Community First Cares Foundation Bestows Inaugural Innovation in Education Award at The EDDY Awards

March 26, 2014 4:21 pm EDT

The Community First Cares Foundation, operated by Community First Credit Union, has awarded the inaugural Innovation in Education Award honoring creativity and innovation in classroom instruction in Duval County. This year’s award was given to Rebecca Cook, a fifth grade math and science teacher at Pine Estates Elementary. Cook was honored at this year’s EDDY Awards held at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, March 12.

Cook’s teaching project “Rockets Rule” is a program to teach math and science through the building of rockets and the experience of visiting NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Students in Ms. Cook’s class are learning how rockets work and the importance of space exploration while also learning the basics and practical applications of math and science principles. Her classroom innovation was fully funded and students will complete “Rockets Rule” with their end of year field trip to the Kennedy Space Center.

“Rebecca is an outstanding teacher whose students are learning in creative and innovative ways,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First Credit Union. “There were so many eligible and worthy projects in this competition that selection was a difficult task.”

Fifteen teachers with projects on PowerUP Jax were nominated for the award. Four finalists received $500 in funding and Cook received the grand prize of $1,000 toward a future or current project on PowerUP Jax.

Community First Cares is the lead funder and sponsor of PowerUP Jax, which was launched in October 2013 by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. The Innovation in Education Award was announced at the launch of PowerUP Jax, which is an online community to help crowd fund classroom innovation in Duval County. The EDDY Awards initiative is a joint venture between the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership.

“Thanks to support from Community First Cares, teachers in Duval County have the chance to showcase their creativity year-round, and, most importantly, have the chance to boost student achievement in new and innovative ways,” said Trey Csar, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

The Community First Cares Foundation is the only non-profit foundation lead by a credit union in the region and one of only a few in Florida.

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization that works to inform and mobilize the community advocate for universally high-quality public schools for all children. For more information, visit or call (904) 356-7757.

The Community First Cares Foundation, founded by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit community foundation that grants funds to improve the quality of life in North Florida.  The foundation supports activities to improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help underserved citizens. The Community First Cares Foundation makes contributions to non-profit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast. For more information, visit or call 904. 371.8090. For more information about Community First Credit Union, visit or call 904- 354-8537.