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Surprise donation: Naples man gifts $17 million to Collier Community Foundation

Posted at 5:08 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 17:36:24-04

NAPLES, Fla — A local non-profit has received a big boost after a Naples man gifted them 17 million dollars before he died. The Collier Community Foundation says this massive donation will go directly into helping this community.

"We are very lucky, the community's very lucky," said Eileen Conneley Keesler, CEO and President of the Collier Community Foundation.

This week, the Collier Community Foundation says it was gifted approximately $17 million from the estate of a Naples man who passed away in September, 2023. It's the organization's largest donation in its 39-year history.

Since 1985, the group has worked with hundreds of non-profits to tackle community issues like affordable housing and hurricane recovery.

"So it will probably be a variety of things that this supports but it will be around probably human services disaster funding, housing environment – all these issues that are affecting our community right now," Keesler explained.

Jeffrey Provol, an 81-year-old philanthropist, donated the money. He died in September of last year. Eileen told Fox 4 the gift came as an unusual surprise.

"Jeff Proval is the donor and we had not met him, which is unusual to receive a gift of this size and not actually sat across the table and talk to somebody," Keesler said.

Not much is known about Provol other than the fact that he was private and wanted his money to go back into the community.

"I think he always wanted his estate to go where he knew it was going to make a difference," said Amy Dalen, Trustee for Proval's estate.

Dalen explained that Provol helped a lot of organizations while he was alive and wanted to continue helping those organizations when he passed away.

"He cared about Naples. I mean he lived in Pelican Bay and he truly cared about this area here, he cared about people. And he knew that the community foundation itself would be able to help the community however it needed to be helped," Dalen explained.

The Collier Community Foundation says it's still working on its plans for how it will use the $17 million. The foundation says it will be able to help hundreds if not thousands of people in Collier County.