Gulfshore Business Daily: August 23

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 The Leadership Collier Foundation, in coordination with The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, is now accepting applications for the Class of 2019 Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) program. GAIN is a program specifically designed for emerging leaders and professionals in Collier County of ages 21-40. Participants will learn about local government, charitable organizations, arts, commerce, law enforcement, tourism, education and other local resources. The two-part application process is due by Oct. 26. The program, focused on community education and peer networking, runs from Feb. 19 – April 16, 2019, and includes nine, two-and-a-half-hour sessions, typically from 3-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons. Visit to learn more about the program and to access the two-part application. For more information, contact Amanda Beights at (239) 403-2903 or


Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tiffany Esposito has been awarded a national fellowship to study education and workforce development. The fellowship program is managed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The program received 140 applications from across the country and accepted 35 applicants, including Esposito. Over the course of the next year, Esposito will participate in interactive workshops following the “talent pipeline” from early education to education for adults in the workforce. Workshops will be taught by industry experts and chamber professionals who have brought new policies and changes to their communities.


Lee Board of County Commissioners voted on two items Tuesday to help transport people throughout Lee County during tourist season. The board action will allow Lee County Transit, LeeTran, to apply for two grants to help offset costs of the Fort Myers Beach Tram and the downtown Fort Myers Trolley. Both services run only during the height of tourist season and are operated free of charge to locals and tourists alike. With Tuesday’s approval, LeeTran will request funds from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Transit Service Development Grant. The department is requesting about $1.21 million for operating assistance for the seasonal trolley service in downtown Fort Myers and $998,573 for operating assistance for the Fort Myers Beach Tram. The grant for the downtown Fort Myers Trolley is to be equally matched by the City of Fort Myers. LeeTran will find out if the agency is awarded either grant in summer 2019. FDOT awards funding under the State Transit Service Development Grant Program to projects that improve transit system efficiency, expand ridership and increase revenue. The period of service for which the grant would fund is from October 2019 to September 2022.


The Conservancy of Southwest Florida was honored by the Florida Magazine Association for its work in producing three visual presentations that showcase the organization’s environmental mission. As a not-for-profit environmental protection organization, the Conservancy’s entries were judged against other professional associations. Its three Charlie Awards include Best Advertisement (self-promotional) for Kill the Bill, Best Visitor Publication for the Activity Guide 2017-18 and Best Special Theme or Show Issue (bronze award) for the Estuaries Report Card. The Charlie Awards is an annual journalism and media competition that recognizes professionals that demonstrate excellence in visual arts. The awards were announced in early August at the Florida Media Conference in Orlando. The Conservancy’s Catherine Bergerson, director of communications and marketing; Kate Kintz, graphic design and production manager; and Greg Willette, social media and marketing coordinator; teamed to produce the award-winning work.


Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter of the American Red Cross has selected its board of directors, who began as of July 1, the new fiscal year. Steven Adamczyk of Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross returns as board chair and Jamie Andersen of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management returns as vice chair. Other members include Dr. Harry Alberti, Lee Health; Kevin Boyd, American Legion Post 38; Cathy Lubner, Clive Daniel Home; Marie Grasmeier, Grasmeier Business Services LLC; Peter J. McKenna, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (retired); Thomas Messmore, TE Messmore Associates LLC (retired); Ronald Nordmann, Healthy Concepts Food Co. LLC; Lisa Simington, BNY Mellon Wealth Management; Christopher Spiro, Spiro and Associates; and Connie Weaver, Tracker Group.


The Membership Directors’ Association of Southwest Florida (MDASF) has selected its 2018-19 board of directors. The new appointments are Kathie Pedit, public relations chair; Stephanie Glasco, treasurer; Jennah Liskin, website and communications serving with Danita Osborn, president; Tammy Mercer, secretary; Daniela Jacob, membership chair; and Kristen Yanzer, vice president. The MDASF creates a resource for club marketing/membership professionals in the private club industry in Collier and Lee counties and encourages the advancement of the position by providing educational programs and support. The MDASF currently represents more than 87 golf clubs, country clubs, and yacht clubs.


Taste of Immokalee, a social enterprise created and operated by high school students, has a new line of salsas and sauces inspired by the agriculture of Immokalee. In addition to the newly unveiled Pineapple Mango Salsa and Mandarin Tangerine BBQ sauce, the existing product line has also been enhanced with farm-fresh ingredients, including locally sourced tomatoes by Lipman Produce, North America’s biggest field tomato grower. Taste of Immokalee allocates its profits toward student education and community relief programs.


Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. (SDV) relocated its Southwest office to 851 Fifth Ave. N., Suite 301, Naples, on Aug. 13.  The new office allows for continued growth while remaining in the same Naples community, according to a press release. SDV represents policyholders in insurance coverage disputes. For more information, visit


Charity for Change annual fundraiser returns in November

Charity for Change will celebrate 10 years of business with its annual Giver Challenge fundraiser, “Jammin in the Jungle,” from 6-10 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Quail West Golf and Country Club in Naples. The evening will include live music, an assortment of food, and other festivities. Tickets are $250 for individuals and $2,000 for a table of eight. Premium event sponsors are Home-Tech and FineMark National Bank & Trust. Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more details, contact Karen Conley at (239) 592-6787 or visit

 Preferred Travel announces travel show charity recipient 

Preferred Travel of Naples has selected The Immokalee Foundation as this year’s charity recipient of its annual travel show. Each year, Preferred Travel selects a nonprofit charitable organization to benefit from the event with 100 percent of ticket proceeds donated to the charity. Last year, more than $37,000 was presented to The Founders Fund and to date, Preferred Travel has donated nearly $200,000 to local charities from the show’s proceeds. A $60 donation per person benefits The Immokalee Foundation in providing Pathways to Success through early childhood literacy, career-focused educational programs, college scholarships, and advanced technical/vocational training for hard-working students from Immokalee. The 12th annual travel show will be held next year at Club Pelican Bay in Naples. For more information, call Preferred Travel at (239) 261-1177.

Sip & Sample to benefit Friends of Foster Children Forever

The ninth annual Sip & Sample wine and appetizer event to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at The Village on Venetian Bay. The event benefits Friends of Foster Children Forever (FFCF) mentoring programs for local foster children. The merchants at the Village Shops on Venetian Bay collaborate each year to raise money to benefit foster children in the community. Attendees are asked to purchase a “passport” for the annual event, which will allow them to travel from shop to shop, and restaurant to restaurant enjoying special offers and free tastings. Special promotions and raffles will be provided throughout the evening by all merchants, and all revenues raised will benefit FFCF. There will be a Holiday Tree displaying ornaments with ‘holiday wishes’ from foster children; where each wish may be adopted individually or in groups. Sip & Sample passports may be purchased for $40 per person in advance and $50 on the night of the event at Reservations are suggested. In case of rain, an alternate date has been set for Nov. 16.

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