SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to supporting health care and health science education in Southwest Florida, recently presented $2.7 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, with $1 million designated to address the vital need for children’s mental and behavioral health programs. Contributions were raised through the 2017 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s annual signature fundraising event.

Over the past nine years, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. has raised $16,350,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, making the organization the second largest donor next to Tom Golisano. Funds were raised in support of the building of the new state-of-the-art facility, as well as for special funding initiatives including NICU incubator beds, a neonatal and pediatric ambulance, pediatric surgical equipment, pediatric cardiology, children’s mental and behavioral health programs, and pediatric cancer.

“We are grateful for the endless generosity of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. and for our community’s dedication to providing exceptional health care to our region’s youngest patients,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO for Lee Health. “It is through the continued support of our community that Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is able to make great strides in health care, and we are thankful for the ability to further enhance the level of services and programs that benefit the future of our children.”

“SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. is thrilled to present Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida with funds that enable children and families to receive lifesaving care close to home,” said Elaine Hawkins, trustee and president of the board of directors, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. “We are thankful for all who came together to advocate for pediatric health care and support essential mental and behavioral health programs for Southwest Florida’s most vulnerable children, and we are eager to see the positive impacts that Golisano’s work will continue to make within our region.”

The 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will take place on March 2 and 3. The two-day signature event will feature uniquely themed Chef Vintner Dinners on March 2, held at private venues throughout Southwest Florida. The Grand Tasting and Live Auction will be held Saturday, March 3 at Quail West Golf and Country Club, located at 5950 Burnham Rd. in Naples. To learn more about SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. and the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised $18.7 million over the past nine years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The trustees and sponsors underwrite the event and the nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. donates 100 percent of the auction proceeds to three primary local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the most significant beneficiary of the event, which provides health services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. grants funds to Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida SouthWestern State College to provide scholarships and equipment to educate the community’s next generation of pediatric health care professionals, and is considering grants to other children’s causes in Southwest Florida from 2018 proceeds. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.