Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Community First Cares Foundation provide classroom grants for Duval teachers

About $50,000 will go toward innovative projects and supplies as students go back to school.




Stephanie Garry Garfunkel




JACKSONVILLE, Fla., August 18, 2021 — The Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Community First Cares Foundation (the charitable giving arm of Community First Credit Union) will provide $50,000 in classroom grants to support critical work for students at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

The partnership replicates a pilot program created last year, which was an expansion of a longstanding partnership between the two organizations. Last year’s classroom grants program was the largest of its kind for both organizations, who have worked together on several similar programs in the past few years. The funding helped teachers prepare for the return to school in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting 11,440 student learning experiences, funding 130 projects, supporting 115 teachers, and serving 62 schools.

Building on that success, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Community First Cares Foundation are replicating the program again this year. Teachers who work in Title I traditional and charter public schools in Duval County are eligible to apply for funds to support creative problem-solving projects that will create a warm, loving environment for students and drive student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include hands-on learning materials, flexible seating, and trauma-informed tools to engage students in learning. JPEF has established a community review process that will carefully vet projects for need and impact. Each teacher can apply for up to $1,000. Teachers can learn more at jaxpef.org/community-first

“This partnership continues on a long tradition of collaboration between JPEF and Community First to support Duval County educators, and we could not be prouder to support teachers as they head back to school,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “We are so grateful for the vision and generosity of the Community First Cares Foundation.”

”As an organization founded by educators, we are proud to support teachers in our community achieve more in the classroom than traditional funding provides,” said Missy Peters, executive director of the Community First Cares Foundation. “This program is even more critical now as our students recover from the pandemic.”

In addition, the Community First gift will support JPEF’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, which equips Teachers of the Year with best practices to support leadership in schools across Duval County. JPEF has developed a robust professional learning experience for teachers to learn equity-focused best practices in cohorts to support colleague-led learning and leadership across the school year.

Contact Stephanie Garry Garfunkel, Director of Marketing & Communications, at (352) 359-2393 or stephanie@jaxpef.org for more information. To learn more about JPEF’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, please contact Warren Buck, Director of Teacher Leadership, at warren@jaxpef.org.




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: www.jaxpef.org.


About the Community First Cares Foundation

The Community First Cares Foundation, founded by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit community foundation that grants funds to improve the quality of life in North Florida.  The foundation supports activities to improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help underserved citizens. The Community First Cares Foundation makes contributions to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast. For more information, visit www.CommunityFirstCares.org or call 904-371-8090.




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