Assisting others creates a ripple effect, setting up a probable pay-it-forward paradigm. In Southwest Florida, many companies routinely set an example for their employees, and the entire community, of this kind of philanthropic mindset and action. Some local companies even let employees and customers decide which agencies should be the recipients of their corporate giving.
“My grandparents, Don and Anne Wynn, taught us the importance of helping those in need, and we are proud to continue that tradition,” says Michael Wynn, president of Naples-based Sunshine Ace Hardware. That’s a family tradition that touches many people, continuing to reach far beyond its initial space and time.
Many of these thoughtful acts of kindness are performed quietly behind the scenes, not intended to be publicized. When people are passionate about giving, it comes from the heart. It’s personal. “A community is defined by how it cares for those in need,” says attorney P.J. Scheiner of associates & Bruce L. Scheiner, a family-run law firm based in Fort Myers.
The Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—remains a good rule of thumb, even in a world that may seem to be growing colder and crueler. It’s even more important during times such as these; we need these moral, mental, physical and financial boosts now more than ever.
So many worthwhile agencies and organizations exist in Southwest Florida that rely on generous gifts, whether they be in the form of time, talent or treasure from the local community.
After an extended time of social distancing, events are starting to provide venue dates again for people to meet face to face. For instance, the annual fashion show fundraiser for Baby Basics of Collier County is back with an in-person event this month after going virtual in 2020. The 14th annual event Nov. 5 will be emceed by Lois Thome of WINK News. But the show could not go on without the generous support of businesses such as Audi Naples, Realtor Kelly E. Capolino, Cummings & Lockwood LLC, John R. Wood Properties, Sellstate Island Properties, Synovus Bank and Vantage Private Wealth.
“It was important to our mission to welcome our family of supporters in person this year, despite the ongoing pandemic. We want everyone to know how hard we are working to ensure that we can celebrate together safely and comfortably,” says Jean Ann Lynch, president of Baby Basics, which provides free diapers on a monthly basis to low-income, working families. Last year, the organization celebrated a milestone: delivering 10 million diapers for babies in Southwest Florida. That’s a cause for celebration, and representative of many great causes and benefactors throughout our community.
In a month when we give thanks, we have assembled some examples of Southwest Florida companies that care. We know there are many others, of course. Thanks for making a difference.
GOLDSTEIN, BUCKLEY, CECHMAN, RICE& PURTZ
For nearly 60 years, Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz’s attorneys and staff have been actively involved in the communities where they live and work, contributing funds, in-kind donations and sponsorships to area nonprofit organizations benefiting primarily veterans, children and animals. They donate dog and cat food to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, clothing to veterans organizations, toys for Toys for Tots and school supplies and other donations as needs are identified.
Last summer, the Bay Pines VA Health System presented a certificate of appreciation in recognition of donations made by the firm throughout the year to homeless veterans. The firm is the title sponsor of MADD of Southwest Florida’s annual walk Like MADD fundraiser. The firm’s attorneys often volunteer to judge and mentor high school students participating in the Lee County Bar Association mock trial competition.
Partner Andrea Smith volunteers with the Florida Association for Women Lawyers FAWL in Love with GAL program, which pairs female lawyers with older children in the foster care system. She also acts as a child advocate for children through Guardian ad Litem.
NORMAN LOVE CONFECTIONS
Norman Love Confections shares its sweet success by giving back to the Southwest Florida community in a variety of ways. As a family-owned company, it participates in a wide range of charitable giving efforts that touch the lives of people right here in Southwest Florida.
In addition to giving in-kind products to more than 200 local non-profit organizations for events and fundraisers, Norman Love, company founder, is involved as a board member and donor for the Gulf Coast Humane Society. He also supports Barbara’s Friends, Heights Foundation and Valerie’s House, to name just a few. Mary Love also donates her time at mobile food pantries for Community Cooperative.
