Community exceeds $1.2 million match challenge

Southwest Florida community exceeds SWFL Children’s Charities match challenge, more than $2.5 million raised for new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

United by a common goal of supporting a new, state-of-the art children’s hospital in Southwest Florida, local businesses, community groups and individuals met the SWFL Children’s Charities’ match – exceeding the  $1.2 million match and raising $1,329,516.60. SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. President Elaine Hawkins and Vice-President Dorothy Fitzgerald presented a check for $1.2 million to Lee Memorial Health System after learning that the community had exceeded the match challenge, bringing the total raised to more than $2.5 million. Gifts made through the matching challenge support construction of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, a 128-bed comprehensive pediatric health care facility on the grounds of HealthPark Medical Center in south Fort Myers.

$1 2m check presentation  - Jim Nathan Elaine Hawkins Dorothy Fitzgerald and Sharon Mac

“The excitement and response to the matching gift challenge has been overwhelming, and we are truly grateful to the community and SWFL Children’s Charities for exceeding the goal and for their continued generosity,” said Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, parent organization of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “The match rallied the community and motivated so many people to give. Throughout the 90-day challenge, we heard from patient families, volunteers, local business leaders and community groups who were inspired by the match and took advantage of this generous offer to help us build a new children’s hospital to serve our five-county region. ”

After recently fulfilling the final installment of their $10 million pledge to help fund the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. offered to match donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1.2 million.

“I’m so thrilled that the community stepped up to the challenge and met the match. Working with the trustees, we truly felt that the match was the spark that was needed to ignite the campaign and motivate a very generous community,” said Joe Anderson, owner of Benovia Winery in Sonoma County, California and a long-time supporter of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. “As someone from outside the region, I want to impress how fortunate the Southwest Florida community is to have excellent hospital leadership and a very dedicated, active board of trustees with the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. It’s truly a convergence of like-minded people with a clear focus and goal of how to raise funds and where the money is needed.”

SWFL Children’s Charities sponsors the annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest each year, donating proceeds to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and programs benefitting children at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University.

“It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished as a community in just 90 days,” said Dave and Pat Gibbons, trustees for the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. “The fulfillment of this challenge over and above the goal truly demonstrates how much the community and our trustees care about the health and well-being of children in Southwest Florida. We are grateful for every dollar given, every dollar matched and everyone who gave.”

Community groups, businesses, and individuals wishing to make a capital campaign gift to help Golisano Children’s Hospital should visit www.childrenshospitalgoal.org or contact Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at 239-343-6950.

Scheduled for completion in early 2017, the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida will include 128 beds for the care of local children along with the latest medical equipment and a specialty trained team of medical care providers. The 292,000-square-foot facility, currently under construction on the HealthPark campus, will be completely dedicated to pediatric specialty care. Through the generous support of local residents and businesses, $91 million has been raised to help build the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is part of Lee Memorial Health System in Florida. It is the only acute care children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. The children’s hospital opened in 1994 within HealthPark Medical Center. The name was changed to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida in 2012. Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, the primary fund raising entity for Golisano Children’s Hospital, is currently engaged in a major capital campaign to enhance pediatric hospital care in Southwest Florida by raising $100 million to build and equip a new 128-bed children’s hospital on the campus of HealthPark Medical Center. For more info, visit ChildrensHospitalGoal.org.

The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised nearly $15 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, which also lends support to educational programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

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THE NEWS-PRESS: Investing in the future

Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival donates $100,000 and equipment to FSW

NP 6-23-15 Investing in the futureAdonation from the Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival will provide students at Florida SouthWestern a chance to get hands-on experience with new medical equipment before heading out into the real world.

Representatives from the Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival presented a check for $100,000 to FSW Monday morning that would be used toward scholarships and new medical equipment. Scholarship recipients and faculty provided demos of the equipment to the fundraiser’s board Monday morning after being presented the check.

“We want to invest in our community,” said Dorothy Fitzgerald, a member of the SWFL Children’s Charities board of directors and co-chair of the 2014 and 2015 Wine and Food Festivals. “(FSW) has great programs and the programs’ success rate is phenomenal. They do a phenomenal job with the money we give them every year, so we want to continue to help them enhance training and the ability for their students to go out and get jobs in our community.”

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NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Wine festival donates to local college

NDN 6-23-15 Wine festival donates to local college-300Area kids will breathe a little easier and smile a lot brighter thanks to a $100,000 check presentation Monday from SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. to Florida SouthWestern State College’s School of Health Professions.

For the seventh year in a row, the nonprofit gifted the money – part of the proceeds from the recordbreaking $3.3 million raised in February during the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest — to the school for scholarships and new medical equipment.

The school converted the bulk of the donation into a $24,000 pediatric ventilator and a $34,000 dental panogram that School of Health Professions Dean Marie Collins said would go a long way toward ensuring the college continued churning out work-ready graduates in their fields.

