Community Foundation of Collier County for good forever

by Eileen Connolly-Keesler President/CEO

by Eileen Connolly-Keesler

The colorful carved wooden “Welcome to Naples” signs, surrounded by lush greenery, beautifully landscaped medians, architecturally striking businesses and luxurious homes are your first clues that Naples, Florida is an affluent community set in a tropical paradise. But these gorgeous surroundings can be deceiving, representing a fragment of the residents that live in this seaside community. Statistics for poverty levels and teen pregnancy may surprise you and are the reality for the many women and girls in Collier County. The Women’s Foundation of Collier County, a fund at the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC), is focused on the needs of local at-risk women and girls and serves their current and changing needs through grantmaking,

One third of female headed households in Collier County live in poverty. Particularly at risk of poverty and homelessness are the 12,769 women aged 65 and over who are living alone. Many of these senior women, who have lived middle class lives, are now living on fixed incomes and are facing rising rent costs. Last year, the Women’s Foundation awarded $40,000 in grants to St. Matthew’s House and JFCS Senior Center to help fund their programs for recovering women at Justin’s Place and senior
outreach and support programs for at-risk seniors.

Teen pregnancy is the number one indicator of future poverty. Collier County had the highest teen birth rate in 2015 in the state with a birth rate of 39/1000 for girls age 15-19. Twenty-five percent of these moms have a second child within 24 months
and less than two percent will earn a college degree by age 30. The Junior Women of Initiative Program promotes education and staying in school through a partnership between the Women’s Foundation of Collier County and the Boys and Girls Club of
Collier County which provides at-risk teens with mentors and educational activities during a 10-week leadership program.

How can you help support local women and girls? Make a donation to the Women’s Foundation of Collier County to help support their mission. You can choose to support a grant or consider a planned gift to the Endowment Fund. When you invest in providing support and opportunity to women and girls in Collier County, you invest in the prosperity and the future of
our community.

You can also help by attending the Women’s Foundation of Collier County event, The Power of the Purse, which will be held
on Friday, December 2, 2016, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at The Ritz- Carlton, Naples Beach Resort. Guest speaker, Elizabeth Smart,
will tell the personal story of her abduction at age 14, and discuss overcoming extreme adversity, the process of recovery, and not allowing your past to dictate your life’s future.c

You can make a difference. For more information, visit


The Power of the Purse
When: Friday, December 2nd
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach Resort
Guest Speaker, Elizabeth Smart

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