Guest Comment: Celebrating Community Service

Many people new to the region are often unaware of local needs. They often remain in their gated communities, comfortably ignoring the housing, hunger, transportation, education and healthcare needs of the less fortunate among us. This lost sense of community service may not be unique to Collier County. Yet it is exacerbated by the annual influx of people from other parts of the country who are unfamiliar with our community. There are many ways to get involved. Find out how by attending the Volunteer Expo on Wednesday, November 10 at the Coastland Center Mall.

Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) strives to familiarize newcomers to Southwest Florida with local nonprofits by requiring prospective members to take our Master Class. Over our 25 years, nearly 1,000 highly accomplished individuals have participated in this course, which focuses on how best to meet community needs by getting involved with area nonprofits. Each year, we partner with other people and organizations to lend a helping hand where needed. Currently, our more than 500 active members are engaged in more than 200 nonprofit and civic organizations.

During the COVID pandemic, our members have organized and worked in countless food drives. The results have been impressive, as GNL members were responsible for over 80,000 meals delivered to approximately 25,000 families over the past 12 months. In doing so, our members continued their work with other local nonprofits focusing on education, social services, the environment, and the arts, among dozens of others. Several members also serve on county and city advisory boards and as elected officials.

As our members and other individuals and organizations give of their time, money and talent, the need continues to grow while public funds remain limited. We are always in need of volunteers and local support to help feed the hungry, mentor students, care for the mentally ill, house the homeless, and enable those who work in Collier County to enjoy their lives here. Also.

If you’re interested in contributing to our community but don’t know where to start, explore the options at the Volunteer Expo, taking place on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 3-6 p.m. at the Coastland Center shopping center in Naples. More than 50 non-profit and government organizations based in Collier County that need board members, committee members, or general volunteers will have exhibitor tables.

Admission is free, and you’re invited to network with representatives from these organizations, learn more about their missions, and find out what might be a good fit for your valuable investment of time. Register for the Volunteer Expo here.

GNL, along with Leadership Collier Foundation, the Community Foundation of Collier County and United Way of Southwest Florida, is pleased to sponsor this event.

Jerry Godshaw, president of Greater Naples Leadership.

(To learn more about GNL, please visit or call 239-300-7055 or email [email protected])

Jill E. Washington