Community Foundation of Collier County and Women's Initiative Network Honor Eleven Women of Initiative

Eleven Women of Initiative honored for enriching and investing in our community and inspiring others to make a difference.

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Naples, FL (PRWEB) April 03, 2014

The Women’s Initiative Network of the Community Foundation of Collier County hosted their annual Women of Initiative Awards luncheon on Monday, March 31, 2014 at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. Over450 were in attendance to witness the recognition of 11 local women for their outstanding philanthropic achievements. The 2014 honorees are: Jackie Bennett, Karen Clawson, Joan Clifford, Carol Dinardo, Stacey Herring, Mariann MacDonald, Becky Newell, Mary Osborn, Jeannie Meg Smith, Elizabeth Star, and Marla Weiss. The ceremony included an inspiring video of each honoree describing a life changing event that helped ignite her desire to give back to others.

Kelly Burns, anchor for NBC-2 News, emceed the luncheon and Amy Hale, Director of Trust and Estate Services represented the event sponsor, BMO Private Bank. During the opening speeches, Women’s Initiative Network’s Steering Committee Chair, Lisa Merritt, announced that grants totaling $57,200 had been awarded to seven agencies that address some of the most pressing needs facing women and girls in Collier County: “The Women’s Initiative Network is committed to serving women, children and seniors in Collier County who are at risk and in needs of immediate financial assistant. Our name communicates a powerful and appropriate acronym - “WIN”.”

Community Foundation of Collier County President/CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler spoke about WIN’s endowment goal of $1 million: “The Women’s Initiative Network is the only organization in Collier County dedicated to building an endowment to support the unmet and changing needs of women and girls. These resources will guarantee that, even through difficult economic times, both now and in the future, there will always be a source of funding available to address the challenges facing women and girls in our community”.

Grants totaling $57,200 were announced and awarded to seven agencies that address some of the most pressing needs facing women and girls in Collier County:

  • Care Club of Collier County for caregiver support for low-income individuals with dementia. Care Club is the only day center in the County providing this service.
  • Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida (JFCS) to support vulnerable seniors and their caregivers and address the problem of senior isolation and loneliness.
  • Legal Aid Service of Collier County to support vulnerable seniors, women heads of households with children and women and girls with disabilities who require legal assistance.
  • Legal Aid Service of Collier County to support vulnerable seniors, women heads of households with children and women and girls with disabilities who require legal assistance.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County to support their program for Latino at-risk teens and their mothers. Negative perceptions about mental illness prevent Latino families from asking for and receiving mental health services. The rates of depression, suicide and suicide attempts are 70% higher for Latina adolescent girls than for white girls in the
same age group.

  • Boys & Girls Club of Collier County to support the Junior Women of Initiative program. This program, launched in 2005, engages previous Women of Initiative honorees as mentors to develop leadership skills for at-risk teen girls.
  • The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida to establish a Southwest Florida Regional Center on Human Trafficking. The Center will implement a regional protocol to ensure an integrated approach to delivering support from law enforcement and victim-service agencies to women and girls who have been victimized by human trafficking.

About the Community Foundation of Collier County
The Community Foundation of Collier County is a tax-exempt, public, charitable fund, established in 1985 with a $300,000 endowment to increase and focus private philanthropy in the area. The first grants were awarded in 1986 towards Cambier Park’s band shell construction project and The Shelter for Abused Women initial development.

Today, the Community Foundation oversees more than 500 funds, collaborates with over 400 local nonprofit, manages nearly $73 million in assets and has distributed $70 million in grants. The Women’s Initiative Network is a fund of the Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation manages a pool of permanent endowed funds established by charitable individuals, and makes grants from the investment earnings to address community needs and issues. Through sound investing, effective grantmaking and building the capacity of Collier County nonprofit agencies, the Community Foundation seeks to strengthen our community forever.

For more information about the Community Foundation of Collier County or the Women’s Initiative Network, call Eileen Connolly-Keesler at (239) 649-5000 or visit http://www.cfcollier.org. View the Women of Initiative honorees video on the Community Foundation’s YouTube Channel