Philanthropy in all its forms — corporate, family, professional and next-generation — was the focus of the local celebration of National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 14, as the Association of Fundraising Professionals- Everglades Chapter paid tribute to individuals and organizations throughout Collier County.
“Philanthropy is so powerful and inspiring precisely because it is voluntary,” said Paul Seifert, president-elect of the AFP Everglades Chapter. “All our honorees — through the goodness of their hearts, through their need to connect and through their desire to see a better world — have come together to improve the quality of life for their neighbors.”
Honorees included IBERIABANK, Outstanding Philanthropic Organization; Dr. Louis J. Traina, EdD, Fundraising Executive of the Year; Ashleigh Baker, Outstanding Philanthropic Youth; and the Smith Family, Outstanding Philanthropists.
Through its investment in the community, its encouragement of employee volunteerism, its “I Give Back” outreach efforts and its free “In the Round and Health Plus” lecture series, IBERIABANK proves its commitment to helping the community flourish. This year, bank employees donated more than 695 hours of time and gifted more than $200,000 to support Collier County charities.
“It was a true honor for our company to be recognized in this manner,” said David Gordley, Market President for IBERIABANK. “We are fortunate to have so many associates who give of their time and talent to numerous local non-profit organizations. We’re only as strong as the community we serve, and we are pleased to do our part to invest right here in Naples.”
Anne Frazier, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, praised the bank’s contributions to the community. “
As a recipient of IBERIABANK philanthropic work, we have experienced first-hand the impact this company and its employees have on our youth,” she said. “They truly enjoy making a difference in Southwest Florida, and we are a stronger community because of them.”
Dr. Louis Traina, EdD
Traina, executive director of The Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida Foundation, is widely known community leadership in support of education, healthcare, and philanthropy. He has led major campaigns including those that brought about the naming of Hodges University, The Kenneth Oscar Johnson School of Business, the Nichols School of Professional Studies, the Fisher School of Technology, the Francis Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning and the Lavern Norris Gaynor President’s Chair.
“We are living at a time when interplay trends in philanthropic growth, medical research, and technology are awakening a new generation of philanthropic giving,” Traina said. “This is the kind of giving that can transform societies, eliminate diseases, sustain healthcare for the poor all within our lifetime.”
He credited the Naples Children Education Foundation for their vision and strategic initiatives in children’s oral health, healthcare, and mental health.
Traina has also shared his expertise and talent while serving on the boards of the AFP, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Leadership Foundation, The Village School of Naples and The Forum Club, among many others.
The Byron Smith Family
Jeannie and Christopher Byron Smith, Vicky and David Byron Smith, and Mary and Stephen Byron Smith were selected as Outstanding Philanthropists for their work with Naples Botanical Garden, the Naples Historical Society and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Each husband-and-wife team and family collectively have shared their wealth, wisdom and energy to build these nonprofits into organizations that have great meaning and importance in the community.
“The Byron Smith family is a remarkable group of strategic philanthropists. All three Byron Smith brothers and their spouses who reside in Naples care deeply about the causes they invest in,” says Rob Moher, CEO of the Conservancy. “They provide not just financial support, but are generous with their time and in acting as ambassadors for their chosen organizations.”
The Byron Smiths have invested not only in the expansion of these organizations’ facilities, but have also invested in that essential but often neglected aspect of philanthropy – the day-to-day support, year after year, that keeps the doors open and the lights on.
When her First Baptist Church youth group went to Immokalee for a service project, Ashleigh Baker noticed that many of the
children she encountered did not have shoes. An avid runner, she decided to organize a 5K race called ‘Run for Immokalee’ and asked everyone
who participated to pay for their entrance fee by bringing a pair of children’s shoes. The race was such a success that she has made it an annual event.
“I read this book called ‘Take Your Best Shot, Do Something Bigger Than Yourself,’ by Austin Gutwein, and it really inspired me to do this,” Ashleigh said. “God gave us this perfect gift of life, so I want to give that back.”