In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

What do you care about sketchIt started with a cocktail napkin; the proverbial locale for the million dollar idea.

As the Southwest Florida Community Foundation prepared for its “Evening of Gratitude” and annual appeal, staff and board members strategized on how best to communicate the impact contributors have on the SWF community. According to Development Director Carolyn Rogers, one board member boiled it down perfectly suggesting that whatever the message was, it should be able to fit on a cocktail napkin.

With that concept, the talented team designed the event logo (shown left) to look like a hand-written diagram on a cocktail napkin, highlighting five causes: Arts, Animals, Education, People/Social, and the Environment with the web site for the annual report. Not only was this the theme, but cocktail napkins were available and attendees were asked to take one and view the Foundation’s annual report on line at their leisure.

This Trifecta of evenings provided donors with a new approach to an annual event that was inviting, personal, and truly inspirational. With live performances at cultural venues by local singing sensation Zak Dobbins and pianist Yasuhiko “Yaz” Fukuoka, Gratitude Nuit  delivered on all levels.

Throughout the evening, attendees were given a voice for the causes that matter most to them, as CEO Sarah Owen shared inspirational stories accompanied by the music of Zak and Yaz, while gently conveying the results of the Foundation’s community outreach. It was truly inspiring.

As a frequent attendee of fundraisers, I found this approach refreshing and appealing.  The SWF Community Foundation is creating opportunities for donors to leave a legacy and have impact. Check out the amazing website. It’s colorful, informative, and uplifting, and will leave you feeling positive about the good being done in our community.

Promotional Incentives at Southwest Florida Community Foundation

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Child Care of Southwest Florida

It’s funny how you can work with an organization for some time before really grasping what it is they do. That is the scenario for me with Child Care of Southwest Florida. I knew they did a lot for the community by providing affordable day care for hard working-class families, but I had no idea the scope and quality of the multitude of educational opportunities offered.

They’ve been raising awareness to the importance of early childhood structured education with a “Kindergarten is Too Late” campaign. To add visibility, CCSWF contacted Promotional Incentives for promotional buttons, and they’ve been “Getting Results.”  Board members, contributors and community leaders are signing up to don the buttons to promote awareness.

Gumby meets Childcare of SW Florida

When I received an E-vite to tour a CCSWF Center, I signed up to go with a friend to take a one-hour tour of the Messina Center in Fort Myers.

From the moment I arrived, an air of positive energy emanated from the clean and tidy facility. Children and adults were equally delighted to see each other.

I witnessed several kids actually skipping to get in the door. Kind of squashed my pre-conceived notion of day care providers. The few memories I have of pre-school, after school or daycare, was they were pretty much an undesirable alternative to being home with mom.

Messina Center Director Tammy Aronson is an amazing woman, and integral to the success of this (more than just) day care provider. She smiles constantly as she shows us each brightly colored and spatially organized room.

As we walk down the halls with decorated walls, CCSWF Executive Director Beth Lobdell beams with pride as she describes the revolutionary software program (Teaching Strategies GOLD) that allows the leaders to tailor focus the curriculum to meet the individually educational needs of each student. This software has been made available thanks to generous contributions from members of our community.

I’m in awe of the hours of operation: 6:30 am to 11:30 pm most days of the week. Workers split long shifts, and are encouraged to retire to the comfortable couch in the staff room to regroup and reenergize.

Then we follow the homey scent, and go into the kitchen to meet their chef in residence, Carolyn Henderson who is preparing an appealing and nutritious dinner for the second shift. I learn about their ingenuity in their plan to provide healthy meals that kids would eat. You know what they did? It’s revolutionary folks…they asked the kids!

Much against perception, the youth chose well: baby carrots over mushy peas, fresh spinach salads over overcooked canned spinach; with homemade macaroni & cheese and all-beef hot dogs a weekly treat, who wouldn’t be happy?!

Every staff member greets us politely and exudes enthusiasm for their career. Sabrina Perez is a vibrant, energetic soul who exudes her love of children. Her teaching style offers wonderful imaginative ways of helping children engage in active learning.

Beth and I introduce her to P.I. Gumby.  She beams with excitement when I tell her our promotion whereby we encourage people to take Gumby with them, both in their travels, or at work, and we post the photos in social media outlets with links to their website.

Smiling, Sabrina carries P.I. Gumby off to plan fun ways to use him as an educational instrument.  This clever collage is a result of Sabrina’s creativity.

We wind our way through the mosaic tiled walkways lined with art prepared by the children and teachers, see the vegetables and native Florida plants growing. They invite parents to sit at the picnic table and watch their children “Show & Tell” of the activities they’ve been doing, giving the parent a first-hand view of what their children are learning at this child care facility.

The tour is available to anyone interested in finding more about this influential organization, and incredible educational asset for our community.

