Generous gift to expand the Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice in Education

Applications for the Fellowship, due June 13, are open to public school teachers in Duval County.


Stephanie Garry Garfunkel, 352-359-2393,


JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 26, 2021 — Thanks to the generosity of Liz and Ken Babby, the owner of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund is proud to expand the Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice in Education. 

Jake and Brian Wolfburg, the CEO of VyStar Credit Union, established the Fellowship last year at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to advance the work of public school teachers committed to advancing social justice in Duval County. The Wolfburgs created an endowed fund at JPEF to support one teacher each year to participate in the Fellowship in perpetuity.

"We are grateful and humbled by Liz and Ken’s commitment to furthering a more just, inclusive and thriving community for everyone who calls Jacksonville home through the Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice in Education,” Jake and Brian Wolfburg said. “We could not be more excited to join together with Liz and Ken's genuine love for our community, warm hearts and compassion for those less fortunate or needing a voice."

Liz and Ken Babby’s generous gift to the Jacksonville Public Education Fund will allow a second teacher to be selected for the Fellowship in 2021-2022. Applications are now open for the Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice in Education at The deadline to apply is June 6.

“We are honored to be part of such an important mission that is working to cultivate inclusive learning environments and empower teachers and students to learn about and activate around social justice,” said Liz and Ken Babby. “The Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice enables creative, hands-on educational efforts that will have an impact beyond the classroom and we cannot wait to see the brilliant ideas supported by the Fellowship come to life.”

The Fellowship helps teachers and their students deepen their knowledge around issues relating to social justice, diversity and inclusion and to lead a hands-on project with students in their classroom. The Wolfburg Fellowship provides up to $7,000 total value to the teacher and the teacher’s students, to include $3,000 for the Fellow’s participation in a quality professional learning experience in social justice, $2,000 for the Fellow’s school-based action research project, $1,500 for the Fellow’s participation in JPEF’s professional learning opportunities and $500 for students to lead change alongside the Fellow, as age-appropriate.

Last year, Abby Solano (pictured above with Brian and Jake Wolfburg), a teacher in the Spanish and English dual language program at West Riverside Elementary, was awarded the inaugural Wolfburg Fellowship. This year, she participated in JPEF’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, learning new skills to improve her teaching through professional learning sessions and coaching with peer teachers. Her project introduced an innovative approach to diversity and inclusion to her classroom. Students embarked on photography projects to document their lives and use the images to discuss their identities and family life in the classroom. The Fellowship allowed Ms. Solano to purchase cameras for her students, bring a professional photographer to speak to her class, lead a photography field trip to the VyStar Tower downtown, and feature students’ work at a gallery viewing to be held on May 22 at the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown.

“It’s really inspiring that there are leaders outside of the education world who want to truly invest in teachers,” said Abby Solano. “It’s an investment that benefits me but goes so far beyond me, to benefit my students and colleagues. I’m so incredibly proud of my students’ work and growth this year.” 

WATCH: Spotlight on Wolfburg Fellow Abby Solano

In the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, The Fellowship will be given to two teachers as named grants and announced publicly to recognize teachers who have demonstrated an interest in and talent for ensuring equitable access to supportive learning environments for students in diverse and low-income school communities. JPEF is proud to support this work as part of our efforts to pilot and scale best practices to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color in Duval County.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Wolfburgs and the Babbys for their commitment to supporting teachers and students,” said Rachael Tutwiler Fortune, JPEF President. “At JPEF, we believe that the work of equitable education begins in the classroom. This is an outstanding opportunity for teachers to lead improvement and scale their ideas throughout their school community.” 

The Wolfburgs welcome the support of like-minded individuals and organizations to support the Fund through gifts to the endowed fund or in direct support to the Fellowship. Anyone interested in supporting this work is welcome to contact Jen Silva at 

Contact Stephanie Garry Garfunkel, Director of Marketing & Communications, at (352) 359-2393 or for more information.



About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund 

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent think-and-do tank that believes in the potential of all students. We work tirelessly to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color. We convene educators, school system leaders and the community to pilot and help scale evidence-based solutions that advance school quality in Duval County. For more information:




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.