Clara White Mission exceeds goal, celebrates community generosity

Clara White Mission exceeds goal, celebrates community generosity
Board members Dinah Mason, Tasha Cathey and Kris Mattson with Curry Pajcic of Pajcic and Pajcic, Executive Director Ju’Coby Pittman, The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, Jamie Shelton of bestbet, Chris Sutton of the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Amanda Crawford of VyStar Credit Union and board members pastor Carlton Jones and Thomas Waters and Joe Whitaker.

The Clara White Mission recent budget shortfall has been fully funded, and further exceeded its goal thanks to generous community members, businesses and foundations. At a press conference Friday, Sept. 13, Clara White staff showered thanks and praise on attendees, as patrons of the mission dined in Taliaferro Hall.

The announcement came during a lunch service for Clara’s at the Cathedral, 256 E. Church St., one of the critical funding targets made whole by generous donors.

After a federal grant was reduced in budget cuts – from $800,000 to $300,000 – the mission was falling behind and short of funds. Cuts to the organization affect job programs, culinary education and food service for those in critical need of food and job placement. 

Service interruptions were inevitable if emergency relief from the community did not come through by the deadline of Aug. 30. With the initial target of $455,000 by Aug. 30, the mission had an uphill battle to fight for funds.

“I want to thank the media for following us from day one, to make sure that we were in this thing together. I can’t tell you how excited I am to know that we don’t have to go from five days a week, to three days a week,” said Ju’Coby Pittman, executive director of Clara White Mission, referring to cuts in meal provisions and job training. 

“Today is such a special day, and I also want to thank Dean Moorehead for allowing us 13 years of partnership in the community … a long-term partnership. And we are just excited, that as a partner they’ve been around for over 100 years, and the Clara White Mission has been around for 100 years,” she continued. 

“Well, I’m here today to tell you that we exceeded our goal, and I want you all to say this together with me … $536,933 dollars,” she proclaimed, to rounds of applause by those in attendance. 

She closed her remarks by stating a call to action, “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can…and all the places you can, in all the ways you can, while you can.”

Donations poured in from all reaches of North Florida, from the legal team at Pajcic and Pajcic, to Vystar Credit Union, bestbet, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and many others.

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