Norman Love Confections has sponsored a Habitat for Humanity home in Lee County. As a sponsor, Norman Love Confections donated funds for the home build, as well as volunteer labor for the construction of a new home for a single father and his young child in San Carlos Park. They were joined by dozens of employees to construct and raise the exterior and interior walls of the new home. Nine months later, they welcomed the homeowner home during a special ceremony.
This year, the Loves joined Frontline Foods to provide sweet rewards. Norman Love Confections and FineMark National Bank &Trust gifted a four-piece box of decadent artisan chocolates from Norman Love Confections to all 4,500 nurses at Lee Health during national Nurses’ Week. Additionally, Mary and Norman Love stopped by the hospital on Easter Day, to provide treats to the employees. Quite frequently, Norman will host patients of Golisano Children’s Hospital for special treat days, making sundaes and sharing smiles.
From health care to the homeless and hungry, each cause is special and personal to the Love family.
IRON RIDGE INSURANCE SERVICES
Iron Ridge Insurance Services, a boutique independent agency headquartered in Fort Myers, is showing a commitment to its team and the community by supporting those in need again this year. Rather than making a corporate contribution to just one or two nonprofits on behalf of the organization, Iron Ridge annually asks each team member to identify a cause to support with a $500 gift from the company. The result in 2021 was $5,000 in donations made to worthy initiatives in July, as well as a team invested in the organization and in the community at large.
“As Iron Ridge grows, so does our ability to help others,” says Norman Lutz, Iron Ridge CEO. “Last year, as a team of five, we made $2,500 in total contributions to five nonprofits, and it was outstanding to have everyone so invested in the process. Since then, we’ve doubled in size, so twice as many causes will benefit from everyone’s passion and dedication.”
Donations were provided to Child Care of Southwest Florida for the Community Children’s Center, the Coral Gables Community Foundation for the Surfside Hardship Fund, Faces of Courage Foundation, the Fort Myers Police Department Community Outreach Against Child Hunger program, Hoops on Mission Lee County, Humane Society Naples, IMAG History & Science Center, Meals on Wheels of East Pasco, Midwest Food Bank and Pickup the Ball Inc.
Established in 2011, Iron Ridge Insurance Services is committed to serving the community by providing innovative commercial insurance solutions. It serves commercial clients in a variety of fields, but specializes in managing risk for architects and engineers, physicians and medical practices, condominium and homeowners’ associations and legal providers.
“We all have causes that are important to us, and we want to make sure that everyone at Iron Ridge has the opportunity to place support where their passion lies,” says Lutz. “Whether it’s emergency relief, early childhood education and care, fighting food insecurity, youth mentoring, empowering people with cancer or contributing to animal welfare, each of these donations will make a difference, and we have our team to thank for that.”
In Southwest Florida, Enterprise is awarding about $42,000 in grants to local nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters Suncoast and Florida Youth-Shine, to address social and racial equity gaps facing local youth and families. The local grant is part of Enterprise Holdings’ ROAD Forward initiative, a five-year, $55 million commitment to drive change in communities across three key areas: early childhood development, youth health and wellness and career and college preparation.
Grant recipients were selected from hundreds of nominations by Enterprise employees, and will benefit individuals such as a young woman in Tallahassee who is relentlessly advocating for public policy changes to improve Florida’s foster care system. She’s partnering with Florida Youth SHINE, a youth-run, peer-driven nonprofit organization that’s changing the culture of Florida child welfare.
This young woman is a former foster child herself, and found her voice through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, which is focused on one-to-one mentoring relationships with at-risk children throughout the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Many Southwest Florida organizations have benefited from Enterprise Holdings’ ROAD Forward commitment. The initiative focusing on Respect, Opportunity, Achievement and Diversity for youth and families benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters Suncoast ($3,000); Florida Youth-Shine ($4,000); 100 Black Men of SW Florida ($5,000); AMI Kids Inc. ($5,000); Earn to Learn FL Inc. ($5,000); Girls Inc. of Sarasota ($5,000); Guadalupe Center ($5,000); Pace Center for Girls ($5,000); and Step Up Suncoast Inc. ($5,000).
