Mayor Alvin Brown has made business involvement a priority.
Mayor Alvin Brown has made business involvement a priority. [Photo: City of Jacksonville]
Jacksonville’s business community has begun making unprecedented financial commitments to city government in response to Mayor Alvin Brown’s call on the private sector to reinvigorate downtown. Corporate and local companies are signing on to support policy initiatives in line with key city priorities, including education, local economy, veterans’ services and quality of life.
Here are some of the largest pledges so far, along with their priorities:
» Wells Fargo: Regional President for North Florida Scott Coble pledged $1 million toward neighborhood stabilization efforts, including incentives to motivate home buyers to purchase homes in Jacksonville neighborhoods.
» Farah & Farah: Attorneys Eddie Farah and Charlie Farah committed $200,000 to downtown efforts.
» Terrell Hogan: President Wayne Hogan committed to spend $200,000 on education and parks and recreation programs for Jacksonville youth.
» Florida Blue: President and CEO Patrick Geraghty plans to spend $2 million this year and at least $1 million annually for the next three years to improve the quality of life in Jacksonville through non-profit programs that target health care, education, poverty and the economy.
» Jacksonville Jaguars: Owner Shahid Khan and the Jaguars committed $1 million, along with corporate volunteer time, to aid military veterans in assimilating back into the Jacksonville community through development of a Veterans Guidance Center.
Brown, the first Democrat mayor of Jacksonville in 20 years who was elected with the strong support of the business community, says he next plans to ask the city’s wealthiest individuals to start a $200-million fund to complete key projects downtown that have been stymied by stringent lending practices.
“There are ways to work deals,” Brown said at a meeting of the local Urban Land Institute. “There’s no limit to all the talent we have in this city.”