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The First Coast YMCA and Community First CARES Foundation Strengthen Educational Programs on Jacksonville's Northwest side

The Community First CARES Foundation AND Y combat social injustice through before and afterschool programming

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – December 11, 2020 – The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and Community First CARES Foundation, the nonprofit philanthropic arm of Community First Credit Union, have launched an initiative to strengthen before and afterschool programs for youth across select Jacksonville communities. The $40,000 donation from Community First, the single largest financial contribution in the organization’s history, will support academic tutors, translators, program supplies, nutritional snacks and transportation for children and families utilizing the Y’s signature child care program.

“The Y and Community First have always aligned on the importance of building stronger communities,” said Eric K. Mann, president and CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “This has been a challenging year for all of us with increased public health concerns and heightened racial tensions magnified by social unrest. In this trying time, the Y has maintained our commitment to advancing equity across the communities we serve, and we’re grateful for the support from partners like Community First that help sustain these efforts to initiate positive change.”  

Before and afterschool child care is part of the Y’s mission to nurture the potential of youth in a safe and enriching environment, while also meeting the needs of working parents. The Foundation’s donation will support investments in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities, financial literacy programs and career training for students at Tiger Academy, Rufus E. Payne Elementary School, Kings Trail Elementary School and Ramona Boulevard Elementary School. This initiative is part of a joint effort from the Y and Community First to combat social injustices on the First Coast such as access to quality education.

“Empowering students to overcome barriers and envision themselves as having positive futures encourages generational success,” said Faith A. McGlown, executive director, grants in youth development, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “This partnership will nurture hundreds of K – 5th grade students and their families, allowing parents to model success by example while preparing students with the knowledge, grit and resiliency to make Jacksonville and the world a better place.”

The program will be implemented when before and afterschool programs resume in the schools in January. The First Coast YMCA and Community First identified the opportunity for this program improvement when assessing equity and equality across community programs, especially related to increased awareness of these issues this year.

“This partnership is part of our ongoing commitment to proactively address needs in our community, especially related to inequality,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First. “This special program created with the Y aims to help level the playing field for underprivileged students who rely on before and afterschool education.”

Since 2013, the Y and Community First have partnered to strengthen First Coast communities. For more information about the Y, visit To learn more about the Community First CARES Foundation, visit


About the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast
For more than 110 years, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more:

About the Community First CARES Foundation
The Community First CARES Foundation, founded in 2013 by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) 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 non-profit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast.

Grant Recipient: Monique Burr Foundation

Monique Burr Foundation Teen Safety Matters Program

A new program, MBF Teen Safety Matters™, was recently launched by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to prevent child abuse and bullying among teen-agers. 

Poverty is a silent epidemic in our schools, and many issues with attendance and academics are directly related to students not having clean clothes, shoes that fit, or the supplies they need to be successful in school. Students want to feel good about themselves when they come to school, and we want to help them have everything they need to learn. We could not have opened our first on-site classroom-sized Giving Closet without this funding and volunteer support.

Jennifer Smith, DCPS teacher and Founder of The Giving Closet Project.

Community First Cares

637 N Lee St. (P.O. Box 2600)
Jacksonville, FL 32232

Phone: (904) 371-8090

Email: [email protected]

Have a Special Project?

The Community First Cares Foundation supports projects that place a special emphasis on activities that improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help the underserved citizens improve their quality of life.  We offer funding to help our community partners implement these initiative right here on the First Coast.