NAPLES — The Naples Children & Education Foundation, the founding organization of the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival, has broken ground on its new, 15,000-square-foot headquarters building in Eagle View Professional Park on Goodlette-Frank Road in Naples.
The building will be home to NCEF’s operations, which provides an average $10 million annually to community programs serving more than 45,000 at-risk and underprivileged children, according to a statement.
Since its inception in 2000, NCEF has evolved into a major philanthropic force in Collier County with 134 trustees, 12 employees and more than 300 volunteers. Its role has expanded from traditional grant-making to local charities by adding strategic initiatives to fill gaps in children’s services and developing long-term collaborative solutions, the release adds.
“Our administrative activities have literally progressed from the founding trustees’ living rooms to several iterations of rented office and storage space at multiple locations,” says NCEF Chief Executive Officer Maria Jimenez-Lara in the statement. “This investment in a dedicated headquarters building is essential for NCEF to continue supporting the children of Collier County.”
NCEF has partnered with developers Alex and Fred Pezeshkan, general contractor DeAngelis Diamond and John Cooney and Randall Stofft of Stofft Cooney Architects on the project. The building is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2020.
With a budget of about $6.5 million for the headquarters, NCEF has embarked on a capital campaign separate from the organization’s signature fundraiser, the annual winter wine festival, which since 2001 has raised more than $191 million.
“This new building will establish a place of permanence and create a professional environment for the premier supporter of children’s physical, emotional and education services in Collier County,” says Barbie Hills, capital campaign co-chairperson and NCEF trustee, in the statement. “We are deepening our roots in the community and opening new doors for the children who depend upon our support.”