The Jordan Park Project Nostalgic Association’s holiday fundraiser brought in $3,000, which was added to the scholarship fund. Pictured are a few students whom the association gave scholarships last year.
BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — With a sellout crowd and a cause everyone is passionate about, the Jordan Park Project Nostalgic Association’s (JPPNA) Three Decade Holiday Party meant a chance to end the year with a successful fundraiser for scholarships and an opportunity to honor a neighborhood they all love.
Anntonette Smith chaired this year’s event and said she was honored for the chance to be a part of it all.
“I asked for volunteers and for people to come out and participate,” Smith said. “It took a team to put this together. We had a sellout crowd with more than 35 tables and projected about 250 people; we almost doubled that.”
Smith said while this is her first time chairing, she has been a member of the JPPNA for two years. She joined because the organization was important to her aunt, who once lived in the Jordan Park Projects.
The event raised about $3,000 and will be added to the group’s funds from fundraisers throughout 2022, including the annual golf tournament. For nearly 15 years, the JPPNA has raised money to provide scholarships to students who are Jordan Park residents or have family members who have lived there.
“We were totally excited to exceed our goal, Smith stated. “The more money we make the more students we can help and give money to.”
According to Smith, the average scholarship is about $500. Students must also be high school seniors with at least a 2.0 GPA.
Rufus Lewis, president of the JPPNA and co-founder of the organization, said he, along with the late Minson Rubin and Willie Felton, grew up in the Jordan Park Projects and started the organization because they wanted a way to honor the memories they had there as children.
They said they wanted people to know that there were successful professional athletes, teachers, police officers, entertainers and business owners that grew up in the complex. Along with honoring former and current residents, the three wanted to use the organization to support the community they loved.
“We wanted to create a legacy,” Lewis said. “We felt people needed to know how it came to be and to remember the units we grew up in. They have been torn down to make room for new units.”
The three started the organization in 2010, and in 2011 the JPPNA became an official 501c-3, a federal designation that allows organizations to accept tax-deductible donations and contributions.
People can donate to JPPNA anytime and help the organization touch as many young people as possible.
Since its inception, the JPPNA has given students $25,000 in scholarships.
In addition, the organization has recognized and celebrated more than 60 residents of Jordan Park as they continue to ensure the community knows anyone can be successful, no matter their circumstances.
Donations can be mailed to the JPPNA at PO Box 12263, St. Petersburg, FL 33733