Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Success Zone Backer Pulls out of Project; Largest Contributor Says the Plan "Is Not Aligned" with Harlem Example

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Success Zone Backer Pulls out of Project; Largest Contributor Says the Plan "Is Not Aligned" with Harlem Example

Article excerpt

Byline: TOPHER SANDERS

The largest private contributor to an initiative to help children and families in Northwest Jacksonville has withdrawn its support after reading a draft version of the project's strategic plan.

The New Town Success Zone is a 2-year-old project inspired by the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which uses a conveyer-belt system of programs to help children living in a 97-block area go from "cradle to college."

The Chartrand Foundation has given $750,000 to New Town programs over the last two years, but it will no longer back the project because the draft plan "is not aligned" with key elements of the Harlem model, said Jeff Chartrand, the foundation's executive director.

Most specifically he is concerned the program is going to be run by the government instead of a nonprofit, which is counter to the Harlem model.

"As long as this initiative is run by government," he said, "I have no faith or confidence it will be successful."

Chartrand said Tuesday although he understood the New Town plan was still in draft form, it failed to match Harlem's model in other areas, such as flooding the area with social-service programs; linking objectives, strategies, programs and partners; having a detailed budget; and developing an accountability matrix.

"Those key elements need to serve as the foundation and the structure of the plan," Chartrand said. "The city has decided to go down a very different path, and I wish them well.

"But this is the end of the road for us. It's time for us to move on."

Linda Lanier, executive director of the Jacksonville Children's Commission, which oversees the initiative, said the draft plan is aligned with the Harlem initiative.

In fact, Lanier said, part of why the draft was delayed a month was to incorporate the latest recommendations from the Harlem program released in November. …

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