THE AVOW FOUNDATION dynamic and focused

Melissa Phillips V.P. Philanthropy/Avow Foundation

There are several definitions for a foundation but the most common is that it provides load bearing support and stability for structures. In other words the basis or groundwork in support of “what’s above.”  This portrayal represents the work of the Avow Foundation, the cornerstone of financial support to Avow Hospice, complimentary therapies, adult and children’s palliative care and bereavement services.

Avow Foundation’s recent Butterfly Ball specifically focused on raising resources for complimentary therapies such as music and massage. There is no charge for these services and gratitude is expressed for the therapists who provide a diversion from the usual medically focused day. Family members state that this gift is as important to them as it is to their loved ones as it brings peace and comfort to the entire family.

MELISSA PHILLIPS, the Vice President of Philanthropy/Avow Foundation has had a long and successful career in philanthropic endeavors and Major Gift planning. She prides herself in working on behalf of others in a quiet and many times off the radar way. With a Masters in Social Work, Melissa believes in extending a hand up and advocating for other. She has also built a team of professionals who share her vision and mission. Each member has a particular focus but everyone works in tandem to reach the Foundation’s yearly goals, which equates to expanding services. Melissa is happy to discuss the Foundation’s expansion by contacting her at

SABRINA KELLY BENNETT – Development Officer and Retail Operations takes the lead in overseeing the operations of “Treasures,” Avow’s
re-sale shop. With a career in luxury retail management she has used her skills to raise the profile of Treasures in the community. She has contributed a strategic plan for growth and development with this and other Foundation projects.

SANDRA LEE BUXTON – Director of Donor Relations is involved with current donors as well as introducing the Avow Foundation to those who may be new to the community. With a series of Friendraisers planned the goal is to educate Naples to the many services that Avow has to offer, not just the well known Hospice. With a background in healthcare, she can address the medical side of patients needs while introducing ways to leave a legacy. sandra,

RICK LOCASTRO – Senior Director of Development is a retired Air Force Colonel and leads our “We Honor Veterans” program. He is
working with veterans in the community to share this important story and represents the Foundation as a guest speaker at group events. With Rick’s combination of fundraising and healthcare expertise his goal is to continue expanding Avow’s role with the veterans community. He meets with veterans on a regular basis to ensure that their input is incorporated into the overall plan.

SALLY WILSON – Annual Giving Officer is an expert in raising funds and event implementation. She has thus far taken the lead on several major “friend” and fundraisers ensuring that all Foundation goals were met and the experience for guests was positive. Her main focus is to obtain resources so that Avow’s mission is carried out ensuring all patients receive needed and necessary service.

Melissa states that there will be increased Foundation visibility within the community as  educational presentation regarding Avow’s extensive
programs as well as other topics of interests are scheduled. Tours of the large beautiful campus are conducted by all team members and they love
showcasing the Lyon Center for Palliative Care, one of the few in the country. The Foundation has numerous naming opportunities as well as the option of purchasing a memorial brick for a loved one or a dear pet. Contact Kim Gorniak at 239.649.3685 to make arrangements for this service.

The Avow Foundation is now recruiting volunteers for non-medical roles including work in our re-sale shop. To make a donation of material goods for Treasures or to volunteer, call Brittni Brown-Cooper at 239.351.3683. To speak to any Foundation member call, 239.261.4404 and ask for them by name.

1 reply
  1. bill Robertson
    bill Robertson says:

    I just about finished email to you & it vanished, concerned 1017 OCTOBER FLIGHT & my guardian Susan Jones, one of my best days of my 98 years. Sure hope you received it.


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