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THE JOURNAL: Social Network

TJ June-July 2015 SWFL Childrens Charities -300The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc., is making its largest contribution in its six-year history to the Golisano Children’sHospital of Southwest Florida: A $3 million sum only made possible by the success of their 2015 Wine & Food Fest.

The SWFLChildren’s Charities Inc., ismaking its largest contributioninits six-year historytotheGolisanoChildren’s Hospital of Southwest Florida: A $3 million sum only made possible by the success of their 2015Wine & Food Fest.

The Festival,which raked in $3.35million, not only satisfied a $10million pledgemade in 2009, but alsowill provide $1.2million as a challenge grant if themoney ismatched by community contributions before July 31.

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THE NEWS-PRESS: Southwest Florida nonprofit groups in the news

NP 5-18-15 Southwest Florida nonprofit groups in the news photo

Pitbladdo Holdings is the 2016 title sponsor for the Southwest Florida Wine & Food fest, the signature event of SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.

Principals Richard and Vicki Pitbladdo are SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. trustees and have supported the Wine & Food Fest for many years. The two-day fundraiser includes Friday evening chef/vintner dinners in private homes throughout Southwest Florida, followed by the Grand Tasting & Auction Saturday afternoon. The Pitbladdos hosted a chef/vintner dinner in the south Fort Myers home this hear.

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FLORIDA WEEKLY: Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest fulfills $10 million pledge, issues new challenge

Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest fulfills 10 million pledge

Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest fulfills 10 million pledge smallSWFL Children’s Charities continued its giving ways by recently presenting hospital leaders with the final installment of a $10 million pledge to help build the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The group then added a new twist — a $1.2 million matching challenge to the community.

“SWFL Children’s Charities is pleased to issue this challenge to everyone here in Southwest Florida,” said organization president Elaine Hawkins as the check presentation was made. “From May 1 through July 31, we will match each and every dollar donated to the Golisano Children’s Hospital capital campaign, up to a total of $1.2 million.”

SWFL Children’s Charities sponsors the annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest each year, donating proceeds to local charities with the lion’s share directed to Golisano Children’s Hospital.

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Wine & Food Fest Names 2016 Title Sponsor

 Pitbladdo Holdings LLC is the title sponsor for the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. Celebrating the announcement were (left to right) 2016 event co-chair Sandy Stilwell, Elaine Hawkins, Richard and Vicki Pitbladdo, and Dorothy Fitzgerald.

Pitbladdo Holdings LLC is the title sponsor for the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. Celebrating the announcement were (left to right) 2016 event co-chair Sandy Stilwell, Elaine Hawkins, Richard and Vicki Pitbladdo, and Dorothy Fitzgerald.

Pitbladdo Holdings LLC is the 2016 title sponsor for the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, the signature event of SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.

Principals Richard and Vicki Pitbladdo are SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. trustees and have actively supported the Wine & Food Fest for many years. The two-day fundraiser includes Friday evening chef/vintner dinners in private homes throughout Southwest Florida, followed by the Grand Tasting & Auction Saturday afternoon. The Pitbladdos hosted a chef/vintner dinner in their south Fort Myers home this year.

“Richard and I have been actively involved with SWFL Children’s Charities for the six years we have lived in Fort Myers, and we are proud to continue our community support. It gives added meaning to our work and energizes us to achieve even higher goals for our businesses,” said Vicki Pitbladdo. “It’s awesome seeing how much can be accomplished with a dedicated group of committed and generous people. Seeing the Golisano Children’s Hospital being built is especially rewarding, but we know there is much more to be accomplished.”

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, which also lends support to Florida SouthWestern State College’s pediatric nursing program and Florida Gulf Coast University’s music therapy program.

SWFL Children’s Charities President Elaine Hawkins said, “The Pitbladdos’ commitment epitomizes the bigheartedness and dedication of so many people who support the Wine & Food Fest. Their corporate contributions are significant, and their ideas, energy and time help shape the event and are critical to our ongoing success.”

Dorothy Fitzgerald, a member of the SWFL Children’s Charities board of trustees, said, “The generous support of our trustees and sponsors allows every dollar raised during the auction to fund programs that benefit our children and strengthen our community.”
The 2015 auction raised $3.35 million. Fitzgerald and Hawkins co-chaired both the 2014 and 2015 events.

“This latest sponsorship represents a continuation of our personal and business support of this great community effort,” said Richard Pitbladdo. “Every year the bar is set higher, and somehow everyone pulls together to set a new fundraising record. It’s inspiring to Vicki and me, and inspiring to our employees as well.”

The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest has raised nearly $15 million in the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. Wine Spectator ranked the event No. 6 on its list of Top 10 U.S. Charity Wine Auctions of 2014.

