Recently Forbes released a list of all the billionaires in the United States. While some familiar names are at the top of the list, I like to look for interesting stories that stand out amongst the lucky people on the list to share with readers.
Today it is time to look at the wealthiest person living in Jacksonville, Florida- at how he made his vast fortune and also what he is doing in the community to put his wealth to good use.
The richest person in Jacksonville
With a net worth of $1 billion, which places him at number 2674 wealthiest in the world is J Wayne Weaver. Weaver has an inspirational story. He grew up in public housing, didn't attend college, and was married at the age of 20.
Together with his new wife Delores, they set a goal to make a combined income of $10,000 a year eventually. More than sixty years later, they are still together and have vastly exceeded their goal!
Weaver was born in Columbus, Georgia, and started his career as a shoe salesman, and his hard work saw him slowly work his way up the corporate ladder. He ended up at Nine West and eventually became CEO in 1978.
At the same time, he purchased a 29% share in the shoe retailer Shoe Carnival, leading to his immense fortune. He is still the chairman of Shoe Carnival.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans may know Weaver best for becoming the first owner of the NFL team. He owned a majority share in the team for 18 years before selling his stake to Shahid Khan in 2011 for $770 million.
When I write these articles, I always get questions from readers asking what these billionaires give back to the community. In the case of Wayne Weaver, together with his wife Delores, they are involved in a number of charitable organizations in Jacksonville. In fact, they have established permanent endowments for 33 nonprofit organizations.
In 2012, the Weavers’ made a $10 million donation to Baptist Health for children’s behavioral health programs - at the time, this was the largest cash gift in Baptist history.
Also, in 2012, they established the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center with a $6.6 million grant. The center, which is based in Jacksonville, is now a national leader in advocating for the rights of at-risk girls and young women.
Delores is also the Chairwoman and CEO of the Jaguars Foundation, which grants over $1 million annually to organizations that assist "economically and socially disadvantaged youth and families." She was also named Children's Champion in 2007 by Episcopal Children's Services in recognition of her profound impact upon Jacksonville youth.
"I always believed that ... people who have the wherewithal have a responsibility to make a difference,” Delores Weaver
According to Wayne Weaver, together with his wife, they want "to do what we can to help Jacksonville grow its full potential. I think we’re on the cusp of breaking through becoming one of the great middle-market cities in the country.”
They certainly have invested a lot back into the Jacksonville community.
The richest person in Florida
With a net wealth of $7.3 billion, which makes him the 116th richest person in the United States is St. Petersburg resident Ronald Wanek. His wealth also makes him the wealthiest person in the state of Florida. Wanek has made his fortune through the business he started back in 1970- Ashley Furniture.
Readers, what are your thoughts on J Wayne and Delores Weaver? Have you met either of them or worked at any of their businesses or charities. What was your experience of them?
As always, please leave your comments in the section below.