" "
Need help? Dial 2-1-1 to contact a United Way call center specialist or click here to find resources.


United Way commits $10 million to improving Jacksonville housing ecosystem

November 15, 2023

North Riverside CDC leadership Henry Scott (VP) and Shirley Thomas (President); Groundwork Jacksonville CEO Kay Ehas; United Way VP of Community Impact James Ellout; United Way President and CEO Melanie Patz; and Groundwork Jacksonville’s Manager of Community Engagement and Equity Gloria McNair.


Jacksonville, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2023) – United Way of Northeast Florida announced yesterday the commitment of $10 million to improve the Jacksonville ecosystem for housing ownership and affordable housing opportunities.

“As we celebrate our 100th year of supporting this community, United Way of Northeast Florida is proud to make this $10 million commitment to help make it easier for our neighbors to access quality housing that meets their financial needs,” said Melanie Patz, president and CEO, United Way of Northeast Florida. “Making meaningful progress toward a more inclusive housing ecosystem for all means joining together with a group of committed, passionate and effective partners, holding ourselves accountable to find transformative solutions and supporting the direction of community members leading improvements in their neighborhoods. We recognize no one funder can solve this challenge alone, and we look forward to taking steps together with our partners to create long-term, sustainable change.”

The $10 million commitment will be distributed across three areas of funding:

  • Preservation ($4 million): working to reduce the impact of heirs’ property issues in North Riverside and the Historic Eastside; repairing existing homes to support residents remaining in their homes.
  • Infill development ($5 million): creating a loan fund for developers to help catalyze new construction of single-family and multi-family units and the acquisition and rehabilitation of single family homes in urban neighborhoods. The loan fund will be managed by one or more CDFIs.
  • Nonprofit and CDC capacity ($1 million): boosting capacity of existing nonprofits and CDCs working to help homeowners remain in their homes and to help owners/renters find affordable options in North Riverside, Historic Eastside, and Northside.


United Way is in the process of engaging partners and grantees for these three funding areas, including existing trusted partners as well as other leading organizations in the housing space.

The funding areas were determined with United Way’s Affordable Housing Task Force, which met for six months from January to June. The task force members included representatives from United Way alongside Florida Blue, CSX Transportation, Jacksonville Jaguars, LISC Jacksonville, LIFT Jax, Groundwork Jacksonville, Ability Housing, Vestcor Companies, Jax Community Land Trust, Fifth Third Bank, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Regency Centers, Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Modern Cities. The Task Force was chaired by Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Aundra Wallace, CEO of JAXUSA.

United Way President and CEO Melanie Patz announcing the $10 million commitment at Great Bethany Baptist Church in North Riverside.

“We’re grateful to United Way for stepping up to help tackle the longstanding challenge of affordable housing in our community, and for engaging a task force that was intentional about defining the scope of the challenge and the scope of a realistic commitment,” said Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and co-chair of the United Way Affordable Housing Task Force. “We look forward to this work complementing the ongoing efforts across the City, and together, we look forward to engaging in partnerships and policy discussions to create sustainable, long-term change.”

This investment builds on the $1 million investment that United Way made in early 2023 to support neighborhood-based programs that rehabilitate owner-occupied homes and resolve ownership issues for inherited properties in Lackawanna, Mixon Town and the Historic Eastside. Progress to date in partnership with Groundwork Jacksonville, the North Riverside CDC, LISC Jacksonville, LIFT Jax, and Historic Eastside CDC includes:

  • Completing 30 owner-occupied home repairs across North Riverside and Historic Eastside; and
  • Serving more than 215 clients in estate planning and probate litigation for heirs’ properties in North Riverside and Historic Eastside.


Helping our neighbors become homeowners and helping existing homeowners stay in their houses are critically important avenues to building generational wealth for underserved communities in Jacksonville. According to the 2023 ALICE Report, nearly 40% of Northeast Florida households fall under the ALICE threshold; additionally, 147,200 households (38%) are currently on the Jacksonville Housing Authority’s waitlist for subsidized housing. Jacksonville’s affordable housing crisis is complex and requires a multi-faceted solution from a group of committed partners.

Today’s $10 million commitment represents a portion of the $20 million that billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated to United Way in December 2020. The balance of this historic gift is already at work supporting United Way’s commitment to its vision of a community of opportunity where everyone has hope and can achieve their full potential.


About United Way of Northeast Florida
Founded 100 years ago in 1924, United Way of Northeast Florida has earned a reputation as a respected and efficient philanthropic organization. United Way envisions a community of opportunity where everyone has hope and can reach their full potential. The organization’s mission is to solve Northeast Florida’s toughest challenges by connecting people, resources and ideas. United Way focuses on improving economic mobility in the following impact areas: basic needs, financial well-being and racial equity. The nonprofit organization’s long tradition of addressing the human-service needs in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and northern St. Johns counties is made possible through the commitment of thousands of volunteers, donors and community partners. 100 years of serving and uniting Northeast Florida was only the beginning. To learn more, visit unitedwaynefl.org, or follow United Way of Northeast Florida on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.