Gulfshore Business Daily: December 18

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Brenda O'Connor


Gulf Coast Medical Center has been named a “Top Teaching Hospital” nationally by The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization focused on health care quality and safety. Over 2,100 hospitals were considered for a Top Hospital Award, and Gulf Coast Medical Center is one of just 120 hospitals in the country to earn this recognition. The hospital is one of three top teaching hospitals in Florida and the only Leapfrog top hospital in Southwest Florida. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, practices for safer surgery and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors. The Top Hospital Award comes on the heels of Gulf Coast Medical Center’s “A” Hospital Safety Grade earlier this year. The Leapfrog Group issues their safety grades twice per year, and all Lee Health adult hospitals earned straight A’s on both 2019 report cards. To see the full list of institutions honored as 2019 Top Hospitals, visit



The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners on Dec. 11 approved an amendment to the One Allure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Rebate Agreement to extend the construction start date to July 1, 2020. The CRA Board approved the original TIF Agreement in September 2016. One Allure—a 15-floor, 24-unit tower that will serve as a boutique condominium—was selected to receive $3.17 million in TIF rebate over a 13-year period. The developer, Cedar River at Fort Myers II LLC, the residential development brand of JAXI CMD LLC, requested that the construction start date be extended six months, from its original start date of Dec. 31. At this time, Cedar River has spent over $1.5 million in the pre-development work. The One Allure site is located east of the downtown core on the First Street waterfront.



The NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival has released the list of national and community leaders speaking at its State of the Community Summit on March 3, 2020, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. The program, hosted in partnership with the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, will focus on three topics of children’s services in Collier County: child advocacy, early learning and education, and pediatric healthcare. Speakers will include Christine Greider, retired 20th Judicial Circuit Judge – Unified Family Court; Richard LeBer, president and CEO, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida; Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Collier County Sheriff’s Office; Susan Block, CEO, Early Leaning Coalition of SWFL; Dr. Kamela Patton, superintendent, Collier County Public School System; Dr. Phil Poekert, director, Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida; Dr. Eduardo Alfonso, chairman of ophthalmology and director, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute; Scott Burgess, president/CEO, David Lawrence Center; and Armando Llechu, chief administrative officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital. Guest moderators will include Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO, Teach for America; and Dr. Thomas Shanley, president and CEO, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and former chairman of the department of pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. For more details or reservations, visit



Opera Naples Executive Director Timothy Todd Simmons will leave the opera company on Jan. 10 to return to his hometown in New Orleans to assume a leadership position in a new theater project. Effective on Jan. 2, Sondra Quinn will become the acting executive director of Opera Naples. These changes will not affect Opera Naples’ operations in any way, according to a press release. Quinn has 30-plus years’ experience in the arts and culture arena, with 17 years as a CEO. She served as founding president/CEO of Naples Botanical Garden, president/CEO of Orlando Science Center, and interim executive director of the Capital Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C. In 2015, she was selected as a Woman of Initiative in Naples.  She is a member of Greater Naples Leadership and currently serves on the Women’s Foundation of Collier County Board of Directors.


Brenda O’Connor


Youth Haven Inc. has appointed Brenda O’Connor as president of its board of directors, effective November 2019. O’Connor fills the role previously held by Chief Stephanie Spell of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. O’Connor is the Executive Director of Membership at the Naples Yacht Club. She has also served as Youth Haven’s past president of the board of directors and is currently a Soiree of the Season committee member, Youth Haven’s signature fundraising event that will be held on Feb. 1, 2020. For more information, visit



Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. (MNMW) was named as one of America’s top recommended tax and accounting firms for 2020 by Forbes Magazine and Statista Inc. Only 10 firms in the state of Florida were selected and MNMW is one of only 115 featured in the accounting category nationally. Forbes Magazine worked with Statista Inc. to create this inaugural list through a survey process of recommendations from 1,800 tax and accounting/business professionals. To view the full list, visit


Sandi and Tom Moran

Charitable notes

Morans pledge $1.5 million toward new Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center

Naples philanthropists Sandi and Tom Moran have committed $1.5 million in support of the new Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center at the corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and First Avenue South. The Morans have been longtime supporters of excellence in the arts. Sandi Moran is a producer for such Broadway musicals as “Hadestown,” the 2019 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical; and “Once on This Island,” winner of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical; as well as “Anastasia” and “Moulin Rouge.” The Next Stage Capital Campaign and is rounding the corner on $25 million toward the construction goal for the new theatre, creating a 40,000-square-foot cultural center that will extend the downtown Naples corridor further east, spurring economic growth in that quadrant. The Next Stage Capital Campaign was launched in 2016 by the Gulfshore Playhouse Board of Directors under the leadership of Bob Harden, alongside the announcement of the Bakers’ matching gift. H3/Arquitectonica, under creative architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia, were selected as the lead design architects in the spring of 2018. Recently completing the Design Development phase, Gulfshore Playhouse and the Capital Campaign Committee, led by chairman of the board Steve Akin, are focused on achieving the funding needed to break ground in January 2021. For more information, visit


