Junior Achievement of North Florida Has Set the Date for the 2021 Hall of Fame Luncheon

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the annual event which will be held on Thursday, May 27.

Jacksonville, FL, March 26, 2021 --(PR.com)-- Junior Achievement of North Florida has set the date for the Hall of Fame Luncheon, the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser, for Thursday, May 27. JA of North Florida is currently looking for sponsors for the event which supports its mission to empower the next generation through JA learning experiences designed to lead youth to economic success. The Hall of Fame Luncheon also recognizes outstanding individuals in the community. This year, three awards will be handed out; the Thompson S. Baker Award, and new to JA of North Florida, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the JA Inspire Award.

“We are asking businesses and individuals to join us for the Hall of Fame as we embrace the challenges of today and continue our mission to prepare the leaders of tomorrow,” said Shannon Italia, president of JA of North Florida. “We will also be celebrating individuals who have given back incredibly and positively. We have chosen three amazing people to recognize this year with our prestigious Thompson S. Baker Award and two new ones which recognize individuals who have made a positive impact through business and service.”

Duval County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene has been named this year’s Thompson S. Baker “Solid As A Rock” Award winner. Greene will become the 23rd recipient of the award which was named for its first winner, Thompson S. Baker, the founder of Florida Rock Industries. The award was created in 1997 to recognize a local hero who has made a positive impact on business and education in the Jacksonville community through leadership, hands-on involvement and philanthropic deeds.

Greene was recently named the 2021 Florida Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents for her significant accomplishments in Duval County Public Schools since she took over the position in July of 2018. Under Greene’s leadership, the academic performance of schools has continued to improve and is close to becoming an “A” district. She led the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic which in less than a week converted to online learning. Greene also garnered community support for a $1.9 billion master facilities plan to renovate and replace crumbling school infrastructure with the passage of a voluntary surtax.

“What Dr. Greene has been able to do for our students and schools in just a few years has been truly remarkable. Dr. Greene is a wonderful advocate for our community and our youth. She has shown her commitment to making Duval County better for all and we all agree she is the perfect person to receive this award,” said Italia.

Chosen to be the inaugural winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award is Craig Mandeville, founder and CEO of Forcura. This new award was designed to recognize an inspirational business leader committed to making a positive regional impact through their innovation, passionate entrepreneurial spirit, and personal integrity and influence. Mandeville founded Forcura in 2012 to improve patient care through improvement in the digital management of medical records and secure communications. With Mandeville’s leadership, Forcura grew its workforce by 35 percent in 2020, received the backing of Silicon Valley-based funding partner Accel-KKR, and expanded into new sectors of the healthcare industry. The company engages the community through a podcast titled Innovate Jax that introduces listeners to Jacksonville change-makers who are leaving a mark on the city to inspire others to do the same. Forcura has also been named multiple times as Best Place to Work by Inc. Magazine and Jacksonville Business Journal and was re-certified in 2021 as a Great Place to Work®.

Jennifer Chapman, division chair of public affairs for Mayo Clinic in Florida, is the first winner of the JA Inspire Award. It was created to acknowledge a person whose passion, purpose and commitment to the community are demonstrated through outstanding volunteer service and community engagement. Chapman has spent much of her professional career focused on connecting the private sector with the community through volunteerism, fundraising, corporate grant-making and legislative advocacy. She has been involved with many nonprofit organizations throughout the years many of whose missions focus on women and girls, leadership development, early learning and financial literacy. She was a past Girls Scouts of Gateway Council Women of Distinction, and a Jacksonville Business Journal Women of Influence and 40 Under 40 honoree. In 2015, JA of North Florida inducted her into the Hall of Fame for her work with JAGirl$.

Greene, Mandeville and Chapman will be presented with the awards at the Hall of Fame luncheon on Thursday, May 27. The event will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Adam W. Herbert University Center at the University of North Florida. Sponsorships are available at many levels from the $25,000 Presenting Sponsor to the $2,500 Chairman level. For more information, contact Shannon Italia at (904) 398-9944, ext. 228.

About Junior Achievement of North Florida
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Junior Achievement of North Florida has been operating in Jacksonville since 1963 and includes a satellite office in Tallahassee. Through an innovative partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers, Junior Achievement of North Florida helps young people connect with relevant learning and the importance of staying in school. This collaboration resulted in 48,100 students reached during the 2019-20 school year.
Junior Achievement of North Florida
Kelly White