Lee Health’s team members have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept through the world, claiming the lives of millions. They have worked countless hours caring for those who needed it most as they selflessly gave back to the community through the excellent care they provided. They are heroes in every sense of the word.
Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, Lee Health immediately took action. The healthcare system set up dedicated COVID-19 units within its hospitals to care for those who contracted the virus, and launched a mobile testing site for members of the community. To keep the region informed, Lee Health began releasing COVID-19 updates daily through the local media and its social media channels.
When COVID-19 vaccinations gained Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, Lee Health opened a Community Vaccination Clinic where the public could get vaccinated at no cost. Additionally, Golisano Children’s Hospital created the Mobile Pediatric Vaccination Clinic to increase vaccine availability for children in Southwest Florida, reaching families that might not have otherwise been able to receive a vaccination due to transportation and other factors.
Early in the COVID-19 fight, the Lee Health Outreach Team quickly pivoted to offer community health education classes and virtual support groups. Their efforts equate to an investment of $59.1 million worth of health outreach directly into the community.
HUMPHREY ROSAL ARCHITECTS
The contributions by Humphrey Rosal Architects (HRA) for Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) date back to the 1990s. When a partner of the company’s son was born with autism, they began learning more about NTRC’s services and how therapeutic riding could help him with tactile sensitivity and low muscle tone. When he started riding in 2004, contributing to NTRC became not just a corporate goal, it became a family way of life—eventually leading to partner Randy Rosal serving on the board of directors.
NTRC has grown significantly over the past 24 years, and HRA has contributed to that growth through financial contributions, as well asmany hours in professional services and volunteering. It has donated architectural services including master planning, conceptual design, renderings, design development, construction documents, permitting and construction administration. For the most recent $4 million expansion, HRA contributed 400 hours of professional service.
Today, HRA is assisting with NTRC’s current expansion, which includes adding paddock space on the newly acquired property to the south of its campus, an expansion of its existing barn, a new riding arena and administrative office—which, when completed, will provide a state-of-the-art backdrop to continue and grow its mission.
“NTRC’s programs have helped our son work through many of his issues in manners impossible to quantify. But it wasn’t just what they have done for our son; it has been all the other families and individuals with disabilities positively impacted by NTRC that have inspired us to continue help through the years,” says Randy Rosal. “The value of HRA’s in-kind donations would pale in comparison to the value NTRC adds to our community. That’s we do it gladly.”
INTEGRITY EMPLOYEE LEASING INC.
Over the past year, Integrity Employee Leasing Inc. joined community partners in providing a Southwest Florida veteran with a safe, remodeled home in Charlotte County. The national professional employer organization based in Punta Gorda worked with Peace River Community Housing Partners to remodel a two-bedroom home provided to the nonprofit by Charlotte County. The home had sustained extensive damage caused by a water leak, which warped flooring in the kitchen and dining area, and needed new appliances and exterior paint.
Peace River Community Housing Partners is a community land trust dedicated to the development of safe, functional, affordable and sustainable housing in Charlotte County. The organization strives to provide homes that will remain permanently affordable for generations of lower-income working families, veterans, people fleeing domestic violence or human trafficking people experiencing homelessness and the community’s most vulnerable populations.
Integrity Employee Leasing and its team members additionally worked with another Punta Gorda-based business, A Family Repair, to purchase and install wood flooring throughout much of the home. They are passionate about helping children and families, and most certainly veterans.
ANDREW HILL INVESTMENT ADVISORS
In keeping with the firm’s socially responsible investing mission, the team at Andrew Hill Investment Advisors participates in a variety of community causes and provides personal and corporate financial contributions in support of a dozen local nonprofit organizations. Andy Hill, president and co-founder, also serves on the Big Cypress Basin Board, confirmed by Florida Senate, advocating for solutions to improving our water quality.
The firm has geared its top holdings toward companies focused on climate change and pollution issues, as well as those that approach transportation and energy production in responsible ways. Hill has been a guest lecturer in FGCU’s business school, and has also donated a classroom to The Water School. Each year, Hill’s firm holds an annual event in which it donates to various local charities, and last year the firm underwrote the work of a graduate student from The Water School.
