgia, but also features unique produce from across the country and imported from overseas.

The Argyle Area Community Garden

The Argyle Area Community Garden was founded in May 2009 as a member-operated organic vegetable garden to support a healthier and better-educated community. Though the garden is not yet complete, it plans to educate the local youth through field trips and hands-on experience, as well as volunteer programs for high school students.

Municipal Enterprise

Jacksonville Port Authority

The Jacksonville Port Authority is an independent government agency created by Florida legislature in 1963. The agency acts as a landlord of the Port of Jacksonville, the third largest in the state. It manages the port’s upkeep and expansion and receives its operating revenue from lease and rental fees it charges private business that wish to operate from the seaport. A 2009 study estimated that 65,000 jobs in Northeast Florida are related to port activity and that the port generates nearly $19 billion in economic impact annually. The port’s current expansion project is expected to create an additional 5,000 to 10,000 new jobs. On average, these jobs provide a higher wage (nearly $44,000 annually) in comparison to  the average salary for a Jacksonville resident (about $27,000 a year).

JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority)

JEA is the seventh-largest municipally owned electric utility in the country, serving nearly 420,000 customers across a 900-square-mile service area. It also provides water and sanitation services to area customers. When aggregating the number of customers for each of its services, the company serves more than 950,000 accounts in Northeast Florida. In 2011, the company had more than $2 billion in total revenue and held assets of over $1.8 billion.

New State & Local Policies

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council

The Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council was incorporated in 1974 to preserve and revitalize the commercial areas of Springfield - the first suburb in Jacksonville. The organization works with multiple stakeholders to facilitate commercial revitalization programs. The organization targets businesses according to the needs of the community, having played a role in the opening or relocation of 12 businesses to Springfield in 2010. Some development projects include a mixed-use project with 36 extended-stay units and 7,500 square feet of retail space and the JAXPORT expansion, which is estimated to bring 5,000 to 10,000 jobs to the area.

Town Center Program

The Town Center Program is a study conducted by the City of Jacksonville Planning and Development Department in commercial areas of neighborhoods that are 30 years or older and are in need of revitalization. Each neighborhood projected a detailed program budget of approximately $1 million for improvements such as street lighting, trees, and other urban planning considerations. A total of $17 million will be allocated for these 17 projects. Funding has been awarded for the Phase 1 Vision Plans. Phase 2, which has not begun, is to design and engineer these plans, and then implementation begins in Phase 3.

State & Local Investments

Better Jacksonville Plan

In 2000, The Better Jacksonville Plan (BJP) was approved by Jacksonville voters through a half-cent sales tax to fund a $2.2 billion infrastructure and improvement initiative. The BJP helped construct the new Main Library Downtown, Veterans Memorial Arena, and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The funds also added sidewalks and preserved environmentally sensitive lands through Preservation Project Jacksonville. Most recently completed in 2012 is the Duval County Courthouse.

Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund (NWJEDF) is a public fund accessible by existing and prospective businesses in the Northwest Jacksonville area. NWJEDF supports businesses that serve target neighborhoods, create jobs for local residents, and invest in older and underutilized buildings. Loan amounts vary by project, but can exceed $500,000, as long as the City’s contribution is no more than 25 percent of the total project cost.

Transit-Oriented Development

Jacksonville Transportation Authority

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority was founded in 1971 and is an independent state agency. The Kings Avenue Station, which broke ground in 2008, is the first planned transit-oriented development project in Jacksonville. The $60 million development plans to include two 8-story hotels and mixed-use developments that will feature residential, retail, and restaurants. The area is expected to have an urban design within two walkable city blocks. Other transit-oriented development project sites in the pipeline, include the Bay Street Station, Laura Street, and 200 Riverside. The agency held $649 million in assets and generated revenue of $126 million in 2010.

University & Community Partnerships

Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives

The Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives is a research organization established in 1994 by three faculty members of the University of North Florida. The center has received over $3 million in applied contract research involving 75 student employees and over 750 student volunteers since its establishment. The center has conducted 35 projects, and is currently managing 8 active projects ranging from infant mortality to the economic impact of the arts in Jacksonville.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Ability Housing of Northeast Florida

Ability Housing of Northeast Florida is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 that develops and operates affordable rental housing for low-income individuals and families at risk of homelessness or with disabilities. In 2008, the organization purchased an 83-unit complex with a $2 million loan from LISC and Bank of America. After rehabilitating this complex, 42 units will be available for formerly homeless individuals and families, while 41 units will be available to low-income families for half the average market rate rent above $650. The organization has also purchased a 52-unit foreclosed property and is working with HUD to acquire a 60-unit foreclosed complex. In 2009, the organization generated revenue of $900,000, with 73 percent generated from rental and program revenue.

