Santa may have come and gone, but one of his elves made sure Habitat for Humanity of Collier County had a very happy new year.
The organization announced Monday that it has received a $1 million donation from award-winning journalist and local philanthropist Toni Stabile.
The donation will allow 120 families to become homeowners in East Naples, according to the organization.
Lisa Lefkow, executive vice president for development of Habitat for Humanity, confirmed the donation was made in September and is the largest cash donation the Collier County affiliate has received to date.
She said the money will help Habitat for Humanity pay off the purchase of land at 8684 Davis Blvd., which is located near the intersection of Davis Boulevard and Market Street and near Collier Boulevard and that the organization bought in July.
"We paid for the land partly with cash, partly with our line of credit," Lefkow said. "Ms. Stabile's donation will allow us to pay off that line of credit."
The 17 acres will be named Vincent's Acres in memory of Stabile's late brother, Vincent. Vincent Stabile was an engineer and founder of Industrial Retaining Ring Co., which made industrial fasteners used in applications from automobiles to household appliances. After selling the business in 1994, Vincent Stabile devoted his time and resources to numerous causes, including Habitat for Humanity.
Vincent Stabile contributed enough for a village of houses, but without enough available land, the funds were distributed to individual homes.
Toni Stabile, who is best known for her work investigating the cosmetics industry and the negligence of manufacturers who were not required to disclose ingredients on their products, said in a statement that she would like to repeat what Vincent wrote while working with Habitat for Humanity.
"I have the utmost respect for the work Habitat for Humanity is doing. I am proud to be associated with Habitat," Vincent Stabile wrote.
Lefkow called Toni Stabile a "remarkable lady with a remarkable life."
"She is very locally minded," she said. "And her gift is so generous."
Lefkow said Vincent's Acres is a future neighborhood for the organization, adding that Habitat will probably not break ground for about two years.
"We have some permitting and some environmental hurdles to get through before we can break ground."
Habitat for Humanity of Collier County has built an average of 110 homes a year for the last decade. An average of 10 families apply for each home built in Collier Count.
For more information, contact (239) 775-0036 or visit www.habitatcollier.org.