He’s also a catch-and-release saltwater fisherman who drives an electric car and is currently installing solar panels on the roof of his home. Hill believes that as more Americans integrate sustainability practices into their lifestyles, investors have an opportunity to experience positive returns while having a positive, long-term impact on society, environment and the performance of a business.
Giving back is a core value for Priority Marketing. A full-service marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing agency, Priority Marketing is passionate about supporting local nonprofit organizations and charitable causes by offering a discounted nonprofit rate, or donating its services.
Priority Marketing has donated $3 million for in-kind professional services to local nonprofit organizations over the past 29 years. These efforts have positively affected more than 200 mission-driven organizations by developing comprehensive campaigns to help reach desired goals, including driving awareness, generating donations, attracting volunteers and earning well-deserved publicity.
In the past year, Priority Marketing’s pro-bono, discounted and in-kind support totaled more than $467,000 to further the marketing efforts of nearly 30 nonprofits including Kids’ Minds Matter, Community Cooperative, Pace Center for Girls, Guadalupe Center and more. The company also supported the nonprofit community through donations and sponsorships totaling more than $11,000 in the past year.
In addition to pro bono professional services, Priority Marketing’s team members have volunteered more than 140 hours and contributed to numerous donation collections of toys, books, food and clothing to benefit various causes. Priority Marketing is also a United Way Pacesetter with 100% of its team donating personally through payroll deductions.
PBS Contractors has been a steadfast supporter for David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) since 2008. In addition to financial contributions and multiple event sponsorships, PBS Contractors encourages employees to get involved through volunteerism and leadership roles led by the example of owner Russell Budd. Budd is a steadfast mental health advocate and currently serves as the president of the DLC board of directors. In addition, his team members serve on the DLC Young Executives Board and as fundraising event committee members furthering their company’s impact on the DLC mission. Passionate about not only raising funds for DLC’s life-saving programs, but spreading awareness and fighting stigma often associated with mental health and addiction, PBS most recently sponsored DLC’s signature event, the 2021 Sound Minds Luncheon, which featured actor, director and mental health advocate SeanAstin as the keynote speaker.
MARK LOREN DESIGNS
Since 1985, Mark Loren and Mark Loren Designs have been supporting the community through donations of time and treasure. In the last year,the company has donated between $80,000 and $100,000 in jewelry and in-kind services.
“We tend to direct our giving to child-related organizations,” Loren says, noting Mark Loren Designs was selected 2009 Small Business Philanthropist of the year by Gulfshore Life magazine.“It’s very much part of what we do and who we are.”
Some of the many organizations helped in the past year with mentoring programs, sponsorships and donations included Big Brothers Big Sisters (Loren is on the board), Barbara’s Friends, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Club, Southwest Florida Children’s Charities, Bobby Nichols Charity Golf Classic and the Heights Foundation.
For example, for the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest to benefit Southwest Florida Children’s Charities, he donated a private VIP Wine and Charcuterie party for two couples. The auction lot included a meet-and-greet with world renowned gem dealers Simon and Laurie Watt, plus wine and two $2,500 gift certificates.
While Loren closed his retail operation for a month during COVID, his staff hand-made 200 sterling silver and diamond necklaces that were given to families hit hard by the pandemic in a drive-thru Mother’s Day gift distribution.
Recognizing the healing she experienced from yoga, Lindsay Smith opened Vibe Yoga in Fort Myers in May 2021. Since opening, she has donated more than $14,000 in products and services to schools, area nonprofits and the community, with more planned.
In addition, Smith encourages and pays the studio’s yoga instructors to plan a free “karma” yoga session for the charity of their choice once a quarter. One karma class, Puppies and Poses, raised more than $1,000 for Doghouse Rescue Academy.
In addition, Smith is committed to providing trauma-informed yoga for the military, first responders and anyone needing help with anxiety and stress. She is one of two instructors south of Tampa certified by Warriors at Ease to lead the trauma-informed sessions, which are free for active and veteran military and first responders. She also offers free drop-in, 30-minute guided meditation sessions weekly for the community.
