Jim gives his talent, time, and resources to charitable causes in the communities he works and lives in. As a community leader, he strives to make a difference. He currently serves on the board of Friends of Birch State Park, Inc. (7 years as President). He served on the Board of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for over 8 years, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale for 10 years (3 years as Chair) and Flagler Village Improvement Association, Inc. (over 15 years as President). Jim co-founded the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Coalition, and in early 2019, he founded Friends for a Safer Greener Fort Lauderdale and spearheaded the community-led effort for the approval of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s $100 million public safety bond and $200 million parks bond.
A passionate advocate for children, Mr. Ellis has also served on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Discovery and Science and Jack & Jill’s Children’s Center.
In 2014, Jim received the Citizen of the Year Award from the City of Fort Lauderdale. In 2016, he was the Hall of Fame Honoree at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Salute To Business Event. In 2018, he was named Hall of Fame Laureate by Junior Achievement of South Florida. In 2020 he was the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Downtowner of the Year, and in 2022, he was a Riverwalk Tribute Honoree.
Below are some of the organizations Jim and EDI are/ have bewn involved with:
FRIENDS OF BIRCH STATE PARK
Since 2013, Jim has committed his time and resources to revitalize and BRING Hugh Taylor Birch State Park BACK while serving as a Board member of the Friends of Birch State Park (“Friends”), and President through 2020. Friends is a non-profit Citizens Support Organization whose function is to generate and employ additional resources to support Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This is done through events and other fundraising activities, grants, programs and community outreach. Friends provides assistance to the park staff through the purchase of supplies and equipment, in addition to a list of 40+ projects. Friends has secured more than $7.5 million in funds from various sources to fix the 1.2 mile crumbling seawall, add a 230′ public floating boat dock and pavilion, create a meditation garden, clean out Long Lake, install new playgrounds, purchase equipment and golf carts, renovate the Terramar house and many other projects.
RIVERWALK FORT LAUDERDALE
For many years, Jim was on the Board of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale (Chair 2016-2019) who’s mission is to be the catalyst in building and nurturing Riverwalk as a vibrant community connected by the New River. Riverwalk strives to oversee the Riverwalk linear park and the Downtown Riverwalk district, plan for the future, assure compliance and help create an amazing destination downtown Fort Lauderdale. Current goals include the completion of the walk on the south side of the Riverwalk, Art in Public Places, free water trolley support, overall activation along the Riverwalk, including the Historic District, and 100+ annual events.
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (DDA)
Jim was on the Board of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) from 2015 through 2023. The DDA is an independent taxing district led by a seven-member appointed board of directors. The DDA has spearheaded legacy projects over the past fifty years to ensure Downtown Fort Lauderdale is and remains the urban center of Broward County. Collaborating with public and private stakeholders, the DDA continues to serve as the agency responsible for coordinating and facilitating continued investment, community engagement, and consistent improvement in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
FLAGLER VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
Jim was the President of the Flagler Village Improvement Association (“FVIA”) since 2013. FVIA was a non-profit organization founded in 2003 to serve the best interests of the residents, property owners, local organizations, businesses and governments in Flagler Village and was actively working to improve the quality of life of the Flagler Village community. The Board of FVIA was comprised of active community leaders committed to the revitalization, beautification, security and success of Flagler Village.