JCCI evolves as leader of new PACT

An organization with beginnings that date back more than 125 years has rebranded itself in order to survive. The Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) announced in February the evolution of its organization from a stand-alone entity leading the civic engagement process to a civic pact called the Citizen Engagement PACT.

This announcement comes nearly a year after JCCI Board Chair Kevin Hyde first issued an emergency call for funds to keep the doors open for at least six more months. Citing cash flow issues due to a lack of contract projects, Hyde said in April 2016 the nonprofit would implement a long-term plan for sustainability.

The plan resulted in the Citizen Engage-ment PACT, which will ensure continuity of JCCI’s values to foster a culture of civic engagement to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

JCCI’s roots go back to 1883 when Colonel James Jaquelin Daniel formed a citizen’s committee to combat a smallpox epidemic in Jacksonville. Daniel formed a second citizen’s committee in 1888 to fight a yellow fever epidemic, which caused his death.

Through the decades, a variety of community groups were formed, disbanded, reformed and re-chartered, until 1975 when JCCI was created and chaired by J.J. Daniel, grandson of Colonel Daniel, in whose memory Daniel Memorial Association was founded.

For the next 40 years, JCCI was instrumental in launching projects which focused on quality of life issues for the community, producing 80 studies and reports which are used worldwide. The most recent major project, JAX2025, began in 2013 with a vision plan for what the city could become in 12 years. The goals included enhancing the arts and entertainment scene, preserving natural assets, promoting diversity, and enhancing neighborhoods and the urban core.

“For more than 40 years, JCCI has served as a neutral and non-partisan forum for citizen dialogue and participation, and has been an integral part of the community with significant and positive impact now fully engrained in the DNA of the Jacksonville community,” said J.F. Bryan IV, JCCI member and former Board Chair.

After assessing the community’s needs around civic engagement and the continued meaning and relevancy of JCCI, the study revealed those needs could be met if the JCCI mission was served through multiple organizations working together to continue a culture of inquiry, convening and implementation.

“This is a natural next step for JCCI to move towards a working collaborative of community stakeholders with the shared values of fostering a continued culture of civic engagement…thus carrying on the spirit and legacy of JCCI” said Hyde, who is working to gather PACT members, an evolving process that involves many community organizations, business, and community leaders.

The PACT comprises a varied group of organizations from the nonprofit, government and business sectors that traditionally have played an integral role in either the work of JCCI or that serve as a diverse constituency to represent community needs and interests going forward.

Stakeholders will initiate the civic engagement process to make positive changes for the community, serving as a portal for citizens to engage on key community issues and offering an opportunity for continued dialogue and updates on quality of life indicators.

JCCI recently released its 31st edition of the Quality of Life Progress Report, which provides a comprehensive look at the quality of life in Jacksonville in areas such as youth in poverty, graduation rate, crime rate, fuel and water consumption.

All JCCI’s reports and studies, including the Quality of Life Progress Report, can be found at www.jaxpact.org.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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