“I am a mom of four with another on the way, a military spouse and very passionate about being involved in our community,” Smith says. “During my yoga training, I began to realize how yoga benefits everyone, but especially the military population, first responders and individuals with trauma. Helping these groups soon became my number one passion.”
Doing what’s right is Entech’s top core value. Over the course of 20-plus years, supporting the community has consistently been a mission of the IT managed services provider. The company was established with the belief that if you do good business, good things will happen to you. “It’s about legacy and touching the lives of our people and our community. It’s about creating a vision or a ‘why’ and seeing it through. Our ‘why’ is to enable people to do what matters, and we’re so committed to it that everybody who works here is a part of it,” says Jake Spanberger, president of Entech.
This foundation helped the company develop meaningful relationships in the community throughout the years. Entech partners with more than 25 nonprofits throughout Southwest Florida, offering them reduced-cost services and participating in their fundraising events. The company has committed to give $300,000 back to the community by the end of 2022. Entech’s employees have also logged more than 250 hours of volunteer work over the past couple of years.
“Our hard work has enabled us to do our part to make our community a better place. It has allowed us to partner with great organizations and nonprofits so they can make the world a better place. I like to think that we play a role in helping them achieve their mission, and play a role in their success,” Spanberger says.
CREIGHTON CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
As communities across the country struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, generous employees of Creighton Construction & Development began delivering acts of kindness to support local frontline medical staff and first responders, as well as restaurants, families and others in need. Founder Dan Creighton’s team members have carried out acts of kindness to support their communities.
To date, Creighton and the CCD associates have together aided more than 3,300 people through the #CreightonCares challenge, contributing funds out of their own pockets to organize and execute these special projects. Members of the CCD team have been making waves delivering meals, funds and kind acts to others in their communities, and also challenging local business partners to join them in their efforts. More than a dozen #CreightonCares projects have been completed to date.
Beyond the #CreightonCares challenge, Creighton Construction & Development is an active community supporter, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to support many organizations and causes. The generosity of the company and its leadership supports dozens of local organizations, including the Bobby Holloway Jr. Memorial Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Lee County, Hope Hospice, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island, SWFL Children’s Charities Inc., Wounded Veterans Relief Fund and many more.
To show its support for those who have generously served our country, CCD hosts an annual fishing tournament for its staff, clients and project partners that raises funds to benefit the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund. As a supporter of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, CCD has served as title sponsor for the organization’s Law and Order Ball every year since the event was started seven years ago. This gala event honors the law enforcement agencies and officers who go above and beyond the call of duty, and all proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South Foundation.
FORT MYERS BREWING CO.
A dedicated advocate for many nonprofits and local causes, Fort Myers Brewing Company’s passion for the community shines brightly. Over the years, the brewery has connected with many of the area’s leading charities to host fundraisers or support them with donations. Additionally, it has given cash contributions to support organizations including Valerie’s House, Captains for Clean Water, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS), Ronald McDonald House, American Cancer Society, Special Equestrians, Ding Darling Tarpon Tournament and many more.
The brewery hosts a monthly Pups & Pints benefiting GCHS, and also recently partnered with comedian Zane Lamprey to debut a special beer release of Pup-Arazzi Pils to raise funds for GCHS. In addition to supporting charitable organizations, Fort Myers Brewing is also passionate about rallying around families who need a helping hand, and recently hosted a benefit that raised funds and support for a Gateway family battling breast cancer.
Fort Myers Brewing regularly sponsors many community events, including the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s networking events, Florida Public Relations Association’s Image Awards, Junior League Spring Fling and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association. Co-owner Jen Whyte also serves on the board of directors for GCHS and Greater Fort Myers Chamber and is a member of South Fort Myers High’s Jobs for Florida Graduates program.