Child Care of Southwest Florida

Dreams Do Come True at the 2013 Boston Red Sox Children’s Hospital Celebrity Classic

Dreams do come true, as I recently experienced the ultimate combination of business and pleasure when our company sponsored the 2013 Boston Red Sox Children’s Celebrity Classic, a signature event that has raised millions for The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Upping the ante for the 20th anniversary event: a jaw-dropping matching contributions by two generous donors, Tom Golisano (for whom the Children’s Hospital is now named) and a pair of anonymous donors. Though still being tabulated, the two-day event raised $685,000!

To commemorate this special occasion, Lee Memorial Health System Foundation asked Promotional Incentives to provide the coveted ‘swag’ bags. A stylish durable duffle bag was selected as the commemorative for this landmark tournament.

The two-tone bag was imprinted with three logos: Red Sox 20th Anniversary Celebrity Classic, the new Golisano Children’s Hospital, and the image of Promotional Incentives Gumby with the phrase, “P.I. Gumby loves children and the Green Monster!”

Included in the bag full of giveaways and coupons, was a green Sharpie® imprinted with the “Going Green with Promotional Incentives” logo. The permanent marker was an ideal giveaway for celebrity autographs and identifying golf balls. Promotional Incentives Promotional Bag for Red Sox Classic

Several of the LMHS Foundation staff commenting on the high quality of the duffle bag. “It’s definitely the best bag we’ve ever had,” said Katy Martinez, special events coordinator for the Foundation.

Thursday night’s Tee Party was filled with sports celebrities and incredible opportunities for special events and memorabilia. Baseball greats Mike Greenwell, Luis Tiant and Jim Rice along with special guest University of South Carolina football head coach Steve Spurrier signed autographs and shared stories with the attendees. Part of the dream come true was my brother, a lifelong Red Sox fan, had the unique opportunity to share one of his personal memories with Mike Greenwell.

Also present were local celebrities such as Kelly Burns, always generously gives time and enthusiastic flair to facilitate bidding, LMHS leaders Jim Nathan and Sharon McDonald, were on hand to meet and greet. Dustin and Stefanie Ink-Edwards, who inaugurated a Mud Run that raised $100,000 for The Children’s Hospital, gave personal testimony to the hospital that saved their children’s lives.

The staff of The Forest Country Club were outstanding – from bartenders, wait and bus staff, to managers and directors, all helped insure a successful event. It’s no wonder they are the host every year.  During the tournament, duffers were greeted warmly by residents eager to share helpful hints and encouragement. Sponsoring this amazing event was a fitting celebration of our 22nd anniversary.Promotional Incentives at Red Sox Celebrity Classic

LucyStephanie Ink-Edwards’ daughter plays with P.I. Gumby.   The Promotional Incentives foursome – the only one in the field with matching team shirts!  PromoLucy celebrates with event coorRSCC_2013 031dinator Katy Martinez at the Tee Party.

Third Annual Love That Dress! Over $100,000 Raised!

Seven Hundred Women, Three Thousand Dresses

700 women. 3,000 dresses. Fifty pounds of chocolate, mango passion fruit martinis, rhinestones and bling, taffeta and satin, wedges to stilettos; haute couture fashion, frivolity, spirit-lifting dance music, and beaucoup girlfriend camaraderie, converged at the 4th Annual Love That Dress!

The inordinate number of hours and impressive sponsorship dollars are indicative of the passion this community has for Believing in Girls, helping young women chart a new course in their lives through PACE Center for Girls.

What started as a casual idea from two women discussing over cocktails what to wear to the next gala, has developed into a trademarked, signature event that raises thousands of dollars for PACE in several Florida communities.

The out-of-the-ballpark VIP suites elevated the level of contributors to the third floor providing concierge service and a status that was the envy of all those who attended. These generous and influential supporters added significantly to the proceeds.

Frequent and clever are the opportunities to contribute and take home some cool swag. The newly added ‘mall-type’ photo booth is a perfect example of adding to the fun and the total. The silent auction offered a bevy of female-desired products and services. The bidding was heated and down to the wire; always a good sign at a fundraiser.

Sebrie Images Photography Copyright 2012 | Promotional Items supplied by Promotional Incentives, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Sebrie Images Photography Copyright 2012 | Promotional Items supplied by Promotional Incentives, Inc.

Accessories from White House Black Market and others sold out quickly with savvy shoppers who know the value of wardrobe accents. PACE bling shirts and hats were available at a reasonable price (courtesy of Promotional Incentives, Inc.), giving ladies the opportunity to promote Pace while looking great. Wearing one of these eye-catching garments is sure to solicit comments about the organization thereby enhancing community awareness.

And if you get to the checkout kiosk, and still feel like you haven’t contributed enough, one can always round up their total and give a little extra to the Center.

Although it may be unfair to single out individuals among the sea of volunteerettes, there are a few worthy of public recognition. The first “shout-out” goes to Christin Collins who birthed the idea four years ago. With her talent and immeasurable energy, Director of development Melissa Cofta gives her heart and soul to this event, and continues to astound.

Co-chairs Amy Sanford and Kendra Sutton brought the event to new heights, in stature and grace under pressure.  Cindy Lastovica and Barb Stevens, would have had the time clock spinning for all the hours they contributed by organizing dozens of volunteers, all with a perpetual smile on their faces. And of course the Embassy Suites’ staff continues to perform at a level worthy of a five star resort.

The most elusive kudos of the night goes to the weather. For the first time in years, women dressed to the nines did not have to arrive in torrential rains.

Brimming with fun, chic-iness and charitable hearts, Love That Dress! rocked the community once again.

To volunteer, sponsor, find out more information about PACE, go to www.pacecenter.org/lee or call (239) 425-2366.

NAWIC 21st Annual Block Kids Program a Big Hit!

A Great Cause for Our Community

On Friday February 10th, NAWIC (The National Association of Women in Construction), SWFL Chapter, hosted their 21st Annual Block Kids Program, at Tice Elementary School for the second and third grade students.
Promotional Incentives | NAWIC Block Kids

Our Block Kids program is designed as an educational tool, to promote the construction industry by allowing the students from grades 1-6 to “build construction projects” with plastic building blocks as their “construction materials”. The program was created in 1990. Since launching the program, more than 300,000 children have participated. The overall winner of this event was Emilio Martinez of Tice Elementary. He is a 3rd grader.

Each child is presented a hardhat, commemorative T-shirt, and blueprint. Along with 100 plastic building blocks, a string, aluminum foil and a rock they create masterpieces. Southwest Florida businesses pledge sponsorships and provide judges for the students’ work. Awards and Trophies are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each grade category.

It was our pleasure at Promotional Incentives, Inc. to provide the Commemorative T-shirts for this event over the past 6 years.

National Testimonials

“It was awesome to see 200 students at one time
so intent on building their unique projects”
Darlynn D., PTA Secretary
Kenneth Murphy Elementary School
Beach Park, IL

“Our community members are still talking
about our successful Block Kids event. It was
especially memorable for my neighbor, who
won the event. He is now sure that he wants to
be a construction engineer”
Glenn Hillegas, Principal
Stanley E. Foster
Construction Tech Academy
San Diego, CA

Gumby seen at 21st NAWIC Block Kids

Gumby Seen at 21st NAWIC Block Kids

Climbing to New Heights

The Chamber of Southwest Florida

The 2010 Class of the Chamber of Southwest Florida’s Leadership Lee County program led the way to kick off the final phase of fundraising for The Heights Foundation in its mission to restart construction on the Harlem Heights Cultural Arts & Community Center.

The group raised $37,000 in donations from the Community UP Rising event held on June 1 at the Heights Center. To add a little fun and color to the ground breaking, Promotional Incentives provided Heights Foundation with bright orange construction hats (orange is one of the predominant colors in the Heights Foundation logo); a low cost, highly visible promotional item worn by dignitaries, board members, sponsors and the general public to share the excitement of this incredible endeavor for the southwest Florida community.

Heights Foundation Board Member Carolyn Gora

HF Advisory Committee Carolyn Gora

Craig Scott and Victor Mayeron

Craig Scott and Victor Mayeron, President of HF Board of Directors

The Center will provide with enhanced access to the arts and improved education, training and enrichment programs for the residents of Harlem Heights and surrounding neighborhoods of Harlem Heights. With nearly $450,000 of the $6.5 million capital campaign goal remaining to be raised, members of Leadership Lee County are still asking the community to support the building the project.

Promoting a Worthy Cause

Advancing Worthy Causes

One of our primary missions at Promotional Incentives is to help worthy causes advance their goals, awareness & fundraising efforts.

The Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center took on an important initiative to increase the awareness of elder abuse by spearheading a new coalition called Lee Elder Abuse Prevention Partnership (LEAPP). With the help of a federal grant, the Center embarked on an ambitious program to promote prevention of this growing problem in our community.

To identify the program a logo was designed using the acronym LEAPP with an icon that would be eye-catching and memorable.

In addition to educational programs, LEAPP’s steering committee felt that reasonably priced, promotional products were important in targeting their market with this message and keeping the issue out in front of the community.

Low-priced, quality pens with the LEAPP logo were chosen as a handout for events, seminars and presentations. Once someone is exposed to the issue, it is the hope of the new coalition that they will be more aware of, look for signs, and report elder abuse.

At a local public event to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, small bottles of bubbles were given out as an item to have fun while reducing stress. The LEAPP logo was on the bottle lid as a subtle reminder of the prevention initiative.

Dotty St. Amand of the Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center and Dan Daniels of Adult Protective Services Support from Lee County Sheriff's Department