Mayor Brown Announces Task Force Members For Economic Development Initiative in Northwest Jacksonville

City of Jacksonville

Goal is to Create Jobs with Innovative, Community-Based Economic Development

Mayor Alvin Brown today announced the members of a newly-formed task force to guide a Community Wealth Building Initiative that will focus on new strategies to create jobs and business opportunities in Northwest Jacksonville.

“The Community Wealth Building Initiative is an innovative, community-based approach for empowering neighborhood economic development,” said Mayor Brown. “The goal is to create quality jobs with family-supporting wages and build community wealth in Northwest Jacksonville. The task force members have the experience, expertise and can-do spirit to help us move forward.”

The 15-member task force will be chaired by Darnell Smith, Florida Blue’s Market President for the North Florida Market.

“The community wealth building model is a powerful tool for maximizing our local community assets and resources to promote economic opportunity,” said Smith. “By establishing this task force and moving forward with the Community Wealth Building Initiative, Mayor Brown is showing vision and leadership to make Jacksonville a city of opportunity for all.”

“This Community Wealth Building Initiative is an important opportunity for the people and neighborhoods in Northwest Jacksonville,” said City Council member Reggie Brown, who will serve on the task force. “We need to look at new economic development tools and strategies that can make a positive difference at the neighborhood level.”

Developed by The Democracy Collaborative, a national nonprofit group, the community wealth building model aims to leverage the purchasing power of a city’s “anchor” institutions to create jobs and support local businesses.  Anchor institutions are large, place-based nonprofit, public and private-sector institutions that are unlikely to move from the community because of their mission, invested capital and customer relationships.
The City of Jacksonville was introduced to the community wealth building concept by the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE), a network of 38 local congregations that addresses citywide concerns related to issues of justice and fairness.

Earlier this year, Mayor Brown joined with ICARE to convene a Community Wealth Building Roundtable that brought together about 100 local representatives from faith groups, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, business and banking, universities, hospitals, and city government.

As a follow-up to the Roundtable, an action plan was developed that proposed potential community wealth building strategies for Northwest Jacksonville. The task force will work with the City’s Office of Economic Development to evaluate the proposed strategies and provide recommendations for implementation.
In addition to 12 members directly appointed by the mayor, the task force includes three ex officio members from the City Council, Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Community Wealth Building Initiative Task Force Members Appointed by Mayor:

  • Darnell Smith (Chair), Market President-North Florida Region, Florida Blue
  • Sandy Bartow, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Growth, JAX Chamber, and President, JAX Chamber Foundation
  • Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen, Executive Director, New Town Success Zone
  • Rev. Kent Dorsey, Minister, Riverside Avenue Christian Church, and Co-President, Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE)
  • Je’Toye Flornoy, local realtor and founder of The YACHT (Youth Achieving Collegiate Hopes of Tomorrow)
  • Julia Henry-Wilson, Program Director, Jacksonville Urban League
  • Dawn Lockhart, President and CEO, Family Foundations
  • Janet Owens, Executive Director, LISC Jacksonville
  • Melanie Patz, Vice President of Community Investment and Impact, Baptist Health
  • Connie Smith, Senior Vice President, Community Affairs Manager, Wells Fargo
  • Paul Tutwiler, Executive Director, Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation
  • Nina Waters, President, The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida

 Ex Officio Members of the Community Wealth Building Initiative Task Force

  • Reggie Brown, Jacksonville City Council member (District 10)
  • Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Chief Executive Officer, Jacksonville Transportation Authority
  • Alesia Scott-Ford, Director, Jacksonville Field Office, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development