Tackling Transportation at the Beaches

Getting around is a major challenge for Beaches individuals and families without reliable transportation. It affects their ability to get to and keep a job, take classes, shop for groceries, and access health and other social services. Early on, the Beaches Community Fund resolved to tackle transportation challenges as part of their Beaches-focused philanthropy.

The Beaches Community Fund reached out to the Beaches Action Team, a group of nonprofit organizations brought together by Baptist Health to focus on employment. Together, the Beaches Action Team, Palms Presbyterian Church and the Beaches Community Fund reviewed nonprofit intake data, conducted surveys, and met with the Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA).

As a result of these conversations, Dial-A-Ride, a Beaches based nonprofit transportation provider for the elderly and disable, agreed to begin service to Mayport and Ponte Vedra, and to include employment related transportation for clients of Beaches nonprofits. In 2018, the Beaches Community Fund made a grant to help Dial-A-Ride purchase a second vehicle and JTA agreed to sponsor Dial-A-Ride’s operating costs for the vehicle.

“I’m so proud of the Beaches Community Fund and the progress we’ve helped make with transportation at the Beaches!,” said Tracey Stein Westbrook. “I don’t know of any other effort that is this big and has moved forward this fast, for relatively little monetary investment.”

This past week Beaches Dial-A-Ride officially added their new vehicle with a dedication ceremony (complete with ribbon cutting) to introduce the new vehicle to the community and to thank their sponsors.

L to R: Gary Tiller, Executive Director, Beaches Council on Aging; Ellen Glasser, Mayor, City of Atlantic Beach; Charlie Latham, Mayor, City of Jacksonville Beach; Michael Bruce, Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach; Vickie Cavey, President, Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach; Rev. Keith Oglesby, Associate Rector, Christ Episcopal Church(PVB); Henry Burnett, President, Beaches Council on Aging; Bill Buckingham, Beaches Community Fund; Tracey Westbrook, Beaches Community Fund

“I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are to introduce the new Dial-a-Ride bus that has been made possible by the gifts of this community – and especially that of Beaches Community Fund.  Your gift has allowed us to greatly expand our service in the beach communities – further north into Mayport and further south into Ponte Vedra Beach.  In the last few months our ridership has nearly doubled as the senior population at the beach continues to grow.  Additionally, we have partnered with local nonprofits and businesses to help transportation-deprived job seekers get to available employment.  We are excited and thankful.” – Greg Teller

Congratulations to Beaches Dial-A-Ride on their new addition! We look forward to watching you continue to grow.

To learn more about the Beaches Community Fund, go to jaxcf.org/beaches-community-fund or contact Joann Cohen, VP of Philanthropic Services, at JCohen@jaxcf.org