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Caught in the Act of Kindness - May 2024

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


“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”  ~ Harold S. Kushner


When a local book connoisseur was unable to attend a highly anticipated author signing event at Fort Myers bookstore Blinking Owl Books due to an unforeseen hardship, the store owner, Lucile Perkins-Wagel, did something most would not; she packaged up the books from the event, signed and personalized by the authors themselves, and mailed the surprise package to the woman with this handwritten note: “I’ve had numerous moments in my life where someone doing something unexpectedly kind for me was just the thing I needed to not feel really, really sad, so I hope these books can do that for you.” We love her!

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With more than 700 guests in attendance, Naples Botanical Garden celebrated its 20th Annual Hats in the Garden, raising over $4 million, including $2.5 million that event chair Barbie Hills and the Sustaining Leadership Council will dedicate to supporting the event’s Fund-a-Need focus: preparation of the Garden's 90-acre Preserve for future enhancements. The Fund-a-Need amount includes a generous pledge of $1 million made by Jerri and Dave Hoffmann of the Hoffmann Family of Companies.

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Auction Gala selfie with Johnny Bench


The Bobby Nichols-Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation concluded its 22nd Annual Nichols Cup tournaments and gala, “Dare to Dream: Helping Kids Dream Again,” raising nearly $1.8 million to benefit local children’s charities.

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Golfers at Bonita Bay's Annual Purpose in Paradise Charity Golf Tournament.

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Kevin Toner received the Best Dressed Gentleman award at the Kentucky Derby Gala.

Bonita Bay Club’s 3rd Annual Purpose in Paradise Charity Golf Tournament and the Bonita Bay Kentucky Derby Gala raised $641,440 to add dedicated cancer rehabilitation services to the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Cancer Clinic at the Bonita Health Center.

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Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs donated its first-ever dog trained for crisis care to the Naples Police Department. Max, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, will assist in comforting children and adults in crisis situations. He was officially turned over to his handler, Master Officer Jeffrey Perry, during a special “Hand-Off” Ceremony held at the Ken & Susan Meyer Center for Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs.

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Fostering Success raised a record-breaking $630,000 at its 25th Anniversary Gala, themed “A Splash of Silver.” The funds support valuable, life-changing programs for foster children throughout Southwest Florida.

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Fun Time Early Childhood Academy (FTA) was awarded a grant of $170,000 by the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF). A portion of the grant will be allocated toward teacher salaries, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the growth and development of these young learners, along with renovating the kitchen facilities at the recently acquired Santa Barbara Boulevard location. This grant award follows another significant contribution from NCEF, where it granted $275,000 in a separate initiative to expand FTA services to additional children including establishing new locations at Poinciana Elementary and Golden Gate High School.

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Pan-Florida Challenge hosted its 2024 Pan-Florida Challenge Ride with over 100 participating riders coming from across the U.S. The event raised more than $200,000, which will go directly to supporting Pan-Florida Challenge’s mission to fund cancer prevention research and education programs while providing cancer-fighting food to undernourished children across the state of Florida.

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When a patron at the Everglades Rod & Gun Club had a medical event, nursing school student Melody Kidder quickly assessed the situation and immediately began CPR until the ambulance arrived. Kidder’s quick actions to help the patron, who may not have survived otherwise, earned her the “You are Our Hero” award from the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District.

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Lee BIA Builders Care’s 13th annual BBQ, Bands & Brew fundraising event raised more than $96,000 to support the nonprofit in its mission to provide emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and/or disabled homeowners, and their families, who cannot obtain repairs through traditional means.

St. John’s Outreach Chair Ruth Conklin, Avow Chief Philanthropy Officer Annalise Smith, St

St. John’s Outreach Chair Ruth Conklin, Avow Chief Philanthropy Officer Annalise Smith, St. John’s Rector Fr. Joseph F. Maiocco III

As part of a matching gift campaign with St. John’s Episcopal Church, Avow Foundation received more than $37,700 in support of the Avow Kids program for children’s grief and loss support.

Red Sox players – catcher Connor Wong, pitcher Brennan Bernardino and left fielder Tyler O

Red Sox players – catcher Connor Wong, pitcher Brennan Bernardino and left fielder Tyler O’Neill – participated in a Players Panel moderated by Red Sox broadcaster Tom Caron.

Evening at the Ballpark, a fundraising event for Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County, hosted nearly 175 supporters and baseball fans to an exclusive season preview of the Boston Red Sox and raised $67,000 to support its After-school Program and Summer Enrichment Program.

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Lee Health Cancer Institute Fashion show model Rose Euzebe

The Lee Health Cancer Institute Fashion Show and Luncheon raised nearly $61,000 to benefit the Lee Health Cancer Institute. Lee Health recognized individuals who have made significant contributions to cancer care in Southwest Florida by offering unwavering support to individuals undergoing cancer treatments: Lisa Emma, Angel Award; Amy Burge and Steve Barroso, Guardian Award; Dr. Arie Dosoretz, Phoenix Award; and Tea Cart volunteers Jane Balfour, Connie Martinez and Nancy Roberts, Big Heart Award.

Dale Mullin, a retired Vietnam veteran and founder of Warrior Homes of Collier, stands alo

Dale Mullin, a retired Vietnam veteran and founder of Warrior Homes of Collier, stands alongside The League Club President Mary Ann Lillie.

The League Club, a local women’s philanthropy group, donated $20,000 to Warrior Homes of Collier in support of stable housing and support services for veterans in need.

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The Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center received the generous renewal of a $10,000 grant from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, which will be used in support of the museum’s “Student and Teacher Education on the Lessons of the Holocaust” program.

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The Southwest Florida Symphony was awarded a $7,500 grant from Suncoast Credit Union to support a free interactive performance by the symphony for more than 1,600 elementary school students.

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For the Love of Cats, a non-profit rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of cats and kittens in Collier County, hosted a community cat food distribution event that collected more than 4,500 pounds of food to benefit at least 400 community cats.

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Wolly The Green Monster Visits the Home Base Champions Reception

Home Base Florida’s mission was celebrated at a Red Sox spring training game presented by Suffolk and Suffolk Cares. For this event, the Red Sox Foundation donated more than 150 tickets to Home Base Florida Veterans and their families to participate in the evening’s activities, which included a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk onto the field during the pregame ceremony where their selfless sacrifice was recognized and applauded.

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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