EDISON NATIONAL BANK
With nearly 25 years in business and a longstanding commitment to the community, Edison National Bank/Bank of the Islands has dispersed millions to support more than 100 nonprofits. Recent sponsorships totaling more than $50,000 benefited United Way, Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, C.R.O.W., Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, Pace Center for Girls, Dress for Success SW Florida, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Additionally, with dog-friendly banking locations and a passion for rescue pet adoption, Edison National Bank was proud to sponsor the Clear the Shelters campaign in 2021 for the third consecutive year.
To support the island communities, the company’s “We Love Our Islands” program selects a participating customer each week to choose an island nonprofit that will receive the bank’s donation.
In 2021, the company will surpass the $90,000 mark of funds raised to date in support of more than 35 island nonprofits.
Bank leadership and staff are known for their community involvement, and generously volunteer more than 650 hours of their personal time annually to local causes. Additionally, banker volunteers and their families come together each year to clean Sanibel beaches as part of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’ sCoastal Cleanup.
Edison National Bank CEO Geoff Roepstorff is a committed environmentalist, and as part of the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Team, he regularly helps remove invasive pythons from the region. He recently volunteered with the 2021 Python Challenge event.
Waterside Shops helps raise more than $300,000 annually to support local charities through onsite events and live auction packages. Its annual Easter egg hunt raises more than $15,000 for STARability Foundation, and the Mother’s Day event provides more than $10,000 to the Women’s Foundation of Collier County. Waterside Shops also hosts an annual brunch for the Naples Children & Education Foundation to honor volunteers from the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
More than $100,000 is raised from product donations to live auction packages and exclusive gifts. In 2021, benefiting organizations included Guadalupe Center, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Naples Senior Center, Champions for Learning and the Shelter for Abused Women and Children.
Waterside Shops encourages staff to serve the community through volunteer efforts and board service. General Manager Anne Fleming serves as vice chair of the Women’s Foundation of Collier County and a board member for STARability Foundation, and is a graduate of Greater Naples Leadership. Other Waterside Shops executives serve at Grace Place for Children and Families, Champions for Learning, Leadership Collier Foundation and the Pelican Bay Services Division.
In 2020, Waterside Shops was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals –Collier-Lee Chapter as the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization of the Year.
SUNSHINE ACE HARDWARE
Since its founding in 1958, Sunshine Ace has supported numerous charitable causes and nonprofit organizations across Southwest Florida, including Hope for Haiti, Children’s Miracle Network, Coastal Conservation Association Florida and others. Last year, the Naples-based company designated Children’s Miracle Network as its “primary charity partner,” allowing Sunshine Ace to focus its fundraising efforts through a year-round campaign that supports Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Sunshine Ace, which has 10 core values, including “care for your neighbor,” contributed $95,000 during the year to help provide comfort, treatment and hope to sick children on Florida’s west coast.
Sunshine Ace Hardware raised $3,800 during its three-day Children’s Miracle Network Blue Bucket Days campaign to help provide life-changing medical care for children across the region. Customers were able to purchase a limited-edition, blue 5-gallon bucket for a $5 donation, and in return, they received a 20% discount on nearly everything they could fit inside the bucket. Customers purchased 760 buckets from Aug. 6-8 across the company’s stores in Bonita Springs, Bradenton, Golden Gate, Largo, Marco Island, Naples, Port Charlotte and San Carlos Park.
“I can’t think of a better cause to support than world-class health care for children in our area,” says president Michael Wynn. “Each time we host a fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network, our generous customers always open their hearts and rise to the challenge, and the Blue Bucket Days campaign was no different.”
Sunshine Ace Hardware, in partnership with Leadership Collier, also donated a shipment of YETI coolers to aid Naples-based Hope for Haiti’s goal of increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine within the island nation. The donation included seven large YETI coolers and 10 smaller YETI coolers, which will be used to store vaccines from the time doses arrive in Port-au-Prince until they are airlifted to the Les Cayes region and ultimately administered to residents.
