Community First Funds 12-mile St. Johns River Swim Event | Business

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Community First Funds 12-mile St. Johns River Swim Event
Community First Funds 12-mile St. Johns River Swim Event

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – JumpingFish, a nonprofit group that advocates for First Coast waterways through athletics, won a $1,000 grant from Community First Credit Union’s Investing in You contest to fund itsUp the River 12-Mile Swim for the St. Johnsawareness initiative. The Up the River project is the first of six winning community improvement ideas to receive $1,000 each in this summer’s contest.

“Our overall mission to preserve our waterways was a perfect fit with Community First’s public outreach for improvement ideas,” said Jim Alabiso, founder of JumpingFish and the Up the River project. “With the St. Johns River being our city’s largest and most valuable natural resource, anything we do to help it improves our entire community in a big way.”

The upcoming Up the River awareness event is Jacksonville’s first-ever long distance swim in the St. Johns River. Alabiso completed a 3.5 mile swim across the river last summer and now has a small team joining him for a 12 mile journey on June 9. The swim will launch from Walter Jones Park in Mandarin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at approximately 11:30 at the Riverside Arts Market. The swimmers will be accompanied by kayakers, two crew boats and the St. Johns Riverkeeper boat, Kingfisher, for safety reasons and to transmit real-time progress updates to supporters at the Riverside Arts Market.

Up the River stood out as a project that can better this community for many generations to come,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO of Community First Credit Union. “Based on the caliber of ideas submitted so far, we’re looking forward to discovering and funding even more innovative community improvement concepts.”

Opportunities remain for five more winners to be awarded grants through the Investing in You campaign. The initiative launched in April, inviting anyone with an idea to make the First Coast a better place to participate. Entries can be submitted through Community First’s Facebook page. The credit union awards $1,000 every two weeks for 90 days, with the last winner being chosen July 13. Semi-finalists are chosen based on which ideas received the most “likes,” with a panel selecting the winners that will receive grant funding from Community First.

Learn more about Up the River, vote on the next winner or contribute your own idea on the Community First Facebook page, or

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