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A Letter from Our New CEO, Lori Ann Whittington

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As the new CEO of Pine Castle, I know I have big shoes to fill! Jon May left an incredible legacy for all of us to build on, and I know we will – together. Alongside our dedicated staff, volunteers, donors and participants, I will work hard to ensure that we not only continue the great history of Pine Castle, but that we also build an exciting future.

My personal philosophy for life is that Faith is first, Family is second, and Career comes third. That doesn’t mean that I’m not driven to success. What is does mean is that my faith informs my life first, and I believe, as our participant Percy said in the recent Florida Times Union article about Jon May’s departure, “It doesn’t matter what type of disability you have, everybody just wants be loved.” In the Gospel of Matthew, the greatest commandment given to us is to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is what happens at Pine Castle – we deliver the mission with love now – and that is what we will continue to do as we move forward together.

As for my family, I am married to Ron Whittington, a public relations consultant and writer, and we have one daughter in college, and another daughter finishing high school this year. Ron’s mom, Frankie, also lives with us and is going strong at 88!

My qualifications to lead Pine Castle include more than 25 years of nonprofit experience. As a matter of fact, my entire career has been invested in the nonprofit sector. I have worked for local nonprofits, regional offices and national agencies in a variety of cities, including Dallas, Texas, Atlanta Georgia, and here in Jacksonville. I am a former Executive Director of the First Coast Area’s American Cancer Society office, and have been a consultant for a variety of social service agencies such as: the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, Beaches Action Team / Baptist Medical Center, Barnabas Center, Feeding Northeast Florida, ElderSource, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of North Florida, DieRections, Creating Healthy Families, The Carpenter’s Shop Center and United Way of Northeast Florida. My expertise includes a strong fundraising background and a passion for strategy.

My immediate focus will be on the amazing People of Pine Castle – the participants, staff, volunteers and donors – followed by an emphasis on maintaining and growing the quality of our Programs to make continuous Progress towards innovative and meaningful new strategies to fulfill our mission.

The future is bright for Pine Castle! The fiscal year ended with a strong surplus and the organization is sound. I look forward to working together with each of you to serve even more people of different abilities in our community.


Lori Ann Whittington

The Terry Mothershed Award for Excellence

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Jon May, Pine Castle’s CEO, accepts the Terry Mothershed Award for Excellence

This prestigious award is given annually to acknowledge a professional whose contributions have resulted in significant improvement in the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health needs. The award highlights the professional’s dedication, advocacy, compassion, competence, person-centered approaches and collaboration results in improved quality of life, health and wellness, and/or opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Jon May was selected to be the 2017 Northeast Florida recipient.

Jon May has a distinguished 28 year career as the CEO of Pine Castle, Inc. Under May’s leadership, he has grown the agency budget from $1.5 million in 1988 to over $6 million in 2016. Pine Castle’s outreach has grown from 250 clients in 1988 to over 350 clients in 2016. He has added 60 agency jobs for staff working to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

In recognition of underemployment of persons with disabilities, May led efforts in 1993 to construct a work production facility on the Pine Castle campus and expanded the facility in 1999. This facility, a combination of warehouse and work production space, has allowed expansion of work opportunities for the 250 participants in the Day Training Program.

With a focus on health, May established a nursing program in 2001 to ensure access to quality healthcare for the individuals in the Adult Day Training Program and Residential Services. Under his leadership in 2015, Pine Castle initiated a Psychosocial Rehabilitation program that focuses on persons with both an intellectual/developmental disability and mental health diagnosis. Program participants meet daily to improve their ability to function at work, life skills at home, stress reduction, communication and reduce their feelings of low self-worth.

In 2007, May conceived a new campus resource for participants that was constructed in 2008 and dedicated as the Borowy Family Life Enrichment Center after a successful capital campaign. This $4.0M project is a 17,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose service center allowed a significant increase in services available to program participant’s campus-wide.

