Wayne and Delores Weaver gift the North Florida School of Special Education $2-million dollars

By Lucia Viti

Students cheered her on Thursday as she walked a red carpet at North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville — North Florida School of Special Education’s Board of Directors received a $2-million dollar endowment from J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver. Noted as the largest gift in the school’s history the funds will be managed by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

The North Florida School of Special Education recently expanding its campus to include the Christy and Lee Smith Lower School Campus and Delores Barr Weaver Therapeutic Equestrian Center. The school serves over 275 students and postgraduates from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia with educational therapeutic and training programs. The facility also offers employment opportunities to young adults with intellectual and developmental differences (IDD). After school, weekends, and summers, the school opens its campus to the community for Equestrian therapy and summer camps for IDD students and their “neurotypical peers” to enable them to share in their experiences. Many of the school’s graduates either work in the community or return for postgraduate programs.

“The Endowment Fund is an important progression for the school,” says Board President Bert Brown. “The school will continue to expand opportunities for students for years to come.”

“Wayne and I have admired the work of the North Florida School of Special Education for many years, said Delores Barr Weaver. “We feel strongly that what’s been created and what’s envisioned for its future should be supported in perpetuity, and we are proud to provide the lead gift for the North Florida School’s endowment at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.”

“We are grateful to Delores and Wayne Weaver for their lead gift of $2-million dollars to our endowment fund,” said Sally Hazelip, Head of School. “Their support of North Florida School of Special Education has always been about more than the dollars. It is a cornerstone upon which this community of love, support, and innovation has grown. It is an endorsement to other donors. And for me, it is also a personal source of encouragement that this extraordinary couple has extended their legacy to ensure a bright future for young people with intellectual and developmental differences in Northeast Florida.”

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