LISC Jacksonville

LISC Jacksonville was founded in 1999 to provide resources, practitioners, and advocates for community development initiatives. In supporting the increase of affordable homes, 24 homes have been sold in 2009 and construction has begun for 30 more homes in 2010. The nonprofit’s pilot program, Empowering People Inspiring Change (EPIC) Communities, works within Jacksonville’s underserved communities in the Eastside and Northside to stimulate economic development, improve access to quality education, and expand investment in residential and commercial units. The nonprofit hopes the city will invest $2 million in grants, in addition to the $900,000 already granted by The Jessie Ball duPont Fund and The Community Foundation for the EPIC Communities program’s success.

Metro North Community Development Corporation, Inc.

Metro North Community Development Corporation, Inc. was founded in 2001 to serve Jacksonville’s urban core and the Northwest neighborhoods. Through residential and commercial revitalization and development, the organization aims to improve the education, health, and quality of life of residents. Their Block-by-Block Initiatives started recently in January 2012 to transform a 20-block area in Jacksonville’s Metro North and Greater Brentwood neighborhoods by December 2014.

Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation

Founded in 2001, Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation revitalizes the community of Northwest Jacksonville through education, housing rehabilitation, and economic development. The organization has begun the construction of the $3.5 million, 10,600-square-foot North Point Town Center, which will consist of offices and stores to economically anchor its surrounding neighborhood. The City of Jacksonville donated the land and provided loans and grants for this project. The organization has also built and sold 67 new homes, while only having a staff size of six people.

Operation New Hope

Operation New Hope was founded in 1999 to revitalize Jacksonville’s Historic Springfield, which had been dilapidated for over 30 years. The nonprofit has restored more than 76 homes in Springfield and the Eastside neighborhoods of Jacksonville. The nonprofit is also responsible for the Eastside Community Garden, which provides educational, recreational, and nutritional benefits for the community. Beyond this, the organization works with other community organization to provide guidance and assistance for those in need of basic necessities including clothing, shelter, and training for employment. In 2003, the Bush administration and the Labor Department selected the organization as the national model for the Ready4Work program, providing ex-offenders the assistance to re-enter society and the workforce.

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Alive Credit Union

Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Alive Credit Union primarily serves the healthcare community as well as retail organizations. With more than 15,000 members and 37 employees, the credit union had a customer savings rate 63 percent higher than the national average as of March 2012.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. was founded in 2005 and consists of a group of professional artists interested in building the arts industry in Jacksonville. Currently, the cooperative has more than 30 members and hosts over 1,500 visitors each month at their three galleries. Beyond showcasing local artists, The Art Center members volunteer their time to provide murals for public schools and other non-profit organizations, and consequently have received the 2009 Art of Caring Awards from HandsOn Jacksonville.

The Neighborhood Garden

Founded in 2009, the Neighborhood Garden now has more than 100 families buying produce weekly through its purchasing cooperative. The cooperative also donates bags of produce to at least three families in need every week. Employing only three people, Neighborhood Garden manages 10 pick-up locations and organizes a delivery service.

Vystar Credit Union

Vystar was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Jacksonville. Vystar is the 19th largest credit union in the nation with $4.4 billion in assets and over 405,000 members as of 2011. The credit union has over 1,100 full-time employees.

State & Local Investments

Better Jacksonville Plan

In 2000, The Better Jacksonville Plan (BJP) was approved by Jacksonville voters through a half-cent sales tax to fund a $2.2 billion infrastructure and improvement initiative. The BJP helped construct the new Main Library Downtown, Veterans Memorial Arena, and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The funds also added sidewalks and preserved environmentally sensitive lands through Preservation Project Jacksonville. Most recently completed in 2012 is the Duval County Courthouse.

Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund (NWJEDF) is a public fund accessible by existing and prospective businesses in the Northwest Jacksonville area. NWJEDF supports businesses that serve target neighborhoods, create jobs for local residents, and invest in older and underutilized buildings. Loan amounts vary by project, but can exceed $500,000, as long as the City’s contribution is no more than 25 percent of the total project cost.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Community First Credit Union of Florida

The Community First Credit Union of Florida was founded in 1935 and is a non-profit credit union based in Jacksonville serving seven counties in Northeast Florida with 16 branches. In 2011, the credit union loaned more than $700 million, held assets of more than $1 billion, and had more than 104,000 members. The credit union supports the community through raising funds for local community organizations and through financial education workshops.

Local Food Systems

Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens

Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens (FNFCG) was founded in March 2011 in response to a need for an organized association of the many community gardens in the Northeast area. Through this organization, the 84 associated community gardens are able to collectively share resources, apply for funding opportunities, and increase their leverage with the local government in influencing the region’s food system.

Jacksonville Farmers Market

Jacksonville Farmers Market is Florida’s oldest farmers market, founded in 1938. It features over 200 farmers and vendors at a market that is open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. The market makes available the freshest produce from North Florida or South Georgia, but also features unique produce from across the country and imported from overseas.

The Argyle Area Community Garden

The Argyle Area Community Garden was founded in May 2009 as a member-operated organic vegetable garden to support a healthier and better-educated community. Though the garden is not yet complete, it plans to educate the local youth through field trips and hands-on experience, as well as volunteer programs for high school students.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)