Delores Barr Weaver has made a gift of $50 million to establish the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, firmly positioning herself among the top tier of philanthropists in the community in the last 100 years.
The Delores Barr Weaver Fund will be the largest single fund at The Community Foundation and with $50 million in assets would rank among the largest private foundations in northeast Florida.
Weaver said she was inspired by the community's other great female philanthropists, such as Jessie Ball duPont and Lucy Bell Gooding, both of whom established large private foundations to benefit the community.
"I'm following in their footsteps," she said. "I'm not leading the way, I'm following their path."
But she also hopes the fund -- and her philanthropy -- will be an inspiration to others, particularly those of more modest means who may not think that they have the capacity to make a difference.
"We all have something to give and we need to widen the circle of donors," she said. "It's people who make philanthropy -- you can't separate the two. We all need to step up."
Weaver's gift ranks among the largest charitable gifts ever made to any Jacksonville-based institution and is the largest gift to The Community Foundation in its 48-year history. This gift alone would rank among the top 30 largest philanthropic gifts made in 2011, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Weaver will personally advise the grant making of the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, and she stresses that the fund will not accept unsolicited proposals. The fund will focus its philanthropy on many of the issues that Weaver has championed throughout her two decades in Jacksonville.
The Delores Barr Weaver Fund's first grant -- and likely its largest -- is a $6.6 million award, to be paid out over three years, to support the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, which will provide research, training, education and advocacy in support of the needs of girls in the juvenile justice system.
The Policy Center will be headed by Lawanda Ravoira, one of the foremost experts in girls issues in the state and nation.
Earlier this year, Weaver and her husband, Wayne, converted their family foundation -- the Weaver Family Foundation -- into a $23 million donor advised fund at The Community Foundation. The Weaver Family Foundation Fund and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, however, are separate funds with distinct missions.