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Caught in the Act of Kindness

There are many among us who go above and beyond for others, and with a dramatic increase of those in need during the pandemic, caring and generosity have increased to meet many of those needs. Whether it’s individuals, groups or organizations, below we share some examples of those who were Caught in the Act of Kindness.

For consideration in Caught in the Act of Kindness, email an example of how an individual, group or organization went above and beyond to help those in need to inspireme@ebella.com. If you have a related high-resolution photo, please include that as well.

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Event Chairs Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Bishop, Loren Brown, Ashley Cruz and Head of School Dr. David Watson

Angel Ball Funds Education

Community School of Naples’ Angel Ball 2021 raised over $1 million for the school’s financial aid program. Annually, the school offers over $3,000,000 to students and families who, without these dollars, would not have the means to attend Community School of Naples.

 

At the event, which morphed from black-tie formal into a Florida-casual, food truck-catered gathering in the new John N. Allen Family Stadium this year, CSN alumna Ashley Cruz and CSN senior and champion track star Loren Brown had the opportunity to share how the gift of financial aid changed the trajectory of their lives. 

 

“As a junior, I made a promise to all of you. I stood onstage and said, ‘I will be the first one in my family to attend college.’ Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me fulfill that promise … Because of donors like you, I got to see tears of joy running down my mom’s face as I opened an acceptance letter to every school I applied to … Georgetown, Princeton and Harvard. So thank you. You changed my life. I cannot stress that enough. You changed my life … The person I am today is because of the experiences CSN gave me,” said Cruz, who is completing her freshman year at Harvard.

Current CSN senior and champion track star Loren Brown said, “As a senior, I am still jumping over hurdles — but one of my dreams is now a reality. Next year, I will be attending the University of Chicago and I have signed to be on their track team. Attending CSN has been an opportunity of a lifetime for me and I am grateful for the support I received. Your generosity has made chasing my dreams possible.” 

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Collier Calendar Girls Fundraiser

The Naples Players announced that the “Collier Calendar Girls” calendar launched late last year raised over $54,000 in sales to fight food insecurity in Collier County.

At the opening night celebration for the production of “Calendar Girls,” Brenda Melton, founder of the Celebrity Martini Glass Auction, made a surprise announcement that an additional $50,000 was contributed by sponsors of the auction event that had to be cancelled last year. The sponsors chose to reallocate the funds to help the Collier Calendar Girls’ battle against food insecurity. 
 

The Community Foundation of Collier County also presented The Naples Players with a $10,000 check for its role in supporting the community during COVID-19.

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Addressing Rising Mental Health Needs

David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit behavioral health treatment center serving children, adults and families, received two grants from the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC) to help address the increasing mental health and addiction crisis plaguing Collier residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will improve access to life-saving mental health services and fund a communications campaign.

 

Funds were provided from the CFCC’s “Your Passion. Your Collier” campaign launched this year to address the challenges facing the community, including: mental health and substance abuse; housing and hunger; education and employment; seniors and veterans; environment and accessibility; and crisis and disaster relief.

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Credit: courtesy of Naples Botanical Gardens

Tree Planting Partnership

The Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC) provided a $67,930 grant that resulted in planting trees in partnership with Naples Botanical Garden to create a “Tropical Florida” experience at East Naples Park in advance of the 2021 Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championship. 

Community Garden Project

The Naples Garden Club has awarded the STARability Foundation a $10,000 grant to support a community garden project, a collaborative, multifaceted project among the City of Naples, the River Park Community Center and STARability that centers on revitalizing River Park’s 2,000-square-foot garden. The garden will serve as a vehicle to teach critical life skills to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are enrolled in STARability’s community-based programs.

 

As the garden takes shape, it will also offer at-risk youth enrolled in River Park’s programs a place where they can connect to their environment and continue learning. The garden will also promote inclusion and accessibility for neighboring residents and businesses, as well as the wider downtown Naples community, through educational opportunities, events and other activities.

Naples Heritage Cares

Despite having to cancel its golf tournament and other fundraising activities, the Naples Heritage community presented $15,000 checks to its two designated charities, the Sunshine Kids and the Harry Chapin Food Bank. It also awarded three $2,000 scholarships to deserving employees who will be advancing their education.

“No Show” Gourmet Dinner

The Gourmet Vintner Dinner has grown since its 2014 start to become the perennial event for Neighborhood Health Clinic (NHC), generating most of its annual operating funds. With an abundance of caution, it was necessary to forego the in-person event this year, replacing it with the “No Show” Gourmet Vintner Dinner instead. The alternative event reached within 1% of NHC’s goal of $1 million, funds that will provide services and care for patients for another year.

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Ryann and Ron Cindrich with a British soldier from the evening and Bridgett and Mark Chandley

Night at the Children’s Museum

Golisano Children's Museum of Naples (C’mon) successfully raised over $1 million at its annual fundraiser, “Night at the Museum: The British Invasion.” The sold-out event featured a British theme complete with a James Bond impersonator, martini experience and British soldiers.

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Jewelry for Mother’s Day

The Zonta Club of Bonita Springs-Estero presented more than 575 pieces of costume jewelry to Bonita Springs Elementary School students in time for Mother’s Day. 

 

Single dads were honored, too. The local McDonald’s franchise, Adams Food Group, donated meal certificates to provide a meal for kids to share with their fathers.  

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The League Club members with checks for grants to 23 nonprofits include Judy Eissner, Connie Mockenhaupt, League Club President Maria Arends, Connie Godley and Karen Lutz.

The League Club Invests in the Community

Twenty-three grants totaling $352,569 were awarded to area nonprofits in Collier and Lee counties by The League Club of Naples. These grants will address community needs, including enhancing education for 2,720 students, providing health care and emergency shelter for 1,200 people and combating hunger with 141,042 meals. An additional $48,444 was donated by the organization to the emergency funds of Collier Comes Together Coronavirus Relief Fund, Harry Chapin Food Bank and St. Matthew’s pantry.

Armando Hernandez, Michael Allard, Lisa

Armando Hernandez, Michael Allard, Lisa and Pat Ciniello, Brigadier General Jack Hammond and  Jason Cooper

Health and Wellness of Veterans and Military Families

Home Base SWFL, a local nonprofit founded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and military families impacted by the invisible wounds of war, received a $30,000 donation from Bowling Management Associations, which own and operate six HeadPinz and Bowland Centers throughout Naples, Cape Coral and Fort Myers. The grant will specifically improve access to the supervised exercise, nutrition education, and stress and sleep management skills provided in Lee and Collier counties in collaboration with Lee Health and the Greater Naples YMCA.

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