In response to rising hate speech, a $1 million fund has been established to combat antisemitism in the Jacksonville area.
The Together Strong Community Fund, established by business executive David Miller and the Miller families, will address the root causes of bias through “education, conversation and interaction,” according to an announcement from the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida.
The donation is the largest charitable gift in the federation’s history.
“My family is fiercely devoted to the greater Jacksonville community, and we see this as an opportunity to show each other and the world that Jacksonville is better than the rogue comments of a misguided few,” Miller, co-founder of Brightway Insurance, said in a news release.
“The time is now to forge alliances and promote education so everyone in our community can reach their personal potential in a just and equitable society that we are proud to call our home,” he said.
The announcement came days after someone displayed antisemitic statements on highway overpasses, a Downtown apartment building and TIAA Bank Field during the annual Florida-Georgia football game.
The Together Strong Community Fund is in addition to the Miller families’ recent $1 million gift to the Jewish Community Alliance’s upcoming capital campaign.
The new fund also will augment short-term security initiatives in the Jewish community as well as support creation of the Jewish Community Relations Council and contribute to the work of OneJax, an institute at the University of South Florida that promotes diversity.
“We are exceptionally grateful to David and the Miller families for this powerful commitment to the protection of the Jewish community, and we are deeply moved by their desire to bring their message of hope and opportunity to the wider community so that we may all benefit from greater tolerance and understanding,” said Mariam Feist, CEO of Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida.