Monday, October 25, 2021

Marco Island Community Fund Announces First Recipients

Photos by Maria Lamb | Marco Island Community Foundation Advisory board and donors (L – R) Ernie Stevens, Steve and Barb Slaggie, Eileen Connolly-Keesler, President & CEO of CFCC, Allyson Richards, and Laura Simmelink, Senior Director of Programs CFCC.

Marco Island Community Fund (MICF), managed by the Community Foundation of Collier County, announced its first $50,000 in grant awards supporting Marco Island non-profits that address local needs.  

On Thursday, February 6th, Jim and Allyson Richards hosted a private event and celebration for the local grant recipients. According to Jim Richards, his wife gets involved in quite a few things in the community and he is very proud to have a part in giving back to the community. 

According to Eileen Connolly-Keesler, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC), the Foundation is 35 years old this year. They do a lot of grantmaking and CFCC works with donors who want to do charitable giving throughout the county, and they work with non-profits and connect the two. 

Since July 2016 through the present, CFCC has given over $460,000 to non-profits in Marco Island. A year ago, CFCC started thinking more of Marco Island as there was definitely a need here. They realized that when people live in communities like Marco, they also like to give to their own community.  

According to Allyson Richards, the MICF started out as an outreach program from the Naples based CFCC to bring more attention to the numerous Marco Island 501 (C)3s. Sometimes people want to just contribute to Marco Island charitable organizations, and this will allow them to do just that. 

The MICF was created specifically for Marco Island with Marco Island donors and recipients from Marco Island non-profits. MICF has an advisory board of 7-9 members of the Marco Island community who provides volunteer leadership, direct donors and grants to the island’s greatest needs. 

From their first meeting last year, MICF raised $85K and decided they had enough money to award their first set of grants. MICF awarded $50,000 to five recipients receiving $10,000 each, as follows: 

  1. Marco Island Center for the Arts’ mission is to promote education and appreciation of the Arts and this award is for a Time Capsule which will encapsulate community stories as they launch into the future. Hyla Crane Executive Director accepted the grant award for the Marco Island Center for the Arts. 
  2. Collier County Parks and Recreation for a shade structure over the children’s playground which will lower the ambient temperature about 20 degrees in the summer. Ranger Carol Buckler accepted the award. 
  3. Marco Island Academy received a grant award for the purchase of instructional equipment and materials including technology and digital whiteboards for their Math Matters program. MIA Principal Melissa Scott accepted the award. 
  4. Our Daily Bread Food Pantry received a grant award for their food pantry program so they can feed families and children that have food insecurities. ODBFP founders and board members accepted the award. 
  5. YMCA of South Collier County received a grant award for their Early Learning Center with Cindy Love, CEO, Charlie & Pamela Vickayrous accepted the award. 

The CFCC urges all Marco Island non-profits to register with them so they can be included in the next notification of a grant cycle for Marco Island as well as all other grants available through the CFCC.  

To contribute to the fund, register a charitable organization or to find out more information about grants please contact the CFCC at 2396495000 or 

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