‘Quite significant’: Wine fest foundation donates  $33.2M to Collier charities

“For the kids” is a popular phrase among the organizers of the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

The original sponsor of the wine festival, the Naples Children & Education Foundation, demonstrated its intentions on Monday by donating $33.2 million to 51 Collier County nonprofits that support children from disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds.

The auction held in January of the wine festival raised an unprecedented amount of money. At The Ritz-Carlton, Tiburon in North Naples, earlier this week, foundation representatives made the grant announcement, according to a recent article by Diana Biederman of Naples Daily News

Three categories comprise the granted amounts. The majority of the money, more than $26 million, went to NCEF’s initiative groups and partners in the blueprint, along with traditional grants. Over $7.2 million was given to strategic initiatives and future projects.

How was the money distributed?
The Foundation orders a well-being assessment of Collier’s less fortunate children every five years, the most recent one being in 2022, to ascertain their most pressing needs. Early learning, mental health, healthcare, hunger, dental health, after-school activities, and vision are among these initiatives.

In order to address these seven issues, 19 incentive groups and blueprint partners received more than $19.4 million in funding. Mental health acquired the most, with $8.6 million split among five nonprofits: David Lawrence Centers; FSU: College of Medicine—Isabel Collier Read Medical Campus; Golisano Children’s Hospital; Healthcare Network; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness/Collier.

32 local charities received traditional grants totaling over $6.6 million; the donations ranged from $50,000 for MusicScores Violin to $686,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center. The Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, Youth Haven, Legal Aid, and Pace Center for Girls are some of the other well-known institutions in this area that are listed on this list.

Why it is important

According to a news release from the Foundation, CEO Maria Jimenez-Lara, “Our strategic partners collaborate throughout the year to optimize funding, avoid duplication and develop innovative programs aimed at delivering high-quality services to support local children.”

“We firmly believe in the impact and efficacy of these multi-year initiatives, as evidenced by the sizeable funding allocated for them.”

Since the Festival’s inception, Collier County NGOs that support children have received close to $302 million in donations; this is because the organizations do not receive any funding from the government. Collier is the second most unequally wealthy county in Florida out of the 67 counties that make up the state, according to Forbes.com.

The NWWF will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News