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 (Fort Myers, Fla. –November 1, 2023) — Nearly 200 guests brought their salty attitudes and joined their boat-runnin’, fish-wranglin,’ briny friends for a night of great food, drinks, music, and dancing at The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center’s Saltwater Cowboy event on Friday, October 20, at MarineMax. 

The event raised more than $170,000 to benefit The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center and Heights Early Learning programs. The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center is an organization that works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers.

“We believe a decent education allows at-risk kids to meet, challenge, and raise the bar on the world’s narrative of them,” said Kathryn Kelly, founder, president, and CEO of The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center. “Our enriching preschool, afterschool, and summer camp programs ensure parents can work while their kids learn, are safe, and have fun. In addition, our adult and family programs provide opportunities for self-sufficiency. We are grateful for everyone who enjoyed a fun night supporting our families.”

Guests enjoyed an extensive raw bar from The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market and signature cocktails. Jay Johnson of Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon prepared steak dinners accompanied by fresh Gulf shrimp.   

Guests were greeted by children who participate in The Heights Center’s programs. The event included a photo booth and a silent and live auction. Auction items included an in-home raw bar for sixteen by The Timbers that raised nearly $30,000, a Learn to Sail for Two on Captiva courtesy of Offshore Sailing School, an Everglades Python hunt with Huntress Amy Siewe, a sunset cruise for ten on a MarineMax yacht, and wine and tapas with Chef Gloria Jordan and radio personality Gina Birch.

Gina Birch emceed the event, and Tommy Williams was the auctioneer.  Jamie Fautz and Tiffany Kelly chaired the event. Rudy Cox and Jumping Fences Band performed live music. Guests had the opportunity to view boats available at MarineMax and received commemorative engraved rocks glasses.

Sponsors include Owen-Ames-Kimball Company, Hightower Fort Myers Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management, Kelly Brothers, Inc., RG Architects, SKANSKA,   Fence Mule, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Edison National Bank/Bank of the Islands, Commercial Concrete Systems, LLC, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Steve and Kathy Shimp and Josef Reum & Associates.

For more information, visit or call Annie Campbell at (239) 482-7706 or email [email protected]

About The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center

The Heights Foundation works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.   Our 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.   Heights Early Learning serves more than 85 babies through 4 years old.   The Heights Center serves 163 children in AfterSchool and 153 children in SummerCamp.    The Harlem Heights Community Charter School serves 200 children from kindergarten through 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. As a result, families cannot easily access family support services in downtown Fort Myers and benefit greatly from programs within the neighborhood.

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