The Naples Children & Education Foundation, the organization that founded the Naples Winter Wine Festival, presented grant checks totaling $5.9 million to organizations supporting underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County, including $200,000 to the Marco Island YMCA.
Twenty children’s charities received $5.3 million in grants, and $603,350 was awarded to several organizations to fund a new behavioral health initiative called Collier H.U.G.S.
“For some organizations, these grants are lifelines to continuing their efforts on behalf of children in need, and for others the funding enables them to expand programs and services,” said NCEF trustee. The Honorable Francis Rooney, who along with his wife Kathleen co-chaired the 2010 festival. “Providing financial support so that hardworking agencies can make a real difference in children’s lives is what the festival is all about,” added Kathleen, who is also an NCEF trustee.
The check presentations, which were combined with a celebration of NCEF’s 10 years of transforming children’s lives, took place April 18 at the Naples Botanical Garden. Attendees included leaders of charitable organizations, festival patrons and volunteers.
“The grant committee was particularly sensitive to the impact the struggling economy is having on children,” said 2010 grant chair and NCEF trustee Anne Welsh McNulty. “The allocation of funds to battle the growing epidemic of family homelessness is just one example.” According to the county’s public schools system, the number of school-aged homeless children has risen from 600 to 900 in the past year. One organization, Youth Haven, was awarded an NCEF grant of $175,000 for its Caring for Families Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.
McNulty also noted that this year NCEF was able to pursue a broader spectrum of solutions for at-risk children by combining NCEF grants with funds from new federal relief programs such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She added, “Charities are responding to the economic downturn by getting leaner and doing more with less. Some are going down the path of independence, having leveraged NCEF funds over the years to make them stronger, more fiscally independent organizations.”
The nonprofits that received the largest grants for the 2010 NCEF grant cycle were the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, which was awarded a $1 million grant for summer programming at its Collier County center and an Immokalee site; and Guadalupe Center of Immokalee, which received $750,000 for its early childhood education programs and after-school and summer programming.
Following is a complete list of organizations that received NCEF grants for 2010:
Able Academy $125,000
Boys & Girls Club of Collier County $1,000,000
Catholic Charities $110,000
Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida $125,000
Collier Child Care Resources $150,000
Collier County Child Advocacy Center/CPT $460,000
Eden Florida $125,000
Early Learning and Literacy Model Program $350,000
Foster Care Council $245,000
Fun Time Early Childhood Academy $105,000
Guadalupe Center of Immokalee $750,000
Immokalee Child Care Center $175,000
Immokalee Housing & Family Services $145,000
Marco Island YMCA $200,000
Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) $295,000
Shelter for Abused Women & Children $305,000
St. Matt’s Kids Camps $25,000
Tutor Corps $70,000
YMCA of the Palms $385,000
Youth Haven $175,000
Collier H.U.G.S. (Health Under Guided Systems) $603,350