News Article Details

Baptist, Delores Barr Weaver partner on mental health initiative

Florida Times-Union - 12/6/2018

Dec. 06--Baptist Health and Jacksonville philanthropist Delores Barr Weaver have formed a $2.2 million partnership to help address mental health needs across Northeast Florida.

The intent of the Partnership for Mental Health is to award grants for direct services, advocacy, awareness and training, among other things, that will "improve access and strengthen the system that provides mental and behavioral health care," according to a Thursday announcement.

"The challenge of providing a fully responsive mental health ecosystem in our community calls for new levels of ingenuity," Weaver said. "This partnership is also a way to bring new awareness to issues, which will help eliminate the stigma around mental illness and signal that many entities care deeply about the well-being of citizens in Northeast Florida."

Grants will be made through a new donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

"Mental health and well-being are fundamental to a healthy community and, by investing in this partnership model, we believe we will be able to have more impact in improving lives," said Hugh Greene, president and CEO of Baptist Health.

Weaver and husband Wayne began their Northeast Florida philanthropy as the first owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars and have continued it since they sold the team in late 2011. The new partnership is an extension of Weaver's $10 million gift to Baptist Health in 2012 to establish the Delores Barr Weaver Endowment for mental health.

"Delores ... has a passion for ensuring that all members of our community be able to live their lives to their fullest extent, and she has invested in many efforts to give greater access to quality physical and mental health services," said Nina Waters, president of the Community Foundation. "She believes that by working together, strong partners can accelerate the progress that is so desperately needed in this area."

The grants will go to nonprofits that have projects addressing mental or behavioral health issues in Northeast Florida. Applications will be reviewed throughout the year by a "small team" of Weaver and staffers from Baptist and the Community Foundation, said Melanie Patz, Baptist vice president of community investment and impact.

"Our goal is to spend the money soon," within the next 12 to 24 months, she said. "We're looking for opportunities beginning now."

Beth Reese Cravey: (904) 359-4109

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(c)2018 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

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