Thanks to the leadership and generosity of community donors, JSA has raised over $1.1 million in grant funding in support of school operations since our inception in 2005.
JSA continues to grow each of our flagship fundraising events. In addition to our annual Golf Tournament and Flounder Pounder Fishing Tournament, we also have two other major events – the Ante Up for Autism Gala and “Art Across the Spectrum” Luncheon to benefit our enrichment programs. Through the generous support of our sponsors, families, and friends of the school, JSA has raised over $1.4 million through these fundraising events.
In March of 2013, with the help of our dear friends at the Deerwood Rotary, JSA relocated our school and clinic to the more expansive Cypress Green location where we currently reside. The Rotary helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through a successful capital campaign to support this relocation, which helped to provide a safe campus environment in a central location. This larger campus has also afforded JSA the ability to grow core academic programs, increase student enrollment, and provide community/outreach/educational symposiums.
After our relocation in 2013, the community pulled through once again to provide funds for a new playground! With generous matching grants from the Deerwood Rotary, THE PLAYERS Championship, and the Dunkin’ Donuts Joy in Childhood Foundation, we were able to install a custom-designed playground built specifically for individuals with autism in the spring of 2014. The playground covers 7,500 square feet and cost $50,000.
In June 2017, the Dunkin’ Donuts Joy in Childhood Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care both matched grants for a total donation of $27,000! This major contribution allowed us to completely renovate and update our Occupational Therapy & Sensory room, which will benefit each of our students in areas like motor skills, hand-writing, speech, coordination, and overall independence.
Each year, the HEAL Foundation helps fund our Summer programming as well as our year-round Enrichment programs, which include: music, art, karate, and yoga. In addition, HEAL has donated several iPads on multiple occasions to JSA classrooms to benefit the learning and development of each of our students. We are so grateful for this partnership and for their ongoing support!
Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) successfully passed legislation to appropriate $250,000 to Jacksonville School for Autism. On March 16, 2018, Governor Rick Scott (R-Naples) signed the Securing Florida’s Future Budget that included funding to allow JSA to expand their STEP Program, which provides vocational students and young adults with the skills necessary to be independent and successful in both their communities and places of employment. An official check presentation ceremony with Senator Bean and Representative Fischer was held at JSA’s 14th Annual “Ante Up Fore Autism” Golf Classic at Deerwood Country Club on April 23, 2018.
In July 2018, THE PLAYERS Championship generously donated a 15-passenger bus towards our Vocational Program. This bus will allow for safer and more efficient transportation to and from multiple job sites that our students work at each day of the week.
It has taken a village of individuals to create the wonderful program we have created together: parents, siblings, autism professionals, augmentative therapists, advocates, and community partners. We are thankful to everyone who has played a role in allowing us to expand into the successful program that we are today!