“A huge part of our COVID vaccine response was figuring out how to get them to the remote locations where we work at the proper temperature,” says Yvette Ebb, Hope for Haiti’s gift-in-kind director. “Many of these locations don thave electricity, so maintaining them at the required temperature was a huge logistical concern. We knew from past experience that YETI coolers were great at keeping things cold for long periods of time.”
Once Haiti’s vaccination program ends, Ebb said the YETI coolers will continue being used as a health care necessity for years to come. “Countless lives will be saved because of their support,” she says.
SANIBEL CAPTIVA COMMUNITY BANK
Employee engagement, benefits and culture are key components of what sets Sanibel Captiva Community Bank apart. The bank invests in its team members both professionally and personally. Employees are encouraged to pursue professional growth and success, which helps improve the bank and contribute positively to the workplace culture. The bank puts forth consistent efforts to ensure employees are involved, heard and connected.
For the fourth consecutive year, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s board of directors and executive management team rewarded employees with a bonus from the bank’s savings under the federal tax law. The bonus was issued in recognition of employees’ hard work and dedication to the bank’s continued success. All employees, except for the executive management team, were eligible and included in the bonus.
“We recognize the success of our bank is dependent on the exceptional work of our employees,” says John Wright, executive vice president, CFO and COO. “Our employees champion the bank every day and help determine the rate of our success. We want to take every opportunity to show them how appreciated and valued they are.”
Among all 110 employees at the bank’s eight Lee County branches, the average tenure is five years. Nearly 50% of employees have been with the bank five or more years; 21% have been employed for 10 or more years; and seven employees have been with the bank since it opened in 2003.
Employees recognize there are career growth opportunities within the bank, which contributes to low employee turnover. When bank shares become available, the board of directors and executive management offer those shares to employees. As a result, more than 40% of employees are current shareholders.
GOLISANO’S CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
To raise awareness about the challenges of childhood cancer and treatment side effects, Barbara’s Friends—Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s cancer program—established Clips for Cancer. In 2020, 35 adult leaders stepped up to shave and raise money at Clips for Cancer, which has grown from a one-day event with a few participants to a month-long celebration of childhood cancer patients and survivors by the community. Clips for Cancer has raised nearly $300,000 in the past three years to assist families during their child’s cancer treatment.
Each Friday in September, shaves were hosted on Facebook Live from Great Clips salons. Other events included a special 9/11 Heroes shave featuring representatives from multiple fire departments and law enforcement agencies, and a Haircuts Helping Heroes Block Party during the seventh anniversary celebration of Bruno’s of Brooklyn Italian eatery.
Established in 1995, Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children from across Southwest Florida at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The pediatric hematology/oncology program is the only program of its kind in Southwest Florida and has served more than 10,000 patients since opening. No child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care. Barbara’s Friends provides access to resources for families including transportation, gas cards for families to get to and from treatment, meals for parents when a child is staying overnight and more.
ASSOCIATES & BRUCE L. SCHEINER
Fort Myers-based Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner, attorneys for the injured, has joined forces with several local organizations to provide clothing, supplies and words of inspiration to teen mothers in the community. A donation drive was held across the firm and the community to help gather necessities, and the giveaway was held at the Lee Adolescent Mothers Program (LAMP), where the mothers attend school. Seventeen mothers attended the event and received gift bags containing diapers, wipes, personal care items, baby soap, lotion and other essentials, as well as being able to select outfits for their children. Paws Crossed, Uplift and One More Child also participated in this project.
Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner understands the good that happens when members of a community help each other. “These young mothers and their children have faced tremendous challenges and hardships. By lending a helping hand to those less fortunate than us, we are working to build a stronger foundation for a community that empowers the success of even the most disadvantaged,” says attorney P.J. Scheiner.
The Lee Adolescent Mothers Program is a Title 1 school whose mission is to provide a nurturing academic environment for teenage parents and their children. Teenagers who attend LAMP can continue their middle and high school education, receive training on coping with the added stress of having a baby and learn how to take care of and raise their children. This year, 16 teenage mothers will graduate and move forward with their lives.
Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner was foundedin 1971 by Bruce L. Scheiner and his wife, Cheryl Scheiner. Both continue to work alongside their son, P.J., who joined the firm as a trial attorney in 2007.
PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS
Publix Super Markets Charities Inc. has awarded a $45,000 grant to Habitat Collier to help underwrite a significant portion of construction costs for a family’s home in Immokalee. The charitable arm of the regional grocer has partnered with the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity for nearly 25 years to support the construction of affordable homes in Collier County. This most recent grant brings its total investment in affordable homeownership opportunities to $1.2 million over the life of the partnership. The home that the latest grant helped make possible was completed earlier this year, and the new homeowners signed their mortgage closing documents this summer. This Habitat home marks the 16th that Publix has helped fund in Collier County.
OFFSHORE SAILING SCHOOL
Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School’s philanthropic efforts in the past 10 years have generated more than $175,000 to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society find the cures for blood cancers. The company also supports several other charitable, artistic and community organizations where its employees live, work and play.
Since 2012, Offshore Sailing School has been a corporate sponsor for the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk and Go Red for Women campaign. Doris Colgate is a legacy Go Red for Women member; Steve Colgate is a legacy member of the Red Tie Society—helping to raise money for the Go Red for Women initiative to save women’s lives.
Their school provides a full range of sailing and boating instruction with U.S. Sailing & Powerboating certification—from beginning sailing to racing, advanced cruising and passage making—at six locations in Florida and the British Virgin Islands.
TRINITY COMMERCIAL GROUP
Estero-based Trinity Commercial Group is committed to supporting and giving back to the local community, annually planning quarterly events to support local charities in Lee and Collier counties. Its team-building events expose employees to a variety of charities and their missions. Through Trinity Commercial Group’s TCG Cares program, the commercial real estate firm’s staff recently spent a midsummer day working with Habitat for Humanity of Collier County at its new Vincent Acres project off Davis Boulevard in East Naples. In all, 14 TCG team members spent the day painting, caulking and cleaning up the exterior around houses to help facilitate upcoming moves for the lucky recipients of a new home. More than 56 hours were donated to this endeavor during a fulfilling day giving back to the community.
OFDC COMMERCIAL INTERIORS
Nearly five decades after its founding in 1974, OFDC Commercial Interiors continues as a quiet supporter of community causes. Most recently, the furniture solutions company donated $5,000 to Kids’ Minds Matter so more Southwest Florida children would have access to pediatric mental and behavioral health programs. OFDC often provides in-kind donations, such as a complete home office as an auction item to benefit FGCU Athletics or new office furniture for Pace Center for Girls, Lee County. Founder and CEO Joe Gammonshas served on numerous community boards, and gladly sponsors fundraising events such as FGCU Athletics’ golf tournament and the Sam Galloway Jr. & Friends Soup Kitchen Benefit for Community Cooperative.
HENDERSON, FRANKLIN, STARNES & HOLT, P.A.
The Fort Myers law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., supports the United Way by hosting annual Pacesetter Campaigns to raise money for its local community outreach organizations. Last year the campaign raised more than $32,000.
Henderson Franklin Director of Information Technology Darren Wallace was elected to the 2021-2022 board of directors for United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties. Wallace will join Henderson Franklin attorney Robert Shearman, who serves as immediate past chair, and be on the board that will allocate the funds raised for the 2022 fiscal year.
LSI COMPANIES INC.
LSI Companies Inc. has donated $40,000 to Hope Healthcare’s “More Hope” campaign for hospice care. Last fall, Hope launched the campaign to help replace funds lost due to the pandemic and to canceled fundraising events that generate critical funding for hospice services. Through the support of LSI Companies and donations from nearly 500 other patrons, the “More Hope” campaign is nearly halfway to its $500,000 goal. Additional campaign donors include Big 8 BBQ, Case Pearlman, Edison National Bank, Florida Blue/Brown & Brown Insurance, Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida, McGriff Insurance Services, Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright & Co. P.A., The Sanibel Captiva Trust Co., Walmart and William E. Cross Foundation.