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The Community Foundation of Collier County, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Florida Gulf Coast University and Conservancy of Southwest Florida, formalized a three-year partnership to align community resources in an effort to address issues related to the region’s changing climate.

The founding group, Growing Climate Solutions – Path to Positive Southwest Florida, will work to build a coalition of residents across key community sectors, including health, education, faith, business and the environment. The goal is to engage stakeholders through educational- and awareness-building efforts and to provide research and information that will lead to local climate solutions to sustain our communities.

The partnership is an outgrowth of climate change survey results released in February. Since then, $840,000 in philanthropic support has been donated toward a fundraising goal of $1.2 million. The partnership will hire a community engagement coordinator to oversee education and outreach efforts to engage more participants.

The coalition is partnering with ecoAmerica, a national climate leadership organization, to serve in an advisory role and help the coalition build education and outreach programs. A leadership gift from The Kapnick Foundation was also instrumental in funding this initiative.


The Regional Career Fair, held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 1 at Alico Arena, has sold out. Coordinated by CareerSource Southwest Florida and sponsored by Lee Health and Arthrex, the event features more than 70 area employers.

Unemployment in Southwest Florida is at record lows, according to a press release, and experts predict a labor shortage. Educational Institutions, government, community-based organizations and businesses working together in providing a regional approach to career opportunities to the residents of Southwest Florida.

At the career fair, job seekers from all over Southwest Florida have an opportunity to talk face-to-face with area recruiters from a variety of industries regarding hundreds of job vacancies. For more information, visit


Edward V. Staros has been nominated for Hotels Magazine’s Hotelier of the World award for 2019. Staros is one of four nominees within the “independent” category.

As one of the founding fathers of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. LLC, Staros was an instrumental figure in creating the Gold Standards for The Ritz-Carlton. Throughout his 36-year tenure, Staros has held numerous positions in the company, including serving as the company’s first regional vice president before being appointed to vice president of worldwide operations for The Ritz-Carlton brand, where he remained for seven years.

As vice president and managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples since is departure from headquarters in 1999, Staros has since managed major projects for the hotel, including the development of a The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

Staros sits on various advisory boards at Florida Gulf Coast University and is founding sponsor of the Naples Winter Wine Festival and honorary trustee of the event. 

The winners of the Hotelier of the World awards will be announced in November 2019 and are determined by subscribed reader votes of Hotels Magazine. Voting is now open until June 2019, and readers can cast their ballot by visiting

Gary Aubuchon, Jeff Miloff


Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group is celebrating 20 years of business. Developed by Jeff Miloff and Gary Aubuchon, Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group has consistently ranked as the No. 1 independent real estate firm in Cape Coral, a press release states. They also rank in the top five in Lee County.

Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group is part of the Aubuchon Team of Cos. The team includes Aubuchon Homes; Evalutions by Aubuchon; and Omni One Title. The main office is located at 4707 SE Ninth Place in Cape Coral. It is also home to a Mortgage One and a McGriff Insurance Services office.

Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group recently expanded into Fort Myers, opening a new office location at 15661 San Carlos Blvd. They also serve customers across southern Lee County from their Estero Sales Center located at 19976 S. Tamiami Trail.

Tracey Galloway, CEO of Community Cooperative, Jeff and Nancy Maddy Rising Star Volunteer Honorees and Rachel Mays, Volunteer Services Coordinator at Community Cooperative


Community Cooperative honored hundreds of its volunteers at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception at The Crowne Plaza in Fort Myers and awarded a select group of standout volunteers with an annual award.

The 2019 award recipients are Volunteer of the Year, Juan Rodriguez; Rising Star, Jeff and Nancy Maddy and Roger Owsley; Volunteer Groups of the Year, Suncoast Credit Union and Southwest Florida Church of Christ; Meals on Wheels Driver of the Year, Brenda Allen; and Volunteer Spirit Award, Charlie Wallach and Eric Marker.

