May 2 Luncheon: Perceptions and Realities of Philanthropy in Southwest Florida

Join us on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. for our Press Club of Southwest Florida luncheon at the Tiburon Golf Club.

Our experienced and respected panelists will discuss the unique environment for philanthropy in Southwest Florida. They will dispel the perceptions and myths and provide examples of the community needs that exist locally and that are being met through collaborations and successful, innovative fundraising. You will learn about programs such as Give Where You Live, Naples Winter Wine Festival, matching grant programs, and other ways philanthropy is making a difference in our community. Our panelists are:

Eileen Connolly-Keesler

Eileen Connolly-Keesler is President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County, where she oversees the organization’s mission to address community needs by providing leadership and coordination through grant-making and fund development. The Community Foundation manages more than 700 funds, collaborates with more than 400 nonprofits, has almost $178 million in assets, and has distributed more than $137 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and community programs since its inception. She joined the organization in January 2013.

Mary Beth Geier

Mary Beth Geier serves as the Florida Director & Senior Program Officer for the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation (RMSFF), which is active in funding grants in Southwest Florida. Over the past four years, RMSFF has provided grants in excess of $26 million to local community organizations. As the Florida director, Mary Beth is responsible for the Collier and Lee county areas of interest for the foundation and performs site visits, prepares evaluations, and offers recommendations while serving as the liaison to the numerous charitable organizations in Lee and Collier counties. She also coordinates the Schulze Scholar Program in Collier County, which awards 15 four-year scholarships to graduating Collier County seniors who are attending a post-secondary university.

Maria Jimenez-Lara

Maria Jimenez-Lara is the CEO of the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the founding organization of the Naples Winter Wine Festival. She previously served as Director of Foundation Services and Grants Director for NCEF, responsible for overseeing the charitable grant process in conjunction with the trustee-driven Grant Committee. Prior to joining NCEF, Jimenez was Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s Director of Charter Schools. She brought more than 20 years of experience in program development, designing effective educational programs for at-risk children. Maria’s commitment to safeguarding the most vulnerable in our community is a natural fit with NCEF’s mission to support charitable programs that improve the physical, emotional, and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

Buffet lunch served. 

Cost: $30 members, $40 guests, $10 students

To reserve and pay for your ticket CLICK HERE

Or to pay at the door, e-mail

Use this email to indicate if you have special dietary requests (vegetarian, gluten-free).

Should you reserve and later discover you cannot attend, notify Rhona Saunders at or call 239-450-1215.

If you fail to cancel prior to the event, you will be billed for the lunch you reserved. Tiburon Golf and Country Club is located at 2620 Tiburon Drive, Naples.

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