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News

Champions For Learning Celebrates 30 Years

Champions For Learning is celebrating 30 years of creating life-changing learning experiences for every student. Our community recognition has begun with a proclamation by the City of Naples recognizing September 24th as Champions For Learning Day in collaboration with schools across Collier County.

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Champions For Learning Earns Fourth Consecutive 4-Star Rating

Champions For Learning’s (The Education Foundation of Collier County) strong financial standing and commitment to accountability and transparency has led the organization to earn a four star rating by Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in America, as it celebrates its 30th year as an organization.

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Champions For Learning Announces 2019 -2020 Board of Directors

Champions For Learning is proud to announce their 2019-2020 Board of Directors as we celebrate 30 years. This group of professionals and community leaders are dedicated to creating a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success along with preparing for the next 30 years.

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Attention Class of 2020 Attend a Rising Senior Workshop!

Registration is open for the Class of 2020 to attend Champions For Learning’s Rising Senior Workshops.

These Rising Senior Workshops are provided at no cost to Collier County students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and Naples Children & Education Foundation.

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Congratulations Graduates!

The 12th grade students who have accomplished their goals in Champions For Learning programs were celebrated in a Countdown to Cap and Gown Celebration, presented by BMO Harris Bank, on April 11th at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club.

More than 450 people—board members, school staff, donors, volunteers, mentors, parents, and alumni joined to celebrate the 95 seniors representing 11 high schools participating in the Take Stock in Children and College and Career Preparation programs of Champions For Learning.

To-date, the senior class (95 students), has accomplished the following

  • 220 college acceptances
  • 9600+ community service hours
  • And, to date, earned 104 scholarships totaling just over $3.4 million dollars

The Champions For Learning Class of 2019 was named in honor of Claudine Leger-Wetzel for her leadership and commitment to the mission of Champions For Learning which has spanned almost 14 years and represents her personal dedication and passion for education, along with the her professional role with Stock Development sharing their commitment to education.

The student program support is generously provided by many donors and in particular, thank you for the incredible generosity from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Take Stock In Children Foundation, Florida Prepaid Foundation, Naples Children and Education Foundation, Suncoast Credit Union, and the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program through the State of Florida and Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

In addition to BMO Harris Bank as presenting sponsor, these sponsors also helped to make the evening celebration possible:  AT&T, Gulfshore Insurance, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, and Naples Daily News.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help Champions For Learning earn matching scholarship dollars for next year’s class, or you would like to get involved as a mentor, please contact Champions For Learning at 643-4755.

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Congratulations to Our New College and Career Preparation Program Inductees!

On December 3, Champions For Learning inducted 65 11th grade students into the College and Career Preparation Program.

This program is provided at no cost to students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.

As participants in this program student will receive

  • Weekly college and career preparation curriculum in our on-site lab
  • Family workshops on college processes such as applications, financial aid and college planning
  • Naviance, a web-based tool that enables students to stay on track with college access tasks as well as ACT and SAT test preparation

Congratulations to the inductees!

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Champions For Learning to Name Five Suncoast Credit Union Scholars in 2019

The Suncoast Schools Credit Union Foundation is partnering with the Champions For Learning to offer five of $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2019.  Class of 2019 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.

Click here to download the application.

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children.  Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $22 million including more than 600 student scholarships valued at nearly $1 million.

“We believe the best way we can build better communities is by investing in education and health-related initiatives for children,” said Cindy Helton, Executive Director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “Through the Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program, we have the opportunity to invest in individual human potential, which is particularly rewarding.”

All applications must be received by 5pm on January 11, 2019  at the Champions For Learning office, 3606 Enterprise Avenue #150, Naples, FL  34104.

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Champions For Learning Announces Collier County Teachers of Distinction

Champions For Learning is proud to announce the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program’s 2018-2019 Teachers of Distinction. Each school nominated a teacher and best practice to highlight on behalf of their school. From this group of Teachers of Distinction, Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee will identify six (6) teachers to highlight as Golden Apple recipients. Click here to see the list of Teachers of Distinction.

In addition to a $250 cash award and multiple celebration activities, the Teachers of Distinction representing 55 schools, will have the opportunity to share their ideas and practices across the county with their colleagues and the community through this process.  With a vision of a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success, Champions For Learning creates opportunities for educators that support high impact learning experiences for every child.

