With Giving Tuesday upon us, First Coast News staff members are sharing some of our favorite charities to support.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Since 2012, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and its subsequent shopping “holidays” of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been designated as a day to support charitable and nonprofit organizations by making donations or volunteering time, creating a new holiday: Giving Tuesday.
According to the nonprofit givingtuesday.org, the global movement has inspired hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.
“Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give,” the website says.
This year, First Coast News is sharing some of our favorite local charitable and nonprofit organizations to support year-round — and if you’re looking for a way to do some good in the community, here are just a few places you might consider.
American Red Cross, Northeast Florida Chapter
According to its website, the American Red Cross’ North Florida Region “serves more than 3.7 million residents in 35 counties and is composed of three chapters: Northeast Florida Chapter, Capital Area Chapter, and the Northwest Florida Chapter.” Services provided include disaster services, providing families with emergency services, warm meals, a place to sleep, clothing and comfort night or day; volunteer services in which hundreds of dedicated Floridians come together to help friends and neighbors when they need it most; training services, teaching people how to respond to and prepare for emergencies; and service to the armed forces, delivering notification of an emergency such as the death of serious illness of an immediate family member, as well as the good news of the birth of a service member’s child or grandchild, no matter where their military service takes them.
FCN Senior Continuity Specialist Nancy Moorehead says “They help everyone. Especially after a disaster of any kind, broad-scale or individual.”
You can donate to the North Florida Red Cross by clicking here.
Christ’s Starfish Foundation
Christ’s Starfish Foundation works with children confined to the hospital by providing assistance to them through child life specialists and assists families of non-cancer patients who are experiencing financial hardships due to their child’s illness.
FCN Anchor Lew Turner says “This organization collects donations to support families with children in hospitals on the First Coast and around the Southeast. They help families with all manner of financial burdens: utility bills, mortgage, car payments, groceries, etc. The financial hardship and mental anguish associated with having a child in the hospital, no matter the reason, is enough to deal with without having to think about paying for the light bill. These folks help with that. They also do a great ministry of bringing the children Christmas gifts while in the hospital.”
If you would like to donate to Christ’s Starfish Foundation, you can click here.
Feeding Northeast Florida
Feeding Northeast Florida is the region’s largest nonprofit food bank and hunger relief networking, with a mission of “improving the quality of life of Northeast Florida by addressing food insecurity, poverty and poor health by providing nutritious foods and other essential goods to those in need in collaboration with community partners.”
The organization provides food to people in eight counties, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns.
FCN Marketing Director Kristen Joyal says “They support more than 200 food pantries across the First Coast, they are boots on the ground and they are helping people like you and me who may be hungry for the first time in their lives as well as people who have been in need and are trying to get back on their feet again.”
To make a donation, click here.
Hope at Hand
It all begins with poetry. That’s the mission of Hope at Hand, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing art and poetry sessions to vulnerable and at-risk youth populations. “Using poetry, creativity, art and therapeutic approaches, we facilitate healing and personal growth for children and adolescents,” the organization’s website says.
FCN Anchor Keitha Nelson says, “I’ve served on the board for a local non profit called Hope at Hand for several years. They reach populations too often forgotten about including the elderly, disadvantaged youth, battered women, people battling substance abuse and incarcerated youth. [email protected] offers programs to these populations as an outlet for their stress and pain through art and poetry.”
To donate money, supplies or your time, click here.
Jacksonville Children’s Chorus
Jacksonville Children’s Chorus inspires excellence in young singers through high-quality choral music education. Founded in 1995 at Jacksonville University to fill a need for a children’s music program, the chorus has since grown from 16 voices to more than 350 singers participating in five choirs.
FCN Senior Account Executive Kim Rowland says “My daughter was a member of the treble, concert and touring choirs for a total of nine years. In that time, she found her passion and is majoring in music education at UNF now. In addition to getting a great musical education, she learned discipline and traveled the world with the touring choir.
I love that the chorus celebrates diversity and offers opportunities to children who might otherwise not have these opportunities. Over 37% of the chorus members were on some level of scholarship last year. Contributions fund those scholarships.”
You can donate to JCC’s Giving Tuesday campaign by clicking here.
Jacksonville Humane Society
According to its website, the Jacksonville Humane Society “provides care, comfort and compassion to animals in need while engaging the hearts, hands and minds of our community to bring about an end to the killing of abandoned and orphaned shelter animals.”
FCN Anchor Katie Jeffries says “They save so many lives each year and provide great ways for children to connect with animals through summer camps and the Pawsitive Reading Program. Both of my dogs are rescues from JHS! They do amazing work!”
If you would like to donate to JHS on Giving Tuesday, your online donation will be doubled thanks to a donor matching funds. You can do that by clicking here.
Jax Beach Golf Association
Jax Beach Golf Association works to promote public golf at the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club. According to its website, the nonprofit organization provides “leadership with our local industry leaders and bring(s) a vast wealth of knowledge to help develop and implement innovative methods to grow public golf in NE Florida.”
FCN Anchor Lew Turner says “These guys have an awesome municipal golf course, a real gem that is city maintained, and they pay it forward by allowing kids to golf for free certain days.”
To donate to the Jax Beach Golf Association, click here.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
From its website: “JDRF works tirelessly to find better treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications through critical research. Every dollar we are able to direct toward this research comes from donors like you.”
FCN Photojournalist Joe Massa says JDRF is his favorite charity to support.
If you would like to make a donation, click here.
Northeast Florida Wildlife Coalition
Northeast Florida Wildlife Coalition says its mission is to ensure respect for all wildlife through education and conservation, while providing orphaned, injured and displaced animals with a second chance at life.
FCN Account Manager Marlena Rowland says “It’s been my Facebook birthday donation for the past 2-3 years and I’ve been able to raise almost $1,000 to support them! I love this charity because I love animals and wild ones don’t get as much attention as dogs & cats.”
If you would like to donate to Northeast Florida Wildlife Coalition, click here.
Project: Cold Case
Project Cold Cast began after founder Ryan Backmann’s father was shot and killed during a robbery in 2009. It’s one of more than 1,500 unsolved murders to date in Jacksonville. Backmann found a passion for helping others who lost loved ones to homicide, a passion that evolved as his father’s case went cold. The organization was formed in 2015 to advocate for and publicize cold cases while linking families, information and law enforcement.
FCN Anchor Katie Jeffries says “This group does an incredible job of providing support to families after their homicide cases go cold. They help them keep in touch with law enforcement, offer support and do everything they can to keep the victim’s faces in the spotlight. They are based here in Jacksonville, but help families all over the nation.”
Wolfson Children’s Hospital
Wolfson Children’s Hospital, a part of the Baptist Health system, is recognized year after year as one of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It’s the only full-service tertiary hospital for children in the region, serving North Florida, South Georgia and beyond. The hospital works with pediatric specialists from Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, the University of Florida College of Medicine and Mayo Clinic.
FCN Digital Content Producer Mindy Wadley says, “If it weren’t for the care she has received by Wolfson providers, I’m not sure what the health of my daughter would look like. I cannot thank everyone involved with this wonderful institution enough for all they do to take care of the littlest patients in our area — and I encourage everyone to contribute in any way possible.”
For ways to give to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, click here to learn more.