Close this search box.

Log in

Top Stories

The fruits of the labor from this year’s Naples Winter Wine Festival auction were celebrated in March when the Naples Children & Education Foundation, the festival’s founding organization, allocated a record $25.6 million to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations supporting underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

This community investment from the 23rd annual event includes funding traditional grants of $6.8 million and $11.6 million for NCEF multi-year strategic initiatives that fill fundamental gaps in local children’s services, plus another $7.1 million in funding for future grants and strategic initiatives. Since its inaugural event in 2001, the wine festival has raised about $269 million, providing more than 300,000 children with services and resources.

“We are fortunate enough to be able to contribute a record amount of money to the charities that we are supporting,” said 2022-23 NCEF Grant Committee Chair Harry Rose at the annual grant awards ceremony and reception March 20 under the tent at the Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburon. “You all represent something that is very, very special. You are at the top 12% of all the charities in Collier County. We’re very proud of that and we’re proud of what you do.”

This year, 39 organizations received traditional grants, in addition to 10 more agencies that help fill critical needs in the community by taking part in NCEF’s strategic initiatives focusing on the holistic well-being of children. Initiatives receiving funding include early learning, health care, hunger, out-of-school time and mental health care.

“The primary reason we are here today is to celebrate all of the organizations who day in and day out provide the critical programs and services for the children—the at-risk children and underprivileged children—of Collier County,” said Valerie Boyd, the 2023 NCEF board chairman. “We celebrate you. We honor you. We are grateful for all the hard work you do, because the mission of NCEF is to make a profound difference in the lives of at-risk children in Collier County. It could not happen without you, and we are grateful for you every single day.”

NCEF’s unique approach, which emphasizes collaboration between organizations and bridges public and private resources, has become a blueprint for how to transform a community one issue at a time. Each NCEF beneficiary is fully vetted, Rose said, noting that each of the 11 members of the grant committee is assigned three or four charities to work with for a year.

“It includes reviewing their application, the grant, the summary of the grant, the financials, the history—and they’re charged with ensuring that the request and the grant is really in the best interest of what we’re trying to do. And it represents collaboration. We want you to use each other to become very effective at what you do,” he said. “The grant committee meets many times from October to February, and they are very, very committed to ensuring that the funds that are raised under the tent are raised and donated to the right charity.”


The local organizations benefiting from traditional grants for 2023-24 and their dollar amounts, which totaled $6,841,220:

ABLE Academy, $180,000

Avow Hospice, $105,000

Better Together, $180,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, $90,000

Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, $450,000

Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, $75,000

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice, $286,000

Champions For Learning, $200,000

Child’s Path, $200,000

Children’s Advocacy Center, $545,520

Conservancy of Southwest Florida, $150,000

Educational Pathways Academy, $75,000

First Tee, $75,000

Friends of Foster Children Forever, $389,500

Fun Time Early Childhood Academy, $236,000

Gargiulo Education Center, $115,000

Grace Place for Children and Families, $375,000

Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida, $40,000

Leadership Collier Foundation, $60,000

Legal Aid Service of Collier County, $600,000

Literacy Volunteers of Collier County, $85,000

Midwest Food Bank of Florida, $50,000

MusicScores Violin, $50,000

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center, $249,000

NCH Healthcare System, $81,000

NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, $50,000

Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, $70,000

PACE Center for Girls, $100,000

Pan-Florida Challenge, $56,700

Special Olympics, $102,500

St. Matthew’s House, $75,000

STARability Foundation, $80,000

Taste the Impact, $100,000

The Salvation Army of Collier County, $75,000

The Shelter for Abused Women & Children, $150,000

United Arts Collier, $40,000

Valerie’s House, $200,000

YMCA of Collier County, $400,000

Youth Haven, $400,000

Here are the “Blueprint Partners” organizations with the NCEF multi-year award totals for each strategic initiative, which totaled $11,598,000 for all initiatives.

Early Learning ($3,930,000): ABLE Academy, Early Learning Coalition of SWFL, Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Early Literacy & Learning Model (ELLM), Guadalupe Center, Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee and Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA).

Health care ($800,000): FSU College of Medicine, NCH Healthcare System and University of Florida.

Hunger ($3,295,000): Brighter Bites, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida and Meals of Hope.

Out-of-School Time ($2,073,000): Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Guadalupe Center, RCMA and The Immokalee Foundation.

Special Projects ($1,500,000): Capacity Building and “Beautiful Minds,” an NCEF mental health initiative.

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

Don't Miss

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Please note that article corrections should be submitted for grammar or syntax issues.

If you have other concerns about the content of this article, please submit a news tip.