Andi Jacobs Recognized as a Lightning Community Hero Award Winner

January 12, 2020

TampaBay-JobLinks designated as beneficiary of the $50,000 grant

Event Date: December 17, 2019

Pictured left to right Lightning hockey player Kevin Shattenkirk, Andi Jacobs, and Jeff Vinik

TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 5, 2020 – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Andi Jacobs as the 17th Lightning Community Hero of the 2019-2020 season on December 17, 2019 during the Lightning hockey game against the Ottawa Senators. Jacobs was nominated in advance and won this competitive award for making a positive impact on others. At the event, she was presented with a $50,000 check on her behalf to benefit the charity of her choice. A founding board chairperson of TampaBay-Job-Links, Jacobs selected Job-Links as the recipient non-profit of the Hero award grant from the Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation. Funds will be used by Job-Links to help support the ten-year-old non-profit’s One-on-One Career Coaching Programs.

Job-Links is also honoring Jacobs, who has touched so many lives, by naming its cornerstone job-search and career coaching program the Andi Jacobs Job-Links 1:1 Coaching Program. In addition to receiving the $50,000 Community Hero award money, a Job-Links donor has matched the Lightning grant dollar-for-dollar to recognize Andi’s accomplishments.

After seeing first-hand, the devasting consequences on people that Jacobs personally knew who were affected by high unemployment in 2010, she realized that, as an individual, she could do something impactful to help people rebuild their self-esteem and retool their skills to get back to work. With an extensive career in marketing, Jacobs decided to lend her support to TBJL in 2010, a newly formed grass-roots organization provided networking services to individuals to help them during the unemployment crisis of the Great Recession.

When she joined Job-Links, Jacobs was amazed to find that, unlike most major U.S., Canadian, and Israeli cities, Tampa did not have any non-profit organizations offering comprehensive services addressing unemployment as well as the emotional and financial well-being of those whose lives were devastated by unexpected job loss. After convening a task force of volunteers to research Jewish Vocational Service agencies and programs around the country, Jacobs worked tirelessly to put together a comprehensive, holistic vocational program that would address multiple aspects of unemployment, helping individuals to find jobs and to build their sense of worth and self-esteem. She wanted to create a model that would serve the Tampa Bay community during the 2010 crisis and well into the future.

In 2011, Jacobs became the founding board chair of the Job-Links Board of Directors. For the last nine years, she has volunteered 25 to 30 hours a week writing job descriptions, interviewing, and hiring staff, marketing to the community, fundraising, and working with Executive Director Sheila Solomon Rudd to develop programming. As a result, over 785 individuals have received services through Job-Links, and 85+% of those enrolled in TBJL 1:1 Coaching Programs have found jobs.

“Jacobs’ understated, thoughtful leadership style and her commitment to empowering and improving the lives of people in the Tampa Bay community serve as an inspiration and role model to everyone she encounters,” said Solomon Rudd. “We are so grateful to Andi, for giving us the opportunity for the public recognition of Job-Links accomplishments at the December Lightning game, especially as Job-Links enters its tenth year,” said Solomon Rudd.

In 2019, Jacobs was instrumental in launching pitot programs collaborating with Academy Prep of Tampa, Autism Shifts, and the Lighthouse of Pinellas. “Job-Links envisions a future in which Job-Links can help all segments of the community face employment transitions with confidence and support through self-development. By collaborating other non-profits, Job-Links high-quality services can help more job seekers develop job-search and career management skills, leading to employment and self-sufficiency,” said Jacobs.

In addition to contributing over 12,000 volunteer hours to Job-Links, Jacobs is also a Guardian Ad Litem. Jacobs spends over 20 hours a month advocating for neglected children in the foster care system. She works to give foster children a sense of stability, meeting regularly with case management teams to ensure that the children receive all the services they need.

Jacobs became the 385th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. As of the December 17th game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $19.25 million to more than 750 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Viniks announced that the Community Hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.

TampaBay-Job-Links is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and supportive community where people gain relevant job-search and career transition skills. Professional career strategists work with job seekers as they navigate through their career transition. Job-Links also assists employers by providing qualified candidates and offers outplacement services. The nonprofit was established in 2011 and is a member of the Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies. For more information about TampaBay-Job-Links, visit or call 813-344-0200.

Click HERE to download the PDF version of the press release.

Read the Tampa Bay Lightning press release HERE.

View the Lightning Community Hero award video HERE.

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