Pitbladdo Holdings LLC is a closely held private equity company. Portfolio companies include PB&J Group, 2015 Wine & Food Fest Title Sponsor LTC Global, and Specto Automated Window Cleaning. In addition, Pitbladdo Holdings holds a value-based portfolio of public equities that serves to hedge its private holdings.

The 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is scheduled for Feb. 26 and 27. To learn more, log onto www.swflwinefest.org.

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BONITA BANNER: Wine & Food Fest gives $1.8 million to children’s hospital

Bonita Banner 5-6-15 to childrens charitiesSWFL Children’s Charities Inc. organizers of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, is making the largest contribution in its six-year history: trustees are giving as much as $3 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The donation not only satisfies a $10 million pledge made in 2009, but also provides up to $1.2 million as a challenge grant if the money is matched by contributions from the community within the next 90 dys.

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BONITA BANNER: SWFL CHILDREN’S CHARITIES DONATES $3MILLION TO GOLISANO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

FORTHEKIDSJim Nathan has been the glad recipient of some extremely large checks lately. While they’re not for his personal spending, the CEO of Lee Memorial Health System gladly deposits them into a foundation account for the construction of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

After pocketing a $1.8 million check from SWFL Children’s Charities Thursday—with another $1.2 million promised through a matching grant challenge to the community — Nathan thanked these organizers of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, particularly founder Steve Machiz, for envisioning, constructing and growing such a successful fundraiser for the hospital.

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Wine & Food Fest gives $1.8 million to children’s hospital, with a possible $1.2 million more to come

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc., organizers of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, is making the largest contribution in its six-year history: trustees are giving as much as $3 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

The donation not only satisfies a $10 million pledge made in 2009, but also provides up to $1.2 million as a challenge grant if the money is matched by contributions from the community within the next 90 days.

“The trustees voted to challenge the community as a way to create excitement and boost the hospital’s fundraising campaign,” said Elaine Hawkins, president of SWFL Children’s Charities and co-chair of the 2014 and 2015 events. “It’s time to get the capital campaign done, and our matching dollars are only available until July 31.”

The success of the 2015 Wine & Food Fest, which brought in $3.35 million, made the donation possible. All expenses for the two-day event are underwritten by trustees and sponsors, allowing every auction dollar raised to go to the event beneficiaries, which include Florida SouthWestern State College’s pediatric nursing program and Florida Gulf Coast University’s music therapy program, as well as the children’s hospital.

Trustees, sponsors and hospital representatives gathered for a check-presentation ceremony, and Dorothy Fitzgerald, a member of the SWFL Children’s Charities board of directors and co-chair of the 2014 and 2015 Wine & Food Fests, thanked them all.

“It takes a whole community to raise this kind of money, and we want to recognize the efforts of our trustees, sponsors and dinner hosts,” said Fitzgerald. “They helped us raise enough to make the challenge grant possible, and we can’t wait for the community to respond.”

Both Fitzgerald and Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, recognized Steve Machiz, whose vision launched the Fort Myers Wine Fest with The Rotary Club of Fort Myers in 2005.

“Steve had the idea of quality wines and good fellowship for the first wine fest dinner, and there were a lot of naysayers who thought it was a nice thing that wouldn’t really go anywhere,” said Nathan. “What a wonderful story of love, care, devotion and dedication it became. Great visions never become reality if they don’t become shared visions, and Steve’s leadership in bringing new players into the wine fest kept the dream alive.”

In 2008, SWFL Children’s Charities was formed and purchased the logo from the Rotary. To give the event a broader, regional appeal, the Wine Fest was renamed the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. After the trustees made their $10 million pledge for the new children’s hospital in 2009, philanthropist Tom Golisano announced a challenge grant to donate $20 million if the community raised $20 million, in addition to the SWFL Children’s Charities pledge. Only $13 million is needed to reach the children’s hospital capital campaign goal.

The 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, held Feb. 27 and 28, included nine Friday evening chef-vintner dinners held in private homes from Naples to Captiva. The top-grossing lots during the Saturday afternoon auction inspired the crowd to help sick children. A drawing by 11-year-old Sophia Black, who has been undergoing treatment at Golisano for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, drew bids totaling $500,000. Her artwork will join those of previous child artists, hanging in the hospital. Bidders also raised $600,000 to fund the hospital’s pediatric intensive care services.

In thanking the current Wine & Food Fest trustees, Nathan summed the effort up: “It’s all about the children.”

The 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is scheduled for Feb. 26 and 27. The Wine Fest has raised nearly $15 million in the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. Wine Spectator ranked the event No. 6 on its list of Top 10 U.S. Charity Wine Auctions of 2014.

To learn more, log onto www.swflwinefest.org.

Contact:
Laurel Smith, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, laurel@gsma.pro

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