When people volunteer, they can change lives — including their own. Each week in Reason, we will highlight a volunteer’s story of giving back and how that selfless act was a true revelation. The volunteer project is a collaboration among the Times-Union, the University of North Florida, the United Way of Northeast Florida and HandsOn Jacksonville.


The 27th floor of 1 Independent Drive is a long way from Sydney, Australia, where Andrew Mumford grew up.

From this floor of Regency Centers, you can see to some of the farthest edges of Jacksonville. For Mumford and his co-workers, the view surrounding them covers an expanse of neighborhoods where personal investment is crucial as they develop and redevelop retail centers and create space for economic growth.

Though nationwide in scope, Regency Centers has made a positive impact in the Northeast Florida community.

This past year, Mumford chaired the workplace giving campaign that earned Regency Centers a Corporate Engagement and Circle of Honor award from the United Way of Northeast Florida.

While the work of United Way was relatively new to Mumford, its impact was close to home.

“I have two young children. Every night, I read to my kids. Last year at campaign training, they brought in [some of] the ReadingPals,” Mumford said, speaking of the United Way program designed to prepare pre-school students to learn to read in kindergarten.

Most ReadingPals students are just a year older than Mumford’s oldest son. He recognized that the 30 minutes he spends every night reading to his children is not something all students experience as families juggle multiple jobs and odd hours to make ends meet.

The importance of those 30 minutes translated into six volunteer projects, 106 hours of service and more than 90 percent of local Regency Centers employees committing to give philanthropically to support their community.

This level of engagement can be overwhelming to businesses where time is a precious commodity, but as Regency Centers knows, its about creating a little bit of space for a lot of growth.

“When Regency sets up the framework, it makes it easy. It’s engrained in the culture from senior leadership down,” Mumford said.

Corporate community engagement is a growing and driving force for positive community impact, and Regency Centers is setting a strong example in volunteerism and generosity.

With the dedication of Mumford and other campaign chairs across the city, businesses are finding that making a difference can be accomplished just as easily through serving a breakfast as serving on boards.