A group of trustees of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. have generously pooled together to donate $110,000 to the Redwood Credit Union (RCU) Community Fund to benefit the Napa Valley and Sonoma County communities hardest hit by the recent fires. Trustees including Art and Bev Cherry, Dave and Cheryl Copham, Fred and Elaine Hawkins, Skip and Julie Leonard, Richard and Vicki Pitbladdo, Jason and Kelly Stephens, Tim and Sandy Youngquist, Bill and Deb Toler, Don and Andie Vogt and Wayne and Maria Wiles contributed to the RCU Community Fund, designating their dollars to be split between Napa and Sonoma counties to support the victims of the fires.

Long-time supporters of the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., Benovia Winery owners Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, have pledged to generously match their donation at $100,000, bringing the total raised to $210,000.

“We view the vintners and their employees as true partners in our philanthropy and we wish to support them in this time of disaster and need,” said Elaine Hawkins, trustee and president of the board of directors, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. “We watched the devastation brought about by the fires in true horror as lives and property were lost in a region that is dear to our hearts. As fellow ‘Benovians,’ we were inspired by the generous match offer of Benovia owners Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, and felt compelled to give back to the people and communities that we have come to appreciate and love.”

Celebrating its 10th year, the 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will feature uniquely themed Chef Vintner Dinners on March 2 at private venues, and The Grand Tasting and Live Auction on March 3 at Quail West Golf and Country Club, located at 5950 Burnham Rd. in Naples. One hundred percent of monies raised at the auction will benefit SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s primary beneficiaries; Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida SouthWestern State College.

To learn more about SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. and the 2018 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 have decided to donate 10% of the 2018 auction proceeds to four other organizations serving the needs of children in Southwest Florida: Salus Care, Ronald McDonald House, PACE, and the Heights Foundation. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.