Foundation gives $2.2M to children's organizations

The Naples Children and Education Foundation has presented two $1.1-million checks to the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County and Youth Haven.

The $2.2 million in charitable donations comes from money raised in February at the Naples Winter Wine Festival. Once the final tally of receipts was completed, a ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday at The Ritz Carlton, Naples, to present the checks.

A total of $2.7 million for charities that benefit children was raised at the first-ever Naples wine festival.

"We knew we had something special, but never did we anticipate the excitement, the energy and the success we experienced," Jeff Garguilo, Foundation president and the festival's chairman, said in a prepared release. "It is wonderful when so many people come together to help our local children."

The Boys and Girl's Club now serves 250 children in Collier County. The donation will go toward expanding the club, establishing an endowment fund and increasing membership.

"No one would guess that 44 percent of the children in Collier County are at or below the poverty level," said Mary Boyce Johnson, executive director of the club, in a written statement. "More than 15,000 children rely on subsidized (school) lunches and most of these children come from single-parent homes or homes where both parents work."

Youth Haven is a nonprofit agency providing shelter for children who need protection. Since its creation nearly 30 years ago, more than 4,000 abused, neglected and abandoned children have been cared for at Youth Haven.

Next year's Naples Winter Wine Festival is scheduled for Feb. 1-3.

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