Themed charity events create community awareness
Being involved during the years with more than 50 charities in the Naples area, I understand the importance of identifying an event with a specific charity. Case in point: the Hospital Ball, though it may have different underlying themes it is known in the community as the Hospital Ball. Everyone knows that means Naples Community Hospital and that the funds raised go to improve or jump start programs in the hospital, whether those programs benefit the neonatal ICU or last year’s “Smart Room” focus.
David Lawrence likes to take its gala attendees around the world whether they journey through the “Taste of India” or “Hot Havana Nights.” Guadalupe Center, also known for its world themed events, stood out last year with “A Taste of China.” This year it will be “The Taste of Brazil.” When you hear “Boot Strap Boogie Barn Dance,” you immediately think of the Naples Equestrian Challenge as the moniker for their major fundraiser for the past seven years. Catholic Charities and “Emerald Ball” go hand-in-hand and the Naples Children and Education Foundation’s Naples Winter Wine Festival are world renowned — you don’t think of one without thinking of the other. The Education Foundation’s “Golden Apple” and “Men of Distinction” are closely connected with that organization and when residents think of world-class speakers, The Forum Club and celebrating 30 years in Naples this fall, Naples Town Hall spring to mind. These are but a small sampling of events in the greater Naples area that help the residents of Collier County. We associate charities’ names with the names of their events.
The purpose of The Journals has always been to provide an individual community paper for North Naples, Naples, Pelican Bay and Bonita Bay — Journals that grew from the original North Naples Gazette/Journal into a family of community papers. In this journey we always strived to give a voice to local charities and their needs as there are so many needs in Collier County to meet.
The marketing idea for The Journals was that Journal readers would always have the disposable income to buy whatever was advertized in the Journals, and were never more than a 15-minute drive to your business. Plus, we did not include “negative news” in The Journals. Let me take that back. Once when the Stadium Naples fiasco played itself out with little accountability by those who did not play fair, on page three in large block type I said, “Naples, where you do the crime but there is no time.” I made some friends with that and also got a few less Christmas cards that year.
As many of you know, about six years ago, we sold the Journals to the Naples Daily News. I was asked to stay on for 30 days after the sale went through to be there to answer any questions. After the 30 days, I was asked if I would stay another 30 days. This month marks my 78th 30-day extension.
In this issue, I must finally bid you a fond adieu as we step away from the publishing business. I leave behind many friends and professionals that I’ll enjoy seeing around town, although I’ll not have the pleasure of working alongside them. I plan to get even more involved with local and national charities. Perhaps seek an elected or an appointed office and do some consulting for federal alphabet agencies. As I mentioned in my January column we need to have a more civil atmosphere on the County Commission and our emergency services, fire departments need to consolidate. I will lend myself to moving both of these items to a better place.
As we said back in the day, “It’s been a trip.” I would not have missed this adventure for the world.
See you around,