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Jacksonville Bar’s friendly competition looks to clear final fundraising hurdle for local non-profit

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Mike Freed running

Mike Freed is preparing for his sixth annual charity Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville Freed to Run marathon series in November. With $1.9 million raised to date, Freed to Run 6.0 needs $350,000 in additional contributions to fully endow the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and enable Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to provide free legal aid to qualifying pediatric patients and their families in perpetuity.

With a significant fundraising goal in its sights, the sixth annual Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville Freed to Run 6.0 marathon trek is getting a big boost, plus some extra competition compliments of the Jacksonville Bar Association.

The Jacksonville Bar is splitting into three teams in an epic showdown to see who can gain the most support and raise the most money for Freed to Run. Freed to Run hopes to fully fund the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s endowment of the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership (NFMLP).

The partnership is an initiative between lawyers, doctors, and health-care institutions to better the lives of children in the region. It provides legal aid to pediatric patients and their families and helps with access to health insurance, educational services, housing, family law, and consumer protection.

The three teams include members from the Jacksonville Bar’s Big Law Committee, Solo and Small-Firm Committee, and the JBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioners Committee:

  • Big law firms (Team name: Too Big to Fail)
  • Solo or small firms (Team name: Too Small to Fail)
  • Mediators (Team name: Neutrals Never Quit)

The 6-marathons-in-6-days quest starts November 14 at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee and hits every Northeast Florida courthouse on its route before ending at the Duval County Courthouse on November 19.

These three Jacksonville Bar teams will field a relay team during the last leg of the six-day event on November 19, which will run from the Baker County Courthouse in Macclenny to the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville.

The winner of the Jacksonville Bar competition will be determined by which team can sign up the most Jacksonville Bar members, which team can run the most aggregate miles, and which can raise the most money for the NFMLP to help reach the endowment goal of $2.25 million.

Freed to Run has raised $1.9 million to date and needs $350,000 in additional contributions to fully endow the NFMLP and enable Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to provide free legal aid to qualifying pediatric patients and their families in perpetuity. All donations are matched at 125% by Baptist Health Jacksonville, up to a total of $1.25 million, so if other sponsors and donors can come up with $155,000, Baptist Health would contribute the remaining $193,750, enabling Freed to Run to reach the endowment goal.

Jacksonville Bar’s three teams are excited to raise money for a worthy cause but also seem eager to beat the other squads. Asghar Syed, a Gunster shareholder and captain of team Too Big to Fail, sent the first shot across the bow.

“As we all know, size matters,” Syed said. “And we’re out to prove it yet again.”

Captain of Too Small to Fail Robert Travieso of The Travieso Law Firm is enjoying the friendly competition.

“We are having a lot of fun with the rivalry, but only to draw attention to this very important issue,” Travieso said. “Children already dealing with health issues shouldn’t have to worry about things like being denied insurance coverage or substandard housing conditions that are making their health matters worse. By permanently funding the NFMLP, we are ensuring they’ll have a lawyer in their corner.”

Neutrals Never Quit Co-Captain Jennifer Grippa of Miles Mediation and Arbitration is committed to the full endowment of the NFMLP but remained true to form as a mediator and wouldn’t get into trash talking.

“Of course, I never take sides, so it’s nice that all of our teams are in total agreement here,” Grippa said. “We all have the same goal in our sights, which is to put the NFMLP endowment over the top.”

In complete agreement, Syed said, “In the end, this is all for the kids, so whether we win or lose, the kids win.”

Donations to Freed to Run are tax deductible and can be made by visiting Donators can pick their favorite relay team to sponsor per mile run, which goes directly to the NFMLP.




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