City suggests Donna Foundation move 5K away from election

Published on April 5, 2023 at 12:05 pm

The city of Jacksonville is asking the Donna Foundation to move its annual Mother’s Day 5K to another date that isn’t so close to the mayoral election.

The event is scheduled for May 13, three days before the runoff between Donna Deegan, the organization’s founder, and Daniel Davis, CEO of the Jax Chamber.

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No permit has been issued for the event.

“It is not a denial and it is not an approval,” Brian Hughes, chief administrative officer, said in a statement to Jacksonville Today. “It is an effort to protect the organization and (the city of Jacksonville) from the appearance of improper election influence.

“Since it was an invitation to consider a reasonable alternative and to follow up in discussion, the organization choosing to ignore the invitation and instead give an incorrect account to media is a disappointment.”

Deegan told Jacksonville Today there are no plans to move the date of the event.

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“We’ve already got sponsors, shirts, signups,” she said. “This event is a Mother’s Day Weekend tradition.”

The head of the Donna Foundation called the city’s request “unfortunate.” Executive Director Amanda Napolitano said the 5K is an annual and nonpolitical tradition held over Mother’s Day Weekend.

“For the better part of the foundation’s 20 years of service to the community, we have held a Mother’s Day 5K running event the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend — aiming to inspire moms everywhere to take steps toward understanding, improving and protecting their breast health,” Napolitano said.

The foundation operates independently of Donna Deegan’s mayoral campaign, Napolitano said.

“We sincerely hope that this matter is resolved quickly so we can all move forward and restore our focus where it belongs: on celebrating survivorship, supporting breast cancer patients and funding critical research,” Napolitano said.

Erin Isaac, spokesperson for Daniel Davis, said, “Encourage you to check with the city, as I don’t have any info other than what I’m seeing in the press.”

author image Producer, Host, Public Speaker email Melissa Ross joined WJCT Public Media in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.

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