Blog Posts

Recognizing Great Partners That Improve Lives in Jacksonville

June 22, 2021  
From left: MaliVai Washington, Kevin Gay, Mayor Lenny Curry, Cindy Funkhouser, Alesia Scott-Ford, and Dawn Lockhart.

This morning at City Hall, I joined leadership from the local U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) office to present the inaugural COJ/HUD Public-Philanthropic Initiative Award, recognizing three great local organization who have made a tremendous difference in our community.  

I believe that government can’t do everything alone—and it shouldn’t. Government should be a great collaborator that brings people and organizations together to accomplish goals for the public good. Because true progress, in any community, involves efforts and input from all community members. 

This award is about recognizing excellent local organizations that have worked in partnership with public agencies to provide measurable benefits for our community. And these three organizations are tremendous assets that have done amazing things in the areas of youth services, reentry services, and homelessness. They full-heartedly the power of collective impact and what can be accomplished when we work together—as ONE CITY—towards a common goal. 

To put it simply: We do things better when we do things together. 

This award is a big deal. It is the first time that HUD has authorized a local version of their national Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, in partnership with The Council on Foundations. For Jacksonville to be chosen for this honor speaks volumes about the quality and integrity of our local nonprofit sector, and the amazing generosity and compassion of our community. 

We are a collaborative community—especially when it comes to the public sector and the nonprofit sector working together toward a common goal. We are aligned, we are focused, and we get things done in Jacksonville. And this award, and the opportunity to present it, demonstrates that.

I congratulate all three award winners and thank them for their your leadership, innovation, and undying commitment to serving the people of Jacksonville and improving lives in our community. 

Inaugural COJ/HUD Public-Philanthropic Initiative Award Winners:

MaliVai Washington accepting the award from Mayor Curry and Alesia Scott-FordMaliVai Washington Youth Foundation (MWYF) - Club 904 Teen Center

MWYF filled a gap in the historic Durkeeville community by developing a teen center that helps young people develop skills needed to be successful in school, find steady employment, break cycles of poverty and become contributing members of the community.

Kevin Gay accepting the award from Mayor Curry and Alesia Scott-FordOperation New Hope (ONH) - Ready4Work

ONH was selected because of their nationally recognized programs that have made Jacksonville the “City of Second Chances”, connecting returning citizens with housing, transportation, and employment and break the cycle of incarceration.

Sulzbacher - COVID-19 Response with homeless community

Cindy Funkhouser accepting the award from Mayor Curry and Alesia Scott-FordSulzbacher was selected because of their multi-pronged, strategic approach in response to the pandemic, which stemmed the spread of the virus among our community’s most vulnerable.