The Women’s Foundation of Collier County has named Alice Arena, a longtime supporter of the Guadalupe Center, as one of its 2018 Women of Initiative award winners.
Arena, of Naples, has served as a volunteer, mentor and board member of Guadalupe Center for nearly a decade, and is a firm believer in its core mission “to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.”
“Alice is a shining example of what it means to truly dedicate yourself to a cause,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of the Guadalupe Center. “From the moment Alice learned about our mission, she has done everything in her power – and then some – to ensure that the next generation of Immokalee youth will have the resources, knowledge and guidance to succeed in the classroom, in their careers and in their lives.”
The Women of Initiative program honors community leaders who are an inspiration to all women by seeking to make a difference through philanthropy and civic engagement. The 10 remarkable women being honored in 2018 have demonstrated significant leadership ability, innovation, energy and dedication of their time and talent to change the face of Southwest Florida.
“The Women’s Foundation of Collier County has a proud tradition of honoring strong women in our community who have made a difference in the lives of our local women and girls, and this year is no exception,” said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County, which manages the Women’s Foundation fund. “The 2018 Women of Initiative honorees are an inspiration to us all and remind us of the importance of investing in programs that benefit our biggest asset – the future of our community.”
Arena first learned of the Guadalupe Center while touring the Immokalee facility with her bridge club friends. Shortly thereafter, she joined the board of directors. Arena also has served on Guadalupe Center’s advisory board and development committee, which pursues funding sources to help Guadalupe Center fulfil its mission. Arena has chaired three signature fundraising events, including the Taste of New York gala that raised more than $1 million. Arena has also been a dedicated mentor to Immokalee High School students in the Tutor Corps program, offering guidance, leadership and inspiration as teens work toward college admittance.
Arena also serves on the NCH Healthcare Foundation’s board of directors and the Greater Naples Leadership’s membership committee. Her previous philanthropic endeavors include the Junior League, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, The Chicago Symphony, The Chicago City Ballet, Vatican Art Council, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Washington Ballet and the International Committee of the New York City Ballet.
Arena is a graduate of Pasadena City College and attended the University of California-Irvine to study business and marketing. She founded an interior design business and sold residential real estate, and together with her husband of 50 years, Angelo, the couple are involved in commercial real estate.
About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 94 percent exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100 percent of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 90 percent graduated with a post-secondary degree.