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NCEF hosts summit to 'Raise the Grade'

Naples Winter Wine Festival to fund education
Naples Children & Education Foundation
Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 17:14:28-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Each year the Naples Children and Education Foundation has a funding initiative that goes along with its popular Naples Winter Wine Festival.

This week the foundation announced its Fund-A-Need campaign attached to the 2022 festival will be called "Raise The Grade." On Tuesday, the NCEF held an education summit to discuss its campaign and the needs of local educators and schools.

The summit brought together local educators to discuss education in Collier County. Educators discussed the challenges facing schools, specifically as students continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Every year we have a different initiative, a different call to action that's affiliated with the Naples Winter Wine Festival," said Maria Jimenez-Lara, CEO of the Naples Children & Education Foundation. "This year it will be on education, with a focus on early learning, out-of-school time, and college and career readiness."

The NCEF runs the Naples Winter Wine Festival, which has raised almost $220 million dollars since its inception in 2001. All that money goes to serve underprivileged and at-risk kids, Jimenez-Lara said.

The group's "Raise The Grade" initiative is separate from the wine festival. It is for anyone who doesn't win an auction item at the wine festival but still wants to give money.

Tuesday's education summit featured Collier County Public Schools superintendent Kamala Patton. Also on the discussion panel were Susan Block, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, and Yolanda Flores, administrative director of Lorenzo Walker Technical College.