By Lindsay Forrest, DVI Intern

Photo Credit: Jessie duPont Fund

Photo Credit: Jessie duPont Fund

Since the first National Woman’s Week in 1981, the United States has dedicated the month of March to honor and appreciate powerful women who changed the course of history and led us to a contemporary society. We celebrate all facets of achievements by women – including contributions to history, society and culture. We’d like to take a moment to recognize the Jessie Ball duPont Center in #DTJax for Women’s History month this year.

In order to understand the history behind the Jessie Ball duPont Center, we must understand Jessie Ball duPont. A teacher, philanthropist and “Great Floridian” – duPont was born in Virginia in 1884. Throughout her life, she focused on business and charitable activities central to her core values and beliefs.

Some of these contributions include:

  • Founder of the Nemours Foundation – a children’s hospital in Delaware, including a branch just south of #DTJax
  • Founder of Alfred I. duPont Foundation – to assist underpriviledged people in Delaware, Florida and Virgina
  • Founder of the Alfred I. duPont Awards Foundation – to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of broadcast journalism
  • Gifted colleges and universities with faculty salaries and libraries

When duPont died in 1970, she left her will and estate of $42 million for the creation of the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation. The foundation grants eligible organizations, creates new opportunities through investment and focuses on projects central to duPont’s philanthropic values.

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Originally the Haydon Burns Public Library designed by notable Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick, the Jessie duPont Foundation purchased this historic mid-century building in #DTJax in 2005 and began a $25-million renovation to transform the space into the Jessie Ball duPont Center. The center focuses on philanthropy and non-profits in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville.

The duPont Center’s achievements include:

  • Houses 12 local non-profits and more than 200 employees
  • Offers low occupancy costs to non-profits to allow more funding to ideas and revitalization
  • Utilized green-building and LEED certified practices throughout the renovation, and became a top case study for adaptive reuse in #DTJax
  • Unites local non-profits in a collaborative and inspiring environment
Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

The center also rents out space for community organizations, civic groups and individuals. To learn more about reservations, tenants or how to get involved, check the website here.

On March 19, The Jessie Ball duPont Fund received the Downtown Achievement Award of the year for 2016 at DVI’s inaugural Urban Oasis Gala. We are looking forward to seeing new innovations, ideas and energy from local non-profits to better #DTJax from the revitalization of this mid-century historic building into the Jessie Ball duPont Center.





by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Shout-outs, Spotlight No Comments  

Oliver Barakat Profile JBJ 2013 ListRecently released, the Jacksonville Business Journal’s annual list of top movers and shakers spotlights local business, civic and government decision makers of 2013. It’s no surprise that one major unifying thread joined many of named–20 of the 30–together: Downtown Jacksonville.

Some based in Downtown, some cultivating Downtown and some championing Downtown, DVI would like to thank the following Downtown-minded movers and shakers for their commitment to enriching the fabric of Downtown Jacksonville. Leading the list is DVI’s very own Board of Directors secretary, Oliver Barakat.

1. Oliver Barakat is senior vice president at CBRE Group, Inc. and chairman of the Downtown Investment Authority.

2. Lori Boyer, City Councilmember, District 5, is an outspoken advocate for Downtown in policy-making.

3. Alex Coley, principal at Hallmark Partners Inc., is a driving force for 220 Riverside, a new mixed-use development in Downtown set to launch this summer.

4. Daniel Davis, president and CEO of JaxChamber continues to make Downtown a priority for the Chamber.

5. Renee Finley was head of public-private partnerships for the City of Jacksonville and is a vice president with Florida Blue.

6. Bill Foley III is Chairman of Fidelity National Financial, one of Downtown’s Fortune 500 companies.

7. Mark Frisch is CEO of Sunshine Sports Soccer Group, a new entertainment advocate group located in Downtown – and we’d love to see a soccer stadium Downtown!

8. Pat Geraghty is CEO of Florida Blue, a longstanding tenant in Downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

9. William Gulliford, City Council president, is a major supporter of Downtown revitalization, including efforts to secure private management for Hemming Plaza.

10. John Keane is the executive director of the Police and Fire Pension Fund, which owners properties in Downtown.  

11. Jacques Klempf, CEO of Dixie Egg Co. and Ovinte Wine Lounge, is a key party interested in the rehabilitation the Bostwick Building.

12. Sherry Magill, president at Jessie Ball duPont Fund, is leading the charge to renovate the Haydon Burns Library for a major nonprofit center.

13. Hope McMath, executive director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, is a major supporter of connectivity between Downtown and Riverside/Avondale.

14. Matt Rapp, executive director of THE PLAYERS Championship, was instrumental in expanding TPC into Downtown in 2013.

15. Elton Rivas, co-creator of One Spark and KYN, helped bring more than 100,000 people Downtown for the inaugural crowdfunding festival with a spinoff business incubator program.

16. Peter Rummell, immediate past chair of Jacksonville Civic Council, is a key advocate for Downtown revitalization and a major backer of One Spark.

17. Toney Sleiman is CEO of Sleiman Enterprises, which owns The Jacksonville Landing, and is working toward public-private investment to re-imagine this major landmark.

18. Hap Stein, is chairman and CEO of Regency Centers, a major developer, owner and operator of commercial property, is developing develop a Fresh Market-anchored shopping center in Downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

19. Alan Verlander, COO of Gator Bowl Sports and Entertainment, is working attract major sporting events Downtown and community-wide.

20. Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, is leading the update of Downtown’s Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) strategy to drive short and longterm economic development and revitalization.

View the full JBJ list here.