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Finalists for UNITE Award announced

January 10, 2014
Special to The Breeze ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has announced that the Bob Janes Triage Center/Low Demand Shelter, Families First: Children's Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida Inc. and Child Care of Southwest Florida Inc. and Southwest Florida Addiction Services/Lee Mental Health Merger have been named the three finalists in the inaugural UNITE (Uniting Nonprofits In Teaming for Excellence) Award.

Established by Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA and supported by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties, the Unite Award is a regional award that recognizes successful nonprofit collaborative models across the five county area that exemplify excellence and community impact. Its goal is to provide information to the nonprofit community about collaborative models that have succeeded in our area and to share proven effective practices for nonprofits working together.

The first winner of the $25,000 award will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the annual Myers, Brettholtz & Company's full-day nonprofit seminar held at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, located at 1380 Colonial Blvd., in Fort Myers. In addition, each of the runners up will receive $2,500 thanks to funding made available by a private individual who wished to reward the other finalists for their dedication to collaboration in the community.

"Each of the 27 entries we received were inspiring," said Lori Sampson-Wilson, principal of Myers, Brettholtz. "It clearly shows that our regional nonprofits are working together to achieve positive collaborative results."

The Bob Janes Triage Center/Low Demand Shelter is a collaboration with the Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, law enforcement, Lee Memorial Health System, SalusCare, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the United Way.

The center serves primarily as a voluntary pre-arrest diversion program to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders that are arrested and sent to jail for minor offenses.

Fact Box


To be eligible for the first years award, a collaboration must:

- Be based in the five-county Southwest Florida area (Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades)

- Involve two or more entities (i.e., nonprofit organizations, businesses, and/or government agencies)

- Include a lead organization that is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

- Have a structure that is evidenced by a formal written agreement (i.e., memorandum of understanding, contract or merger agreement)

- Be able to demonstrate the impact of the collaboration through measurable outcomes

- Have been in operation for a minimum of 18 months, with a formal written agreement in place no later than March 1, 2012

Families First is a collaboration of the Children's Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, Inc. and Child Care of Southwest Florida, Inc. This community-based early intervention/prevention program is designed to help young families deal with risk factors associated with violence and abuse.

The merger between the area's leading agencies for mental health and substance abuse disorders, Southwest Florida Addiction Services and SalusCare, created a new not-for-profit entity allowing more patients to receive needed care, more access points for care and ease in registering for treatment.

For more information on the UNITE Award, call 239-939-5775 or visit Myers, Brettholtz & Company's website at, the Southwest Florida Com-munity Foundation's website at or the United Way's website at

Since 1979, Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has been working with nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida's five-county region, helping them achieve their goals. The company serves clients across the nation by performing accounting and auditing, tax preparation, bookkeeping and consulting.



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