Catholic Charities E-News
Serving Southwest Florida 
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The Giving Partner
2012 Unity Awards
Eagle Scout Project
Gulf Coast Community Foundation Grant
Positive Youth Development Summer Program
School On Wheels Program
After School Reading Program
Plantation Community Foundation Grant
Disaster Amateur Radio Network
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 Spring 2012
Greetings!  We invite you to take a few minutes to learn more about the work of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. If you have any questions, reply and let us know. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family.

Catholic Charities offers Pledge Connect   

Catholic Charities now provides donors the option for secure web payments through Pledge Connect. Donors can now setup a recurring donation program through Pledge Connect.

Catholic Charities also will be able to use Pledge Connect for fundraising events and other services. Click HERE for more information about Pledge Connect. Click HERE to donate to Catholic Charities through Pledge Connect.

Catholic Charities profile available on online tool

The Giving Partner is a publicly available online tool that shares information about local charitable organizations and their programs, needs, governance, management and finances, offering a complete picture of their effectiveness and impact.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. is one of more than 100 nonprofit organizations with a complete profile on The Giving Partner. This new tool will help donors make more informed decisions about their philanthropy.


The Giving Partner is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Manatee Community Foundation, and the Patterson Foundation.


Click HERE to view our profile on The Giving Partner.  


Board member recognized for building diversity   

Catholic Charities Board Member
Manuel Chepote is flanked by Catholic Charities District Director Jacquie Crombie (left) and Catholic Charities Development Director Becky Higgins at the 2012 Unity Awards ceremony.  

Sarasota--Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. Board of Director Member Manuel Chepote was given the Small Business Award for the 2012 Unity Awards, which celebrate diversity in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


The initiative is sponsored by BIZ 941 and La Guia magazines where individuals, businesses and nonprofit organiations are recognized for building bridges to the diverse racial and ethnic groups in the region.


Chepote serves the Hispanic community. He sells insurance for Allstate in downtown Sarasota, but has often helped his clients with many other personal issues such as financial or medical problems, or immigration obstacles. Chepote also advocates for the Hispanic community and works with the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce and UnidosNow. 


Eagle Scout refurbishes bicycles for needy    


Eagle Scout Ben Barber with Sister Ann DeNicolo, Direct Assistance Caseworker for Catholic Charities of DeSoto County.  
Arcadia--Catholic Charities of DeSoto County will now be able to provide clients with much needed bicycles due to the hard work of Ben Barber. Barber collected and repaired more than 20 bicycles for his Eagle Scout Project for Troop #1001. As part of his project, Barber also purchased cable locks and air pumps for the bikes. Thank you Ben for your generosity!

For more information about Catholic Charities of DeSoto County, please call 863-494-1068.

Grant will afford program to assist more families    


Catholic Charities Financial Assistance Program Director Mary Koctur (left to right), Senior Vice President of Gulf Coast Community Foundation Mark Pritchett, and Catholic Charities District Director Jacquie Crombie. 
Venice--The Financial Assistance Program of Catholic Charities was awarded a grant from The Community Health Endowment Fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for $84,686 to assist low-income residents in South Sarasota County.


The Financial Assistance Program provides mortgage/rent and utility payments to families and individuals in an economic crisis. In 2011, the program received 1,571 requests for assistance from households in Sarasota County. More than $92,000 was provided to 156 families to prevent homelessness and/or utility turn off.


"Fear of homelessness and fear of having electricity and water turned off is a reality for many low-income families," said Mary Koctur, Program Director of the Financial Assistance Program. "Catholic Charities has been challenged to meet the volume of requests for help. This grant will afford us to assist an additional 50 Sarasota County households."


For more information about the Financial Assistance Program of Catholic Charities, please call 941-244-9490.

Summer campers need your help!

Bonita Springs--Catholic Charities of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties will be providing the Positive Youth Development Summer Program to needy children in both Fort Myers and Bonita Springs during June and July. The fees paid by parents for one child to participate is $160 for eight weeks of camp, however the actual cost per child is $400. The price difference is provided by generous donations from our supporters. You can help too!

The following are a few ways you can provide the children with special outings during summer camp:
  • Bowland Bowling Lanes ~ $350  

  • Community Swimming Pool ~ $105

  • Dollar Movie Days ~ $75

  • Sun-N-Fun Water Park ~ $400
  • Naples Zoo and Botanical Gardens ~ $600
  • King Richards Fun Park ~ $600  
  • Ice Cream Shop ~ $100

If you are interested in donating to the Positive Youth Development Summer Program, please call Catholic Charities of Bonita Springs at 239-390-0687.  



School on Wheels Program empowers women    


Immokalee--The School On Wheels Program of Catholic Charities is an English as a second language program that is held in the home of migrant or other disadvantaged women. The women in the program cannot go anywhere else to learn English because they have small children and/or lack transportation. The need for these women to speak English is essential to their survival.


Once a week, female volunteer tutors teach needy women basic, survival English during 90 minute sessions. These lessons empower the women to take better care of their families, gain employment, talk to teachers or doctors--to become more self-sufficient. The program currently has a waiting list of students because volunteer tutors are desperately needed.


The goal of the program is to empower women and give them confidence so they can lead better lives. If you are interested in volunteering for the School on Wheels Program, please call Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities at 239-657-6242. 



Tutor for reading program advocates for students    


MaryAnn Gebig
Mary Ann Gebig


Fort Myers--Mary Ann Gebig is a volunteer tutor for the African Caribbean American (AFCAAM) Center of Catholic Charities After School Reading Program for at-risk students. Click on the video to view her inspiring story!    

For more information about the After School Reading Program, please call 239-461-0233 or click HERE to visit the website.  



Plantation Community Foundation making a difference   

Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities Program Director Joyce Scott and Plantation Community Foundation Grant Committee Member Ellen Camp at the awards luncheon.


Venice--The Plantation Community Foundation recently held the annual Grant Awards Luncheon "honoring those who make South Sarasota County a better place in which to live." The foundation awarded 41 nonprofit organizations with grants totaling $120,000. Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities was an award recipient of $2,500. The grant will be used to purchase a Financial Instruction/Money Management Program for the mothers and children who reside at the program. Our Mother's House is committed to helping homeless mothers and their children attain self-sufficiency. For more information about Our Mother's House, please call 941-485-6264 or click HERE to visit the website. 



Group provides valuable assistance during emergency  


Members of the Disaster Amateur Radio Network of Catholic Charities at the annual meeting.

Venice--The 8th Annual Meeting of the Disaster Amateur Radio Network of Catholic Charities was held recently. The Disaster Amateur Radio Network (DARN) provides emergency/back-up communications for Catholic Charities Disaster Response Teams. DARN assists relief workers through a group of UHF/VHF base radio stations located in Venice, Port Charlotte, Naples, Fort Myers, Arcadia, and Sarasota. Operators man the base stations or personal radio equipment at home or in vehicles. Volunteer licensed FCC amateur radio operators are always needed. For more information about DARN, please call 941-497-5422 or click HERE to visit the website.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. serves the ten-county area of Southwest Florida.