Mornings With Gina Birch

Loving your neighbor is an instruction that goes back to biblical times. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some neighbors I neither liked nor loved so much. However, this is a broader, bigger concept and it is also the name of the premier fund raiser for The Heights Foundation in Fort Myers. The annual event was held last night and it was impressive to say the least. The small buy mighty crowd that gathered raised a whopping $1 million dollars for the programs supported by The Heights Foundation. This is how you can Love Your Neighbor in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral or wherever you call home.

How it all started

Gulf Harbor is an affluent community off of McGregor Blvd. Harlem Heights is less than two miles away on the well traveled Gladiolus Drive.  Before the Heights Foundation was established, this was a neighborhood I was told not to drive through at night and even use caution during the day. The community was crime ridden and the kids were living in poverty that was twice the rate of everywhere else in Lee County. The disparity between these two neighboring communities was huge. .

If one could just help lift the other up in a meaningful, sustainable way, wouldn’t it be good for everyone? Especially the kids. That was the idea Kathryn Kelly had when she established The Heights Foundation. Fast forward some 20 years and there are all kinds of programs, including a charter school, to support at risk kids and help their families. The goal is break the cycle of poverty in this community and for these kids.

The Heights Foundation has several fun fundraisers every year. This is typically the biggest. It has morphed into a plated dinner and live auction at the Heights Center, with a rooftop VIP party. I had the pleasure of being the emcee for the VIP portion last night and snapped a few photos. Congratulations on another great event and raising $1 million.

Here are some pics from Love Your Neighbor

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