By Kristi Lee Schatz, Unity Plaza Wellness Director
Published in EU Jacksonville Magazine | August 12, 2014
This week marks the launch of the Unity Plaza fundraising campaign. The finalization of the event programming schedule and infrastructure development plans has revealed many unique opportunities for local businesses, corporate sponsors, and private donors to share in the collaborative effort of bringing the park to life. From one-time capital improvement naming opportunities to annual event title sponsorship options, the impact of participation, especially during the initial launch phase, has the potential to leave a lasting mark on this city’s new community gathering space.
Development of the Unity Plaza Bandshell and Amphitheater, with its groundbreaking, original event line-up, brings a new canvas upon which Jacksonville can paint its unique identity. Its eclectic programming is designed to nurture our international reputation as an exciting and monetizeable center of culture in America, which will help to attract world class acts who will infuse Jacksonville with a whole new energy. The Unity Plaza team’s initial fundraising focus is securing the necessary support to build this community asset. Through regional and federal grants, a partnership with the Greater Cultural Council of Jacksonville, and corporate and individual patrons, 70% of Unity Plaza’s concerts will be sponsored and free to the public, therefore making the arts accessible to all.
Additional site improvements will provide opportunities for the general community to leave their mark on the plaza as well. The Brick Campaign will offer individuals and community organizations a chance to engrave their name on a brick that will pave the walkways around the plaza. Participation as a Plank Partner offers the chance to sponsor an amenity deck that will be built over the pond and serve as an additional viewing deck overlooking the stage.
Unity Plaza will be highlighted by three programming pillars: Performing Arts, Wellness, and Community Engagement, all designed to elevate and maximize the physical health, social experience, and cultural life in Northeast Florida. Programming will be daily, weekly, monthly, and on annual cycles intended to unify our citizens, benefit our critical nonprofit agencies, and fan the flame of our city’s potential. Funding support for these free community events will come through event title sponsorships and annual donations from community members and organizations.
The events and the supportive site assets necessary to deliver Unity Plaza hold both an internal and external purpose: to increase civic pride and underscore to our nation the definition of modern day Jacksonville, Florida. When we collectively share in a vision of what is possible for our city’s evolution, we amplify the potential impact and send a ripple that extends far beyond the borders of community.