When does the sale of a football team rock the nonprofit world? When the owners of said football team are major philanthropic figures in the community.
If you are a fan of the NFL, you are probably aware that the Jacksonville Jaguars sold the franchise yesterday. You might not be as aware that the owners of the team, Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, are the most visible and active philanthropists in Jacksonville. In an article published yesterday in The Florida Times-Union, nonprofits reacted with relief that, despite the sale, the Weavers will be staying in Jacksonville.
Words like "Thank God" were thrown around by various nonprofit executives when The Florida Times-Union approached them with the news. And it's not just because of the money they donated ($55 million to local causes since the mid-90's) that has Florida charities thankful; the Weavers changed philanthropy in the city of Jacksonville. The couple donated $27 million to The Community Foundation in 2007, most of which went to agencies in need, but $11 million of it was used to create endowments for 22 local nonprofits. Until the Weaver's gift, few Jacksonville nonprofits were endowed.
It's because of stories like that why nonprofits were excited to learn the Weavers will continue to be active in Jacksonville philanthropy through the Weaver Family Foundation. Time will tell if the new ownership of the Jaguars will be able to turn the team back into contenders. But with all this uncertainty, at least nonprofits know that their favorite football owners are staying where they are.
Make sure to read the full article on the Weavers at The Florida Times-Union.