The Teachers of Distinction and the Golden Apple recipients will be honored at the 29th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on March 29, 2019, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

We’d like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Suncoast Credit Union for all of the support they provide educators and students.  We would also like to thank additional Golden Apple Major Sponsors:  CenturyLink, Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News and NBC-2 Waterman Broadcasting

Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales click here.

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Champions For Learning Reveals Night of Champions Honorees

Champions For Learning is proud to announce their 2018-2019 Night of Champions honorees.

These honorees are being recognized at the Night of Champions event on Friday, February 1, 2019, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. These individuals will be honored for their impact on the lives of students through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement with educators or students. These honored Champions exemplify what it means to make a commitment to our students and their future.

The 2018-2019 Night of Champions honorees are: Ingrid & Fabrizio Aielli, Stacy & Todd Bradley, Corky & Chuck Carlsen, Yolanda Flores, The Florida Prepaid College Foundation, Mary Lynn Hill, Sharon Hood, Charles Kerwood III, Mike Martin, Dawna E. Pipersburg, Steve Pontius, and                                                                                 Carol Windfeldt

“We are honored to be highlighting these community leaders who have immense dedication to impacting students and teachers,” says Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. ” The Night of Champions honorees truly embody what it is to be a Champion.”

Proceeds for this event will support Champions For Learning student programs including College & Career Readiness programs and scholarships.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors:

Presenting sponsor: Capital Wealth Advisors

Major sponsors: eBella, Naples Daily News, Naples Illustarted, Suncoast Credit Union and Waterside Shops

Tickets for this event are $300. Table and event sponsorships are also available. For more information

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Champions For Learning Announces 2018 -2019 Board of Directors

Champions For Learning announces their 2018-2019 Board of Directors. This group of professionals and community leaders is committed to a vision of a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success.  Champions For Learning serves a unique role, as The Education Foundation of Collier County, in bringing the community together to support a culture of learning and innovation

“Our Board of Directors consists of individuals who are very dedicated to providing life-changing learning experiences to every student,” says Lynn Davidson, Board Chair. “Each board member brings their own expertise and passion to the organization and I am honored to serve among them. These community leaders exemplify that vision of our future in Collier County. “

Members of 2018-19 Board of Directors for Champions For Learning include:

  • Lynn Davidson, Board Chair, Retired Executive Vice President-Time Warner
  • William R. Barker, Immediate Past Chair, Southeast Regional President, USA Today Network and LocaliQ and president of the Naples Daily News and The News-Press
  • Chuck Carlsen, Vice Chair, Owner / CEO – Fluidall, Inc.
  • Beverly Feagin, Vice Chair, Retired Vice President- Securities Analyst & Investor Relations Consultant
  • Nancy Potter, Vice Chair, Founding Member- Nelson Auto Group
  • William M. Burke, Secretary, Attorney- Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester, PA
  • Kenneth P. Thomas, Treasurer, Community President- Huntington Private Bank
  • Danny Pate, At-Large Executive Committee, Vice President of Operations- CenturyLink
  • Mary Beth Geier, At-Large Executive Committee, Florida Director- Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
  • Susan McManus, PresidentChampions For Learning
  • William Beynon, President & CEO- Capital Wealth Advisors
  • Mike Christopher, General Manager at Naples Daily News, and GPS National Sales Director
  • Anne Fleming, General Manager- Waterside Shops
  • Bill Hall, Retired CEO- WL Hall Company
  • Michael Jean-Baptiste, Accountant- Gulfshore Insurance
  • Daniel Lampe, Senior Vice President- Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
  • Stephanie Lucarelli, School Board Vice Chair- Collier County Public Schools
  • Barbara Melvin, Vice President- First Florida Integrity Bank
  • Kamela Patton, Superintendent- Collier County Public Schools
  • Dawna E. Pipersburg, Owner & Manager- Rembrandt Accounting & Tax Services
  • Jacqueline Rodriguez, Vice President of Service Operations- Suncoast Credit Union
  • Martha Rozman, Marketing & Operations- Delta Air Lines
  • Mario Valle, Relationship Manager- PBS Construction Company

Champions For Learning (The Education Foundation of Collier County) has recently been awarded a 4-start rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

This is the sixth time that Champions For Learning has earned this top distinction. The 4-star rating is the highest possible rating and indicates that Champions For Learning adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way.

Champions For Learning is among only 23% of the charities evaluated who have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Champions For Learning outperforms most other charities in America.

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