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Caught in the Act of Kindness - July 2021

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


"I think we forget sometimes how blessed we are to be able to help others and make a difference!" – Gautam Rode

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
If you have a related high-resolution photo, please include that as well.

This year, due to the pandemic, the annual Empty Bowls Naples major fundraising event held in January was cancelled. However, funds for the $120,000 grant were raised thanks to the many generous sponsors, donors, Friends of Empty Bowls, boutiques sales at their warehouse and a community of artists and volunteer painters. The grants were awarded to the following local nonprofit organizations, which directly distribute food to those in need in Collier and Lee counties:

• Community Cooperative, Inc.

• Meals of Hope

• New Hope Ministries

• Midwest Food Bank

• Our Daily Bread Food Pantry

• Shelter for Abused Women & Children

• St. Matthew’s House

• St. Vincent de Paul of Naples, District Council, Inc.

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Ida Margolis, June Tarter, Linda Pearson, President Dr. Sharon Henry-Woodby, Barbara Haman and Susie Mehas

Zonta Club of Naples presented awards totaling $30,000 at its 6th Annual Sparkle Dinner to the following charities: PACE Center for Girls, The Shelter for Abused Women & Children, Teenage Parenting Programs (Naples & Immokalee), Path2Freedom, Meals of Hope, Youth Haven, Dreamcatchers and the Golden Gate Senior Center.

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Angela Katz, interim executive director, with Joe Webb, president of Duffy's Sports Grill


Duffy’s Foundation awarded $5,000 to Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their potential. Duffy’s Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Duffy’s Sports Grill. LARC offers vocational training, community residential services and other state-of-the-art community inclusion services on a full-time, year-round basis and operates two residential group homes.

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Charles Weinrich and Ashley Gegenwarth

The Wellington Group at Morgan Stanley volunteered at the Grace Place Food Pantry to help families in need in Collier County by meeting the basic need for nourishment and health, which are essential for strong mental and physical development. Grace Place for Children & Families puts faith into action, providing pathways out of poverty by educating children and families through their various programs.

Fifth Third Bank presented Youth Haven, Inc. with a $7,500 grant to support Youth Haven’s Food & Nutrition Program. Youth Haven is Southwest Florida’s only residential shelter for children and teens ages 6-19 removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or homelessness. Their programming addresses the trauma experienced and helps them heal by providing them with innovative therapies, normalizing experiences and therapeutic environments that assist with their healing journey.


Volunteers planting a tree


Growing Climate Solutions, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Collier County, OneTree and Robbie’s Trees Fund, recently hosted a tree planting event at the Whitaker Woods neighborhood in Naples, helping spread climate-friendly trees and provide shade to affordable housing developments in Southwest Florida. Thirty black olive trees were planted to shade the sidewalk encircling a 3-acre lake inside Whitaker Woods, a 30-acre Habitat community that features 125 townhomes.

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David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) received a $75,000 grant from the Clark Family Foundation, Inc. to fund children’s community mental health treatment and prevention education. The grant will fund community-based, mental health treatment in settings where managing their emotions and behaviors are most difficult, such as in the home or at school. A portion of the grant will help provide at-risk families served in the Community Services programs with basic living essentials – such as food, clothing and school supplies – necessary to have safe, stable living conditions and maintain a successful treatment experience.

Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation awarded David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) a $250,000 grant to expand mental health access, care coordination and wellness services. The grant will expand the clinical team at both DLC’s Main Campus Immokalee locations. Treatment funds will support wellness services such as music therapy, personalized fitness, nutritional education and art therapy provided in the children’s crisis stabilization unit and the partial hospitalization program.

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Check presentation to Goodwill Industries


United Way of Collier and the Keys has announced grants that focus on helping working families. Nearly $370,000 will be invested in providing early-childhood education, after-school programs and summer camps for children. More than $338,000 will be invested in nonprofits that offer food, housing, transportation and emergency utilities assistance. Six programs will receive more than $80,000 to ensure access to quality medical care, eye exams, prescriptions and mental health services. A grant of $37,500 will help working families when they need civil legal services: protecting them from unscrupulous employers and illegal evictions as well as offering them advice and counsel to successfully launch small businesses.

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Bocce event host Judie Kupperman presents check to MS Center Executive Director Kay Jasso

Because of the pandemic, the MS Center of Southwest Florida was not able to have their annual gala, from which they would normally raise about 60% of our annual revenue. They appealed to their supporters and asked them to consider hosting a small fundraising event with their circle of friends to help replace the lost revenue. Judie and Charles Kupperman stepped up and threw a “last spring fling” bocce competition, where they, their friends and neighbors in the Esplanade community raised $9,100.


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