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Naples Loves Giving Back and Being Helping the Community


Over 300 people gathered for the ninth annual Greater Naples YMCA’s Sneaker Ball on Feb. 21 at Seacrest Country Day School. More than $200,000 was raised to help rebuild the Naples facility, according to this article from the Naples Daily News, which was partially destroyed by a fire on Labor Day.

The festive fundraiser was sponsored by Lavern Gaynor and chaired by Deb Wing with supporting co-chairs Joanne Blanchette, Sue Forry and Stephanie Pagliccia. The event featured live entertainment by the Robert Williamson Band, food was provided by Artichoke & Company, and sneakers of all colors and sizes.


“The night was about sharing the hope and mission of the Y with friends, family and the community,” said Paul Thein, president and CEO of the Greater Naples YMCA. “We’ve seen this community really come together to financially support the Y, and the guests at the Sneaker Ball made a huge contribution to our efforts. We’re extremely grateful.”

In early February, the Greater Naples YMCA announced a $1.5 million match pledge from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. All gifts and pledges received by the end of 2014 qualified for the matching grant.

“We are currently at 63 percent of our $4 million rebuilding goal,” said Thein. “By meeting the foundation’s challenge, we will achieve 100 percent of our goal and will be able to greatly expand and transform the Y facility to better meet community wellness needs.”

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, according to the Daily News article, strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children—regardless of age, income or background—to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

For more information or to make a contribution toward the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation match pledge, call 239-597-3148 or visit www.greaternaplesymca.org. Naming opportunities and membership options are available.

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