SCORE Southwest Florida receives community development grant from Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo presented SCORE Southwest Florida Chapter 219 with a community development grant of $10,000 to provide “Small Business Technical Assistance in Lee County,” according to a press release.  In 2018, the organization supported 64 new business starts and 217 creation of non-owner jobs, and was rated in the top 3% of more than 300 SCORE chapters nationwide for client satisfaction for the last two years.  Wells Fargo’s George Davis, business acquisition manager, state of Florida small business development; and Anthony DeVita, Wells Fargo’s vice president of small business development in Southwest Florida; presented the donation at SCORE Southwest Florida’s member meeting in November. Accepting the funds for SCORE Southwest Florida were Eileen Buchanan, chapter chair, and Pat Loftus, chapter executive committee member.


Harmon-Meek Gallery to host Art Inspires

Harmon-Meek Gallery will host “Art Inspires” from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club. Guests are encouraged to dress inspired by their favorite artist or art movement.  Since Harmon-Meek Gallery is underwriting every expense, 100% of ticket and table sales as well as donations will go to children’s art programs in Southwest Florida through the Harmon-Meek Gallery Fund at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Food and wine will be provided. The featured band is Winslow and the Rockefellers and there will be no auctions or asks for donations. For ticket and table information, visit, or contact Juliana Meek at (239) 262-2699 or


Runners take off at a previous Calusa BUG Chase 5K run.

5K Run through the Calusa Nature Center Supports Kids Bringing up Grades

The Fort Myers Metro-McGregor Kiwanis will hold the 12th annual Calusa BUG Chase 5K run on Jan. 25, 2020, at the Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers. Packet pick up will take place the day of race from 7 a.m.-7:45a.m. Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. and race time is 8 a.m. The race will benefit the Fort Myers-Metro Kiwanis Club’s BUG (Bring Up Grades) Program ( and other club-sponsored youth service projects. Registration includes a long-sleeve commemorative T-shirt, complimentary race day admission to the Calusa Nature Center and refreshments. Overall and age group awards for the 5K run will be presented. Participants can register online at Last year there were over 320 registered runners. Sponsorship opportunities are now available starting at the $100 level. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Chrysten Foley at There is also a Facebook event page to keep updated on the event:


Waterfront Baroque & Blues Concert to benefit local charities

The annual Art of Giving Baroque and Blues concert will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Trinity-by-the-Cove in Naples. The event will feature Baroque music played on Trinity’s antique pipe organ, with strings from the Naples Philharmonic, followed by an outdoor waterfront concert of traditional New Orleans jazz, featuring Lew Del Gatto, saxophone, and Leroy Jones, trumpet. Hosted by the 2020 Archangel Fund for Collier County Charities, the event supports grants for 11 organizations to provide mental health programs, shelters and services to help nearly 7,000 children and adults in our community. This year, it is anticipated that $90,000 in grants will be awarded to charities in Collier County. Sponsorships are available. Tickets begin at $150 per person. For ticket and sponsorship information, call (239) 262-6581 or click here.


Dress for Success SW Florida to present ‘A Recycled Night in Black and White’

Dress for Success SW Florida will present “A Recycled Night in Black and White” from 6-9:30 p.m. on April 3, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs. As Dress for Success SW Florida celebrates 10 years, “A Recycled Night in Black and White” will highlight 10 local designers featuring outfits crafted from bags of recycled clothing and accessories donated to Dress for Success SW Florida. A panel of judges will select first, second and third place winners along with a People’s Choice award. Winners will receive cash prizes. Alyssa Lemay, a local entertainer who hosts regular drag queen bingo, karaoke and charitable events, will be the master of ceremonies for the fashion show. In addition to a recycled fashion show, the evening will feature hors d’oeuvres, champagne, a three-course seated dinner, live and silent auction, dancing and cash bars. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Dress for Success of SW Florida programs. Local fashion designers who are interested in participating in the recycled fashion show can call (239) 689-4992 for more information. Tickets for the event may be purchased for $125. A table (10 seats) may also be purchased at $1,200. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To purchase tickets or a table, please visit


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