Three people to watch in May

Darlene Izzo

Director of the Naples satellite

of Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions

Darlene Izzo’s passion for greyhounds began 24 years ago when she was looking to adopt a dog of a very different breed: a great dane. Before deciding to adopt, Izzo was encouraged to spend some time with a friend’s mother’s greyhound. Izzo fell in love with the breed and has owned greyhounds ever since. She currently owns five and is taking care of 13 others in her kennel.

Izzo’s love for dogs extended into a desire to help retired racing greyhounds find loving forever homes. As the director of the Naples satellite of Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions in Tampa, Fla. she works closely with greyhound tracks and potential adoptees to do just that.

“When people adopt from us, they adopt into a family that’s a huge support team,” Izzo said. “We make it possible for owners to meet up with trainers so they can find out about their dog’s racing career. We also have programs to make greyhounds into therapy dogs. We just have a lot of open-door communication.”

Izzo and others volunteering with Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions are truly committed to doing what’s best for the dogs. Recently, Izzo adopted out Miss Charm, a retired racing greyhound. However, Miss Charm’s old trainer, Chris, was reluctant to let her go.

“Miss Charm is going to become a therapy dog, but the owner is going to allow the trainer to be part of Miss Charm’s life because he cares so much about her,” Izzo said.

In addition to adopting out dogs, Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions offers a wealth of information on caring for greyhounds. Bay Area organizes fun runs, picnics, volunteer appreciation days, farm and kennel tours and more.


Brad Young

Founder of the Lipman

Golf Classic

According to Brad Young two groups that are absolutely essential to the produce industry are often overlooked: bees and migrant workers.

“If it wasn’t for the people who were picking, packing, and working, it would be very difficult for this industry to even exist,” he said.

To better support the people at the core of his industry, he founded Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s (RCMA) annual golf tournament 13 years ago. This year, the tournament was renamed the Lipman Golf Classic.

RCMA is dedicated to supporting the families of low-income farmworkers. Funds raised will benefit RCMA’s 70 child-care centers and three charter schools across 21 Florida counties. In Southwest Florida, RCMA serves nearly 1,500 children through the Immokalee Community School and 13 child-care centers.

The tournament will take place Saturday, May 4 at the Naples Heritage Golf Club at 8:30 a.m. and will include breakfast, lunch and exciting door prizes. Admission is $225 per golfer.


Gay Thompson

Trustee of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Women’s Legacy Fund contributor/prima donor

Gay Thompson is a trustee of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation (SWFLCF) and Women’s Legacy Fund (WLF) contributor/prima donor.

In addition to her involvement with SWFLCF and the WLF, she has been involved with The Rotary Club of Fort Myers and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades.

Though she has been fortunate to be able to donate generously to the WLF, she does not underestimate the power of any donation.

“Philanthropy doesn’t have to begin with millions or even thousands of dollars,” she said. “Our contributions are pooled, and as we often remark in our literature, we can do so much more together than we ever could alone.”

The WLF is focused on enabling women to give in strategic ways through their immediate grants and permanent endowment fund. Since its inception, it has provided $75,000 in grants to benefit people in Southwest Florida.

The Women’s Legacy Fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will hold its sixth annual spring luncheon on Thursday, May 9 from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fiddlesticks Country Club.


Do you know someone who should be included in the people to watch? Send your nomination to Be sure to include contact information for the individual and why you think they should be featured.

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