May 20, 2021

The 2:1 matching grant will help to pay back a loan acquired to purchase three parcels in historic American Beach

North Florida Land Trust has been approved as a recipient of a challenge grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund to help pay back a loan acquired for the purchase of a portion of the Little NaNa Dune system in historic American Beach. The 2:1 matching grant would provide $125,000 to the nonprofit after it raises $250,000. NFLT financed the purchase of three parcels of land for $1.255 million and now needs donors to contribute to help pay back the loan.

The three parcels, known as Little NaNa Dune, are part of the NaNa Dune system which is an important habitat for gopher tortoises and migrating birds. Protecting the land connects the 1.55 acres to the 8.5- acre NaNa Dune, the tallest dune in Florida. NaNa Dune was added to the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in 2004.

“We needed to move forward to protect this ecological and historically significant land and now we need the community to help us meet this challenge grant,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We purchased the property to make sure this historic community would not suffer from the harm of development and to preserve the natural landscape. We thank Mrs. Weaver for her willingness to help us meet our fundraising goals and are hopeful we will raise the money needed to pay off this loan.”

NFLT closed on the property on Jan. 13 which would have been the 86th birthday of MaVynee Betsch, known as “The Beach Lady.” She was instrumental in getting NaNa Dune added to the National Park Service’s preserve. American Beach was founded in 1935 to give African Americans beach access during the days of segregation. Betsch, who died in 2005, is a descendent of American Beach’s founder and dedicated the last 25 years of her life to the preservation of the natural integrity of the historic Black community.

NFLT is raising money through its Amelia Forever Campaign and asks foundations, businesses, government entities and individuals to donate. Donations can be made at www.nflt.org/ameliaforever or by check to North Florida Land Trust with the memo: Amelia Forever and mailed to 843 W Monroe Street, Jacksonville FL 32202. For more information about giving, contact the NFLT office at 904-479-1967 or info@nflt.org. NFLT created the Amelia Forever Campaign in 2019 to preserve the remaining natural spaces on Amelia Island.

About North Florida Land Trust

North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to protect the natural resources, historic places and working lands (farms and ranches) throughout north Florida. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements.  NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. 

About the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund
The Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida was created by Delores Barr Weaver in 2015 as the natural evolution of the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, which has awarded more than $86 million in grants since she created it in 2012. She also provides separate, annual support to 20 local, non-profit organizations for their annual fundraising events through the Delores Barr Weaver Forever Event Fund. Like the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund’s purpose is to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that do work she has supported over many years and to encourage others to do so as well. Mrs. Weaver has an extraordinary legacy of philanthropy, and she has provided transformative support to dozens of nonprofit organizations that uplift, enlighten and advance our community.