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Caught in the Act of Kindness - April 2024

Celebrating individuals, groups and organizations that share their time, talent and treasure to meet the needs in our community.


“Discover who you are and use who you are in service to the world.” – Oprah Winfrey

2024 Chairs Ralph and Shelly Stayer at Grant Awards Ceremony_WEB.jpg

2024 Chairs Ralph and Shelly Stayer at Grant Awards Ceremony

The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) presented its 2024 grants, investing a record $33.2 million in more than 50 nonprofit organizations supporting underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. The 2024-2025 NCEF beneficiaries are: ABLE Academy; Avow Kids; Better Together; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast; Boys & Girls Club of Collier County; Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation; Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice; Champions for Learning; Children's Advocacy Center; Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Educational Pathways Academy; First Tee; Fostering Success (formerly Friends of Foster Children Forever); Fun Time Early Childhood Academy; Grace Place for Children & Families; Legal Aid Service of Collier County; Literacy Volunteers of Collier County; MusicScores Violin; Naples Therapeutic Riding Center; NCH; NCH Safe & Healthy Children's Coalition; NCH - Collier CARES; Pace Center for Girls; Special Olympics Florida; St. Matthew's House; STARability Foundation; Taste the Impact; The Salvation Army of Collier County; The Shelter for Abused Women & Children; United Arts Collier; Valerie's House; YMCA of Collier County; and Youth Haven.

DIAD Habitat Group - Yone & Mark Schwab, Beth Stein, Joe Kubarek , Sharon Porcellio, Brad

DIAD Habitat Group - Yone & Mark Schwab, Beth Stein, Joe Kubarek, Sharon Porcellio, Brad Koeneman, Kim Stephens, Bill Hosler, Carol Gafney, Al Girod, Peter Berry, Paul Myerson

A delegation of 12 Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) members and spouses completed a volunteer project for Habitat for Humanity (HFH) as part of their Done-in-a-Day (DIAD) series.

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Friends of Lovers Key (FOLKS) raised $290,000 at its second annual “Beauty & The Beach Gala.” Funding will support extensive repairs and rebuilding of Hurricane Ian destruction as well as stabilize and protect the native plants, animals, and ecosystems of Lovers Key State Park. Via the new funding, children impacted by Hurricane Ian will also receive scholarships for educational summer camps at the park.

Gala Chairs Beverly Fanning, Rufino Hernandez, Ingrid Aielli and Brenda Melton_WEB.jpg

Gala Chairs Beverly Fanning, Rufino Hernandez, Ingrid Aielli and Brenda Melton

Youth Haven’s Starry Nights Gala at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón, raised nearly $2 million, including a $100,000 pledge from Valerie and Arturo Guido to support services for Youth Haven children and teens. Additionally, the Guidos generously made a commitment to underwrite a trip to Disney World for all Youth Haven residents.

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STARability's preliminary concept rendering for Northbrooke site

STARability Foundation received a groundbreaking $5 million leadership gift from Tom Golisano toward STARability’s permanent future home located on Northbrooke Drive in Naples.

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DLC Sound Minds - Jennifer Trammell and Brooke Shields

David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) held its annual signature event, Sound Minds®, featuring actress, best-selling author, model, entrepreneur and mental health advocate Brooke Shields.  The event raised $1.5 million to provide access to care for Collier County children, families and adults, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for services.

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Warrior Homes of Collier dedicated the Patriot Garden Courtyard at the newly opened Delta House to honor donors whose sponsorship of the apartments, benches, commemorative bricks and flagpole helped support its organization. Those honored include: Dick and Ginger Craven; Pati and Phil Frey; Tim and Susan Hearn; Anthony and Anita Petretta; Driftwood Garden Center; Collier Veteran Mentors; Connie Von Zwehl; MCL Lawncare; C&M Asphalt Paving of SWFL; Tony Zollo; Fred and Ann Michaels; Thomas Buckley; Dale and Marie Mullin; John and Jane Kistler; Accurate Pavers; and Jack Fulmer, Golden Gate VFW Post7721.

Event Chairs Matthew Kritis and Jennifer McCurry_WEB.jpg

Event Chairs Matthew Kritis and Jennifer McCurry

The American Cancer Society’s 2024 Bucket List Bash, presented by Dr. Richard and Christine Lublin and chaired by Matthew Kritis and Jennifer McCurry, raised over $1 million, contributing to the continued support of the Collier and Lee County Health Equity Fund to help fund programs related to transportation and lodging grants, as well as increased screening efforts with community partners. 

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Harry Chapin Food Bank received a $350,000 matching grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to support the organization’s Care and Share Senior Feeding Program.

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Home Base Florida Adventure Series Participants

Naples Pickleball Center hosted its annual Veterans Tribute Tournament benefiting Home Base Florida and Warrior Homes of Collier for local veterans and their families. During the event, 24 veterans who participate in Home Base Florida’s Adventure Series program received pickleball lessons from NPC professional staff prior to playing in a special mini-tournament held for them.

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Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties recently held a home dedication for Greg, a U.S. Army veteran and former combat medic, at its Journey Together Neighborhood in the City of Fort Myers. Greg is the first to have a home built in Lee County through Habitat’s new Veterans Build program.

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Through STARability Foundation’s nomination for being a valued vocational partner, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) honored Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (CMON) as an Exceptional Employer. The award recognizes exceptional businesses around the State of Florida who have a proven record of tapping into Florida’s talent pipeline by hiring individuals with unique abilities.

Phyllis Ettinger inspects a CorningWare slow cooker donation at The Dunes_WEB.jpg

Phyllis Ettinger inspects a CorningWare slow cooker donation at The Dunes

Clean Sweep at The Dunes, an annual spring-cleaning campaign for residents of The Dunes, celebrated its eighth year of volunteers collecting and delivering hundreds of high-quality items to support Guadalupe Resale Shop.

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 Please include a related high-resolution photo as well.

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