In addition to his work at Pine Castle, May has serves on the Board of Directors for Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (FARF), an organization serving the interests of Florida providers of services with intellectual and developmental disabilities which includes legislative and state government advocacy for the needs of persons served in our field. He has been active as a community leader with the Jacksonville Chamber, Southside Business Club and United Way Directors.


One year anniversary of the Terry G. Clark Radio Studio

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In celebration of the one year anniversary of the Terry G. Clark Radio Studio, Pine Castle hosted a special broadcast Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10am. One of Pine Castle’s most loved activities, the Pine Castle Morning News, got a significant revamp a year ago from a generous donor. Pine Castle Morning News was launched in memory of former participant, Terry G. Clark Jr. Terry had been a Pine Castle participant since 2012 and joined the radio show as a technical producer and anchor. His memory has been kept alive through daily broadcasts in the studio.

The Pine Castle Morning News broadcasts live from their studio every Monday through Friday at 9:30 am. The radio show includes news headlines, weather, sports, lunch, joke of the day and this day in history. Previously broadcasted across the campus via walkie talkies, the new morning show has been broadcasted from a state-of-the-art radio studio outfitted on the Pine Castle Campus. This is the first radio show written and produced by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of Florida.

The Florida Times Union did a great article on the anniversary of the studio. To read the article, please visit

The Publix Fishathon

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Fishing, dancing, bar-b-q and fun are a few words to express the Publix Fishathon. As a part of their United Way campaign kickoff, members of Pine Castle’s Adult Day Training program got to participate in the activities. The day kicked off with fishing where there were some big (and little) catches. The rest of the afternoon was spent singing, dancing and playing corn hole. The Pine Castle clients even had the opportunity to see what it is like to honk the horn in one of Publix’s big trucks.

Each year, Publix associates pledge to United Way, largely through payroll deductions. In 2015 Publix associates pledged $33.4 million. Thank you to Publix and United Way for their impact in our clients lives!

Thank You to Our Newest Corporate Program Partner

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The mission of the GATE Foundation is to support the efforts and services that nurture and protect the well-being of family and community. Pine Castle was selected as the 2015 beneficiary of the GATE Foundation Charity Golf Tournament.

On November 23, 2015, The GATE Foundation presented us with an $85,000 check to benefit all of our day programs, group homes, senior services and community employment programs. Since the check presentation, The GATE Foundation has committed to being a 2016 Corporate Program Partner to further support Pine Castle and our mission. 



18th Annual Independence Golf Classic Recap!

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holland-knight-pine-castle-201x300flowers-baking-pine-castle-201x300After unexpected flooding leading to the cancellation of the original tournament date, the 18th Annual Independent Golf Classic had perfect weather on December 7, 2015 at Atlantic Beach Country Club! Thank you to our presenting sponsor 121 Financial Credit Union.

Since its beginning in 1997, the Independence Golf Classic has raised over $1,000,000, drawing support from those interested in contributing to the strength and success of Pine Castle’s programs. Proceeds will support the long-term success of Pine Castle’s vocational and life skills training, job development and coaching, a seniors’ program, and long-term residential care.

Baptist Health, Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, bestbet Jacksonville, Bott-Anderson Partners, Inc., Florida Blue, Moran Environmental Recovery, Flowers Bakery, Republic Services, San Jose Rotary, The LBA Group, Wells Fargo and many more participated.

This year, we recognized Holland and Knight and Flowers Bakery for their outstanding leadership in providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities within the First Coast Business Community.


18th Annual Independence Golf Classic

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Pine Castle is nearing it’s 18th Annual Independence Golf Classic! This year the Independence Golf Classic is presented by 121 Financial Credit Union and will be held on Monday, December 7th at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

Since its beginning in 1997, the Independence Golf Classic has raised over $1,000,000, drawing support from those interested in contributing to the strength and success of Pine Castle’s programs. Proceeds will support the long-term success of Pine Castle’s vocational and life skills training, job development and coaching, a seniors’ program, and long-term residential care. 

