The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) in March invested nearly $16 million in the future generation of Collier County.
This funding included grants totaling $12.7 million to 43 local nonprofit organizations that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of children, including five multi-year strategic initiatives that fill fundamental gaps in children’s services, and $3.2 million toward a fund for future projects and strategic initiatives.
The annual Grant Awards Ceremony was made possible by the highly successful Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) Live Auction in January. The awards ceremony brought together Trustees and staff of NCEF, the founding organization of the NWWF, one of the world’s most prestigious charity wine auctions, along with volunteers and other invited guests at the Bay Colony Golf Club.
“We are proud to support these vital programs and organizations which benefit thousands of underprivileged and at-risk children throughout Collier County,” said Paul Hills, 2019 NCEF Grant Committee Chair. “We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the 2019 Naples Winter Wine Festival. Every dollar that is raised under the tent of our Live Auction goes right back into the community, helping change the lives of the County’s most vulnerable children.”
This year, the number of grant recipients grew to 35, along with eight other agencies that help fill critical needs in our community by taking part in five of NCEF’s seven multi-partner, multi-year strategic initiatives which also received funding.
The Fund a Need, supporting Children’s Mental Health, received nearly $1.4 million this year. This initiative will aim to fundamentally transform and expand mental health care for at-risk children through an innovative coalition of healthcare providers, community mental health professionals, social services and the public school system. Under NCEF’s leadership, David Lawrence Center, Florida State University College of Medicine, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida and National Alliance on Mental Illness have collaborated to reduce and eliminate duplication of services, maximize resources, and increase the availability of high quality, best-practice approaches.
This innovative and ground-breaking coalition has created Collier County’s first integrated care system, an organized coordination of primary and behavioral healthcare.
“By proactively engaging in strategic partnerships with local nonprofits, colleges and universities, and other foundations, NCEF is filling the significant gaps in services for at-risk children and their families in Collier County,” said NCEF CEO Maria Jimenez-Lara. “Our focus on early learning, afterschool, dental and medical health care will help to build a healthier community in the future.”
This year’s Wine Festival also enabled NCEF to allocate $3.2 million into a fund for future projects and strategic initiatives. This funding will ensure NCEF has an adequate amount of funding should there be a year of additional needs and support that are not covered by the Festival proceeds.