PRESS RELEASE – The Sector Advocate Award is presented for only the third time ever to Nina Waters!

Contact: Autumn Lee 

Communications Director

Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida

O: 904-425-1183


JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida presented its Sector Advocate Award to Nina Waters, President of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The Sector Advocate Award honors a person in Northeast Florida that has demonstrated an extraordinary level of service and commitment to the local nonprofit sector. The award has only been bestowed two other times in the organization’s 20-year history. 

“Nina’s intelligence, generosity, honesty, and passion for helping people are well-known to all in the nonprofit and philanthropic community,” said Rena Coughlin, CEO of the Nonprofit Center. “She has led the Community Foundation to exponential growth, helped lead the creation of important new funds and fields of interest that have grown access and capacity across the sector, and she has never forgotten her roots as a nonprofit staffer. Her commitment runs deep.” 

Nina started her journey at The Community Foundation as the Executive Vice President in 2001 and became President in 2005. Under her leadership, Foundation assets have quadrupled from less than $60 million in 2002 to more than $600 million in 2021, and annual grants to the community have grown from $9 million in 2002 to more than $43 million in 2021.  

Three other sector leaders spoke about Nina during the ceremony at the Nonprofit Center’s Nonprofit Works: Futures of the Sector conference held at the Florida Blue Conference Center. They included Rachael Tutwiler Fortune, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Cindy Funkhouser, CEO of Sulzbacher, and the Honorable Judge Brian Davis, current Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and longtime sector leader who has served on various boards.

Nina was lauded for her visionary leadership and trail blazing work; her much sought-after wisdom; and her deep commitment to the community – especially the nonprofit sector and the vulnerable people they serve.

“Nina’s leadership within the nonprofit community has been unparalleled. Because of her work the future of the sector is indeed excellent!” Davis said. “Nina has either led or partnered with others to shine a light on a host of community issues—responding to crises, investing in research, convening interested stakeholders, inviting national solution providers to present here, raising money by connecting generous donors, and advocating on behalf of the nonprofits who serve all the citizens of the First Coast.”

In accepting the Award, Nina said that it meant so much to be recognized by her peers.  The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida proudly honors Nina Waters with the Sector Advocate Award; without her leadership, our community would not be as vibrant. 


About the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida

The Nonprofit Center is a vital support system for our local nonprofits. We provide services, programs, and information resources for our members while advocating for the Northeast Florida nonprofit sector locally and at the state level. We provide local government, civic and business leaders, and the media insights and information to promote smart decision-making and public support for local nonprofits. Visit to learn more. 

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