Sponsorships for this premier tournament are available and appreciated. For details regarding Tournament Sponsorship Opportunities, visit our event page, or contact Anthony Sutton, (904) 733-2650 ext. 282



Pine Castle’s 3rd Annual Run For The Roses Soiree

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2015-rftr-save-the-date-media-mix-225x300Our 3rd annual Run For The Roses Derby Day Soiree is right around the corner!

Join us Saturday, May 2nd at the Timuquana Country Club! Patrons will enjoy a night of traditional derby day activities including a “Bonnets & Bowties” contest, silent and live auctions, and dinner and drinks! The mint juleps will be flowing, so don’t forget to bring your best bonnet or bowtie!

Last year we raised over $90,000 for Pine Castle programs. We hope to surpass expectations again this year! There’s no better feeling than partying for a purpose!

To see pictures from last year’s Run For The Roses, click here!


It’s “Report Card” Time for Pine Castle!

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Accountability and transparency are two concepts that the Pine Castle family embraces whole-heartedly. We are proud of our successes and are pleased to share them with you in our Annual Report 2014. Here are just a few of the highlights… Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.46.32 PM

• 467 persons received Training, Education, and/or Support Services
• 87 persons received Community Employment Coaching
• 38 persons received Residential Services
• Campus Work Opportunities/Product and Contract Sales totaled $1,474,510 (+33%)
• Development Contributions totaled $601,886 (+25%)
• Source of Funds = $5,710,176 – a 10% increase vs. Fiscal Year 2013
• Use of Funds = $5,651,278

In 2014, Pine Castle expanded opportunities for people with disabilities to engage in learning, working, and meaningfully connecting to the First Coast community. We sincerely thank our many caring supporters for making it all possible. Read our Annual Report 2014 to find out more about our programs and our supporters here!

Pine Castle Holds 17th Annual “Independence Golf Classic”

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17th Annual Independence Golf Classic

Pine Castle’s 17th Annual “Independence Golf Classic”, presented by 121 Financial Credit Union, was held at Deerwood Country Club was held on Monday, July 14, 2014.

Representing tournament sponsor, Jason Hyrne & Jeff Wyatt of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, First-place Gross Division winners were Jeff Wyatt, Karisa Akins, Alan Henderson and Clay Churchill (pictured).  Representing tournament sponsor, Borland-Groover Clinic, First-place Net Division winners were Tom Birdsong, John Gol, West Bernhardt, and Eric Drake.

Since its beginning in 1997, the Independence Golf Classic has raised over $1,000,000, drawing support from those interested in contributing to the strength and success of Pine Castle’s programs, which assist adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities to reach their greatest possible levels of independence.  Proceeds will support the long-term success of Pine Castle’s vocational and life skills training, job development and coaching, a seniors’ program, and long-term residential care.  

Pine Castle’s Executive Director, Jonathan May, expressed his appreciation for the tournament sponsors and participants’ dedication to the agency’s mission.  “As we celebrate over 60 years of Pine Castle’s service to the Jacksonville community and surrounding counties, we look back on a time when people with disabilities weren’t fully a part of society, and there were no educational or employment services available to them,” he explained.  “Consistent community support for programs which assist citizens with disabilities demonstrates that today, everyone matters.”

The tournament’s Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Sam’s Clubs of Jacksonville, provided an important opportunity to honor Publix, Chartwells Thompson, Service Solutions and Goodwill of North Florida, four area companies that have partnered with Pine Castle and demonstrated leadership in the creation of job opportunities within our community for those with disabilities.  Pine Castle’s Community Employment Program has provided qualified employees and on-the-job training and follow-up services to the business community since 1988.

Other top sponsors of the event included Flowers Baking Co., Tom Bush Family of Dealerships, Baptist Health, the law firm of Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, Moran Environmental Recovery, Art Dobosiewicz/UBS Financial, LBA Group, and Drs. Bruce and Deborah Krieger.

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