On November 12th, Mrs. Lavern Gaynor was recognized as the Outstanding Philanthropist for 2015 by the Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as part of the annual National Philanthropy Day celebration. She was joined by her family, friends, many community members and two of the Take Stock in Children graduates that she helped to support, Nasha Etienne a student at FGCU and Missa Desir a student at FSW.
Mrs. Lavern Gaynor and the Norris family have had a long standing commitment to this community. Her personal passion and leadership has contributed to the education of youth at Champions For Learning over the past 15 years.
She is very committed to the opportunity for all students to have access to higher education, and has supported the Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program. She educated her children in Europe and knows well how difficult it is to learn another language, and sees significant value in this kind of scholarship and mentoring program.
Mrs. Gaynor has demonstrated her encouragement of others and support of innovative approaches through her support of the collaborative Connect Now community engagement initiative which began in 2008. Conversations were held in virtually every zip code to articulate our community’s common aspirations for education. The conversation work continues to this day and gives Champions For Learning an ongoing opportunity to learn and fulfill its key role in engaging the community in enriching the environment for student learning.
Mrs. Gaynor has been supportive of and involved in many organizations in addition to Champions For Learning, including Youth Haven, Naples Alliance For Children, Children’s Service Council, the YMCA, and Hodges University.
In addition, Mrs. Gaynor saw a great need for our local community and in particular, students, to gain a better understanding of our local history, and founded the Naples Backyard History organization. A key opportunity emerged when the historic Indian Canal was discovered through this work in Old Naples. Mrs. Gaynor ensured that local students were involved in this project.
Connecting people to the contributions that came before them, helps everyone work together to make the contributions to our future.