Delores Barr Weaver Fund Donates $250,000 to Morning Star School, a Special Education School in Jacksonville, Florida

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Morning Star School Receives Naming Donation for New Media Center as Mrs. Weaver Challenges Community to Raise Last $50,000 for High School Campaign.

New Media Center at Morning Star School, Outside View

“A new Media and Learning Center will open the door to a universe of resources for Morning Star School students,” noted Delores Barr Weaver. “Their time at Morning Star School will be greatly enhanced by having this gateway to greater knowledge.”

An unexpected phone call and donation from Jacksonville philanthropist Delores Barr Weaver places Morning Star School, a K-12 special education school for children with learning and intellectual differences, within inches of scoring a major goal.

In 2016, Morning Star School began a five-year, $1.6 million campaign to expand beyond 8th grade and build a high school. The new building nearly doubles the size of the existing campus, adding two wings with eight classrooms and a state-of-the-art media and learning center. To date, the campaign had raised $1.25 million, but the Media and Learning Center had not yet received a naming donation.

"The outpouring of generosity from the Jacksonville philanthropic community has been amazing, but as we approached our fourth campaign year we still needed $350,000 to reach our goal,” said Maria Johnson, director of development for Morning Star School. “We used savings and a loan to build our new high school so completing the campaign on time was crucial for future success. To receive a call from The Community Foundation saying Mrs. Weaver wanted to help was thrilling. We were honored and overjoyed.”

After touring the school and careful research of the project, Mrs. Weaver, through the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, agreed to help Morning Star School complete the high school campaign by naming the school’s new Media and Learning Center for $250,000.

“A new Media and Learning Center will open the door to a universe of resources for Morning Star School students,” noted Delores Barr Weaver. “Their time at Morning Star School will be greatly enhanced by having this gateway to greater knowledge.”

Additionally, Mrs. Weaver will also match up to $50,000 in donations to raise the remaining $100,000 needed to complete the campaign.

“Morning Star School has demonstrated the need for and the community investment in the Building a Brighter Future capital campaign as it has progressed,” Mrs. Weaver continued. “By issuing a challenge grant, I hope to inspire others to join me in supporting a successful finish to this worthwhile campaign.”

Morning Star School is open to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have learning differences, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and intellectual differences. Students are from diverse backgrounds and come to Morning Star School from Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Nassau, and Flagler Counties. The Delores Barr Weaver Media and Learning Center will be named in early 2020.

About the Delores Barr Weaver Media and Learning Center

The mission of the Delores Barr Weaver Media and Learning Center is to nurture collaboration and hands-on learning. Research has demonstrated that students with learning differences learn better when they are fully absorbed in activities and experiences that engage a variety of senses. Because seating will be easily reconfigured for a variety of functions, the space will be used for all aspects of learning and will quickly become a very special gathering space for all students across the curriculum.

With state-of-the-art Wi-Fi capabilities, the new space will provide students with the flexibility to use iPads, laptops and smartboards for large group and/or small group instruction. Hands-on activities include STEM projects in science, art and music, as well as group research for literature and social studies. Portable iPads and laptops feature voiceover, assistive touch and guided access to help students learn at their own pace while smartboards combine touch technology with the ability to write and erase over any application. High school students will also use the Media and Learning Center for life-centered education to help support independence through schedules, prompting tasks, paying bills, shopping and social skills.

For more information about Morning Star School or to contribute additional funds and receive a matching donation from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, people can visit the “Building a Brighter Future” capital campaign at the Morning Star School website at http://morningstar-jax.org/building-campaign/.

About the Delores Barr Weaver Fund and The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
The Delores Barr Weaver Fund was established at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida in 2012 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 Northeast Florida. Her establishment of the Delores Barr Weaver Fund ($50 million) was the largest gift in the Community Foundation’s history. The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, now in its 55th year, has assets of more than $384 million and has made more than $500 million in grants since 1964. For more information: http://www.jaxcf.org.

About Morning Star School
Morning Star School in Jacksonville, Florida (http://www.morningstar-jax.org) is a K-12 school serving children with learning and intellectual differences, attention deficit disorder and autism spectrum disorders. Fully accredited by the Florida Catholic Conference, Morning Star School is the only special education school in the Diocese of St. Augustine and takes pride in its diverse students who are welcomed regardless of background or religious affiliation. Teachers and staff work with each individual student and partner with parents, therapists and medical providers to provide each child the opportunity to reach their highest potential. Morning Star School is perpetually at capacity and is raising funds to expand the school and its services. For more information, visit http://www.morningstar-jax.org/building-campaign.

Media Contact:
Beth Strautz
info@vaguspr.com

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