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Florida's First Coast Relief Fund reactivated during COVID-19 pandemic

“We unite and we act swiftly,” businessman and fund donor Abdel Missa said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An emergency fund set up by the United Way is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars into Northeast Florida communities as many try to navigate layoffs and where their next meal may come from.

“Our nonprofit sector has a higher demand during times like this,” said Nina Waters, President of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund reactivated as many facing uncertain financial times due to COVID-19.

The United Way of Northeast Florida is administering the funds, helping cover costs of food, child care support, technology and more. One nonprofit partner of the fund is The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

“We’ve been able to infuse nonprofits like Catholic Charities and others with dollars so they can be able to help individual people with things like electric bills and food, things like that,” Waters said.

In the seven days since opening up the funds to area nonprofits, approximately a dozen grants have been awarded worth roughly $400,000, according to Waters.

The fund also caught the eye of Abdel Missa. The Harvard-educated businessman has worked on Wall Street and teaches at Jacksonville University. Now, he’s pledging donations from his company, Market Cipher Partners, and own wallet.

“We unite and we act swiftly,” Missa said.

He explained from a business and humanitarian perspective – giving makes the most sense right now.

“It’s about making a difference in people’s lives, and that’s ultimately what we’re here for,” Missa said. “We need to help each other out, and helping each other out is more important in a time of need.”

If you want to learn more about that fund or make a donation yourself, you can visit www.UnitedWayNEFL.org/COVID19Response or to be connected with an area nonprofit, dial 211.

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