Foundation awards $7.4 million from Wine Festival to local charities

Greg Kahn/Staff
Barbara Oppenheim, president of the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee, is presented a check for $700,000 by Joan and Bob Clifford during the annual Naples Children & Education Foundation and Naples Winter Wine Festival grant awarding ceremony at the The Old Collier Golf Club in North Naples on March 26, 2012. Trustees of the NCEF and founders of Naples Winter Wine Festival awarded grants to 24 Collier County nonprofit organizations that serve underprivileged and at-risk children.

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Greg Kahn/Staff Barbara Oppenheim, president of the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee, is presented a check for $700,000 by Joan and Bob Clifford during the annual Naples Children & Education Foundation and Naples Winter Wine Festival grant awarding ceremony at the The Old Collier Golf Club in North Naples on March 26, 2012. Trustees of the NCEF and founders of Naples Winter Wine Festival awarded grants to 24 Collier County nonprofit organizations that serve underprivileged and at-risk children.

— The stack of oversized checks handed out Monday by the Naples Children and Education Foundation packed a big punch for two dozen Collier County charities.

The Foundation, which sponsors the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival that attracts vintners and celebrity chefs from around the country, awarded $7.4 million to charities that focus on at-risk and underprivileged youth.

“They don’t make checks big enough to represent the significance of this grant to our organization,” YMCA of the Palms CEO Brandon Dowdy told the crowd beneath a big white event tent at the Old Collier Golf Club.

Gratitude and celebration were the themes as leaders of charity after charity stepped onto the stage to accept their check. The charities’ work runs the gamut, from after-school programs and summer camps to services for child victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Since 2001, the Foundation has raised $107 million and has helped 150,000 children through 37 charities and through its own initiatives such as a children’s dental clinic and mental health services.

This year’s wine festival Fund-A-Need program raised $750,000 to launch “Now You See It,” which aims to deliver vision screenings to 8,000 Collier County students at seven schools in East Naples, Golden Gate and Immokalee.

A partnership between Vision Quest of Florida and nonprofit CHS Healthcare will provide at-school follow-up doctor exams and two pairs of eyeglasses for eligible children: one to keep at school and one to use at home.

“This should be the gold standard in every Florida county,” said Vision Quest CEO Kelly Haynes.

About twice as many organizations apply for the annual grants from the Foundation as are chosen to receive them. The annual awards ceremony is as much a celebration of the community’s charities as it is a celebration of the philanthropic prowess of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, said Bob Clifford, who chaired this year’s wine festival with his wife, Joan.

“This is the day we prayed would be a success – and it is,” he said.

2012 Naples Children and Education Foundation grants:

ABLE Academy $300,000

Boys and Girls Club of Collier County $1 million

Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation $100,000

Catholic Charities $119,000

Children’s Hospital of SW Florida $62,000

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County $484,000

Early Literacy and Learning Model Program $350,000

Friends of Foster Children of SW Florida $350,000

Fun Time Early Childhood Academy $126,000

Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples $200,000

Greater Marco Family YMCA $265,000

Guadalupe Center of Immokalee $700,000

Immokalee Child Care Center $235,000

Immoklaee Housing and Family Services $60,000

Legal Aid for Collier Kids $115,000

Naples Botanical Garden $53,000

Naples Equestrian Challenge $100,000

Redlands Christian Migrant Association $315,000

Shelter for Abused Women and Children $313,000

SW Florida Workforce Development Board $340,000

St. Matthew’s House/St. Matt’s Camps for Kids $25,000

Tutor Corps $76,000

YMCA of the Palms $440,000

Youth Haven $50,000

Strategic Initiative Grants:

Out of School Time Program – Immokalee $300,000

“Now You See It” pediatric vision/prescription eyeglass initiative $750,000

H.U.G.S. (Health Under Guided Systems) mental health initiative $200,000

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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