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Capital Campaign to Save Southwest Florida a Major Success
Conservancy honors donors in ceremonial "outpouring of support", reveals new logo
Watch our May 10th Celebration video here.
Read the Naples Daily News article here.
NAPLES, Fla. (May 10, 2011) - The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has raised $38.5 million dollars, meeting its five-year "Saving Southwest Florida" Capital Campaign goal, the largest environmental campaign in Collier County and one of the largest in the state of Florida. The funding will support core Conservancy programs and endowment for ongoing and future policy, advocacy, environmental science, research and education. This includes the renovation and construction of new sustainable buildings at the Conservancy to transform the 21-acre campus into the premier Nature Center in the southeastern United States. More than 100 guests including Conservancy members, donors, staff and local dignitaries, celebrated as Conservancy Board of Director Chairman Dolph von Arx and "Saving Southwest Florida" Campaign Cabinet Co-Chairman Tuck Tyler poured water into a four-foot cylinder to measure the campaign’s success and to honor the more than 1,000 individuals who gave to the campaign.
"The water overflow into the basin reflects the outpouring of support that the Conservancy has received throughout the campaign," says Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president and CEO.
"Every drop of water represents someone’s commitment to protecting Southwest Florida’s environment. Every coin, every dollar, every check has made today possible, and we thank you for your continued dedication and support."
During the event, representatives with the state of Florida, Collier County Commission and the City of Naples proclaimed May 10, 2011 as "Saving Southwest Florida Day," honoring the Conservancy and Campaign donors for their commitment to protecting Southwest Florida’s environment.
Built in 1984, the original Conservancy buildings have become outdated, cramped and energy inefficient. The "Saving Southwest Florida" Campaign will fund the renovation and construction of sustainable buildings at the Conservancy Nature Center. These projects, which meet stringent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, include the new von Arx Wildlife Clinic, Dalton Discovery Center, Ferguson Learning Labs, Eaton Conservation Hall and the Sugden Gomez Environmental Planning Center. A major portion of the campaign funds provided the resources to purchase additional land and build a new entrance to open access to the Conservancy Nature Center from Goodlette-Frank Road: Smith Preserve Way. Ultimately, this new entrance may also provide access to the future Gordon River Greenway Park. Part of achieving this goal was funding for the eight acres of property the Conservancy purchased from the Fleischmann family. This valuable natural upland and scrub habitat, located between the Conservancy Nature Center and Goodlette-Frank Road, is now safe from major development and is known as the Christopher B. Smith preserve. The Conservancy Nature Center campus renovations are expected to be completed by late 2012.
"Today is about so much more than celebrating a big number," says von Arx. "Numbers alone do not tell the story. This Campaign began as a call to action in response to threats to our water, land and wildlife. What matters most is the faith the community has in the Conservancy to use those dollars to support and protect our quality of life future for generations."
To support the core programs and mission of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, endowments for policy, education, science and research ensure support for ongoing and future programs and resources.
"Funding to support ongoing programs and the people who drive the work advances a higher quality of life for the region and is critical to the Conservancy mission," adds von Arx. "It allows the Conservancy to recruit the brightest people to protect our future - enabling these talented individuals to influence policies, shape legislation, negotiate for smart development, preserve our water and remain on the cutting edge of science, research, education and wildlife rehabilitation."
Endowment funding includes:
- A new strategic partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University to focus on enhanced environmental education.
- Support for sea turtle research, monitoring and protection.
- Resources for wildlife rehabilitation training and veterinary services.
- Funds for policy and advocacy efforts for ongoing and future work.
- Support for research projects such as Everglades restoration and water quality research.
"As we celebrate today’s accomplishments, we are reminded that our work continues," says Tyler. "The generous gifts from our donors, members, staff, volunteers and the community have better prepared us to take on the challenges of the future. On behalf of my Campaign co-chairs Jane Pearsall and Nick Penniman, we are grateful for your ongoing support to protect Southwest Florida today and into the future."
To conclude the celebration, the Conservancy retired the "Saving Southwest Florida" Capital Campaign logo and revealed its new logo, symbolizing the new horizons for the Conservancy.
"The eagle has been part of our history at the Conservancy and remains the main feature of the new logo," says Rob Moher, Conservancy vice president of development and marketing. "Its keen eyesight keeps track of our environment and it is not afraid to stand up for what is right. Once on the endangered species list, it represents hope for all native wildlife." Moher continued, "The water and land features of the logo reinforce our mission. And lastly, yellow was added as a new color to signify the dawning of a new age and a bright future for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to protect the region’s quality of life."