emmajewel-exterior-300x200CENTRAL REGION
FCLF LOAN $275,000
K-7 Charter School Serving up to 500 Students

"FCLF staff shares our vision and commitment to serve needy families and provide a high quality education to all children." - Thomas Cole, Founder and Principal, Emma Jewel Charter Academy

The historic Monroe Center school building in Brevard County has frequently been vacant and sometimes even boarded up off and on for decades. In this low-income area of the county, part of the Diamond Square Redevelopment District, there is a need for a community-based school that will instill a passion for learning and a strong desire to nurture family and community and provide a one-stop community center for area residents.

The Emma Jewel Charter Academy, EJCA, came together as an organization in 2011 with a goal of re-opening this shuttered school building and offering tuition-free quality education to up to 500 students in this primarily low-income, minority area of Cocoa. The mission of EJCA is to instill within each child a passion for learning, a desire to nurture their family members, friends, and their community. Its motto is “Helping the Village Raise the Child.” Its founder and principal, Thomas Cole, has over 15 years of experience in charter schools and, as a former long-time resident who has recently returned to the area, knows the need for a school that will empower students to become lifelong learners, problem solvers, and have a positive impact in their community.

With financing through Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) and Building Hope…A Charter School Facilities Fund, Emma Jewel Charter School has renovated the existing school building into classroom space, a cafeteria and a media center/art room. Renovations include new air conditioning and ducts, carpet and tile, electrical and plumbing, restrooms, paint, and will include an ADA-accessible playground and a sports field. The school opened on August 14 for the 2013-14 school year with up to 200 students, and will continue to expand each subsequent year to reach its eventual enrollment of 500 in grades K-7. There is excitement in the community as this project moves forward, with full support from Brevard County and the City of Cocoa. Additional funding is available through a CDBG Award, upon completion of the renovation, and a contribution from the Brevard County Commissioners’ Office.

In addition to providing a charter school in a low-income redevelopment area, this project is expected to provide up to 100 temporary jobs during construction and 22 permanent jobs upon completion.

To view more photos of Emma Jewel Charter School, visit our Flickr page.




Pictured at top, Renovated Administration Building August 2013.
Above right, Emma Jewel Charter Academy Ribbon Cutting August 2013.
Below left, rendering of completed campus.
Below right, School building pre-renovation..



We consider FCLF a valued partner with staff who are strong advocates for low-income communities and families. We look forward to many more years of working together.
- Jennifer Westerbeck, Vice President, US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC)