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11th Annual “Love Your Neighbor” Raises More Than $300,000

Attendees Also Pledged More Than $3 Million Toward Building Campaign

(Fort Myers, Fla. – March 15, 2019) — “Love Your Neighbor”, the 11th annual event benefiting The Heights Foundation, raised more than $300,000 for educational programs for at-risk kids in Harlem Heights.  David and Linda Lucas were honored for their years of support of The Heights Foundation.  Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren Designs helped create this signature event and have supported it since its inception.

A $100,000 giving challenge was made by Bill and Caroline Bloomhall, long-time supporters of The Heights Foundation.  If the audience pledged a minimum of $100,000 in donations during the Fund-a-Need in the live auction, the Bloomhalls would match the amount.  Attendees generously met the challenge.

Kathryn Kelly, Founder, President and CEO of The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center also announced plans to build a three story educational building on The Heights Center property.   Several supporters pledged more than $3 million toward the building.  The building will house The Harlem Heights Community Charter School, a K-5 school and GLAD Kids, the organization’s preschool that serves children birth to five.

“Our mission is to build strong, self-sufficient families and education is the key to success,” said Kathryn Kelly.  “The monies raised support our educational programs that include our charter school, our early learning center, enriching after school and summer camp programs, academic tutoring, scholarship and college access assistance, school supplies, and tuition support.   We are so thankful for the support for our programs, and absolutely amazed at the generous pledges we received toward our new educational building.”

The event was held at the Gulf Harbour home of Mary Jo Little.  The VIP Pre Party was held at a custom home by Frank R. Jenkins Custom Homes.   Auctioneer Scott Robertson along with celebrity emcee Kellie Burns of NBC-2 conducted the live auction that included Sunday brunch aboard the Youngquist family’s 112-foot yacht, an in home dinner for ten by the celebrated chefs of Blanc and Black Salt Culinary, a one of a kind pendant by Mark Loren Designs, and lunch with legendary AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams.

Guests enjoyed an assortment of culinary creations from popular local restaurants and chefs including Bahama Breeze, Gather, LYNQ, Norman Love Confections, St. Charles Yacht Club, Three Fishermen Seafood Restaurant and Terra Nostra Ristorante.  VIP attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from Black Salt Culinary.  Strange Arrangement provided musical entertainment.

Sponsors include Mark Loren Designs, Norman Love Confections, Gary and Sharyn Morgan, Kelly Brothers Marine Construction, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Entech, Mark and Gretchen Banks, Bill and Caroline Bloomhall, Dinah Bloomhall, Dave and Cheryl Copham, Robert and Ruth Ann Diefenbach, Fred and Elaine Hawkins, Rich and Sandy Heinrich, Kathryn Kleist and Kevin Derheimer, Dean and Jane Schreiner, Dennis Lapidus and Ann Marie Shields, Tom and Linda Van Wyk, Vee Yerrid and Buzz Waid and RG Architects.  Special thanks to Greg & Jo Callaway of Gulf Harbour Properties, Vandy Major Photography, Angela Brant, Jason’s Deli and Creative Sound & Lighting, Bill Rogers Productions, Harold Balink, Jennifer’s Boutique, Gina Birch, and Brodeur-Carvell Fine Apparel.

For more information about the Heights Center and The Heights Foundation visit www.heightsfoundation.org or call (239) 482-7706.

About the Heights Foundation and the Heights Center

The Heights Foundation works to build self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.  The mission is to support education and wellness, promote family and community development, and provide the benefits of enrichment and the arts.  The Heights Center, supported by The Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment.   GLAD Kids is a child care and pre-k center serving more than 80 children birth-five.  The Harlem Heights Community Charter School currently serves kindergarten through third grade and will expand to serve up to fifth grade.

Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community.   Approximately 780 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 70% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and 8% Caucasian. The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average, with family income 40% below the county average. Families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood.