Greater Naples Leadership Graduating Class XIX Celebrates With Milestone Gift to St. Matthew’s House

Greater Naples Leadership Graduating Class XIX Celebrates With Milestone Gift to St. Matthew’s House

For the past seven months, 40 members of the Naples area community have learned about the needs of the local civic and nonprofit community as part of the Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) Program.  This class, which graduated on March 27th, 2015, celebrated the completion of the program and began its commitment to the community with a very special gift—a $6,000 donation to St. Matthews House. This was the first time in 19 years of GNL that a graduating class had elected to take up a collection for one of the organizations it had visited during the class year.

Accepting the surprise gift were Reverend Vann Ellison, St. Matthew’s House President & CEO, Joseph Trachtenberg, Board Chairman, and Fawn Volkert, Director of Development. Class members Tom Lear and Stacy Vermylen of the GNL Class XIX recalled how their visits to the facility had touched their hearts and inspired the group to make the donation, as they presented the check.

“We are proud to show our support for what you do”, said GNL Class XIX Leader Stacy Vermylen. “Use it for whatever is most needed, with our thanks for the wonderful work that changes people’s lives for the better.”

GNL’s mission is to provide proven leaders with a unique opportunity to learn about the issues and needs in Collier County.  The Masters Program educates accomplished men and women about the issues in the county through a series of in-depth sessions throughout the year, covering all aspects of community life. One of these sessions, devoted to human services, included a visit to St. Matthew’s House, a transitional housing, food bank, and substance abuse recovery center. The group was given a tour of the facility, met with residents, and experienced the same lunch, cooked by SMH Catering staff, that is served to residents of St. Matthew’s House as they work towards finding employment, sobriety, and self-sufficiency

For more information about GNL, go to