Grumbling stomachs and blurry vision begone for underprivileged schoolchildren, and forget about any out-of-school distractions.
That’s happening in Collier County thanks to the Naples Children & Education Foundation earmarking $3.8 million this year toward three initiatives to address vision, hunger and out-of-school programs.
The foundation sponsors the Naples Winter Wine Festival annually to raise money for charities that serve local children.
Funding for long-term strategic initiatives is separate from annual grants to charities, but both are made possible because of money raised at the wine festival. The 2015 festival was held Jan. 23-25. Annual grant awards will be announced March 9.
In 2005 and 2010, the foundation commissioned studies to identify significant gaps in children’s services, leading to long-term initiatives involving multiple partners for comprehensive solutions. To date, $42 million has been dedicated to seven long-term endeavors.
The vision initiative, called “Now You See It,” will receive $1 million over three years from the $3.8 million awarded this year, according to a recent NCEF announcement.
The program is a collaboration of the Bonita Springs Lions Eye Clinic, Florida’s Vision Quest and Lighthouse of Collier. About 20,000 children a year are screened.