Meals on Wheels delivery volunteers drove more than 183,000 miles last year, delivering meals to homebound elderly clients, while Community Café volunteers prepared and served nearly 350,000 freshly prepared meals. Community Cooperative had more than 3,000 dedicated volunteers who donated over 41,000 hours of their time. 

Dr. Aysegul Timur


Florida College Access Network (FCAN) is honoring best practices in that area with its first-ever Workforce Education Innovator Awards.

The 2019 Workforce Education Innovators are: Dr. Aysegul Timur, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives, strategy and program innovation, Florida Gulf Coast University; Chris Laney, director of education and community investment, CareerSource Suncoast; and Teri Jones, executive director, Macedonia Education Technology and Career Academy.

The Workforce Education Innovator Award winners were nominated by their peers and selected through a competitive process. They will be honored at a special awards luncheon on May 8 at Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, as part of the 2019 FCAN Summit. For more information, visit


Civil rights activist and Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Rotary of Fort Myers South Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet, held from 7-9 p.m. on May 15 at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers.

Smith and fellow Olympian John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists in a protest salute on the medal stand after the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, as captured by photographer John Dominis. Smith and Carlos were ejected from the stadium and banned from international competition, effectively ending their careers as track athletes. They later received honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, where they competed collegiately, and won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN.

The 33rd annual event recognizes top athletes from area high schools based on athletic and academic achievement, along with strength of character. Eighteen Lee County-area high schools each nominated one top male and one top female varsity letter winner.

A selection committee of Rotary South members interviews nominees and selects the winners. For more information about the event, contact Rob Scharlau at (239) 810-2554 or      


Jeffrey Flores, Noemi Y. Perez, Ofelia Carrillo

Preferred Travel event benefits The Immokalee Foundation

The Immokalee Foundation recently received a $26,100 donation from Preferred Travel of Naples, which selected the foundation to benefit from its annual travel event.

More than 450 guests attended “The Dazzling World of Travel” at the Club Pelican Bay. It marked the 12th year of this event, which to date has added $200,000 to the programs of nonprofit organizations.

The donation will specifically benefit The Immokalee Foundation’s travel fund. Most Immokalee Foundation students receive scholarships to colleges in Florida, but many receive full scholarships to out-of-state schools. The new travel scholarship fund will help those students heading farther away with expenses such as travel home for holidays or even warm winter clothing for those who are experiencing northern winters for the first time.

Clean Machine Car Wash supports Easter Seals Academy of Naples

Clean Machine Car Wash recently held a customer appreciation day and teamed up with Easter Seals Academy of Naples to help the organization raise funds.

As part of its ongoing mission to support local nonprofits and provide customers with a token of appreciation for their business, Clean Machine provided free hot dogs and drinks for customers at its Naples location on a recent Saturday. Easter Seals Academy helped conduct the event by grilling and serving food and drinks and offering to vacuum for tips. In addition, Clean Machine Car Wash donated 20 percent of single-wash sales to the organization. The event raised a total of $1,372 to benefit the school.

Easter Seals Academy of Naples provides academics, job-readiness training and life-skills training for students in middle and high school (ages 11-22) who have autism and/or development disabilities. 

Clean Machine is committed to supporting the local community, veterans, and first responders. Nonprofit organizations interested in partnering with the car wash should visit the fundraising page of the website for more information.

Jennifer’s Boutique Honors Moms by Collecting Gifts for Meals on Wheels Clients

In recognition of Mother’s Day, Jennifer’s boutique is collecting gifts for Community Cooperative’s Meals on Wheels clients.

More than 200 women who are homebound and cannot shop or cook for themselves receive daily home-delivered meals and a safety and security check from Meals on Wheels. Last year, Jennifer’s collected Mother’s Day gifts for more than 170 Meals on Wheels clients.

Suggested gifts include socks with no-slip grips, large print word searches, back scratchers, hand lotion, handkerchiefs, window light catchers, mini nail-care sets, silk flowers, or any small gift appropriate for a grandmother. Please do not purchase perfume, makeup, chocolates or candy. 

As a thank you, Jennifer will give each donor a $25 gift certificate to the boutique. Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at Jennifer’s by May 8.

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