Supporters ensure the show goes on for students in Immokalee

Southwest Florida loves a gala… The social aspects. The food. The décor. The ability to help a charitable cause.

Southwest Florida’s nonprofits love galas, too. Fundraising events amplify awareness for their causes and generate financial support that fuels their programs and services year-round.

One year ago, COVID-19 abruptly put an end to in-person gatherings. Today, the fundraising gala – a staple of high season in Naples – still hasn’t returned, at least in large gatherings.

Last spring, Guadalupe Center adopted a rallying cry of “The show must go on.” Education cannot stop because our children’s futures are riding on it. That’s why our teachers, staff and mentors immediately began connecting virtually to continue preparing students for the future.

Guadalupe Center’s annual fundraising gala, held every January, raises more than $1 million each year to fund education programs. Canceling the gala wouldn’t just cut $1 million from the budget; it would cut 1 million dreams and possibilities from the lives of students who depend on a high-quality education to overcome poverty. We couldn’t do that to our children, so, as we had been saying, the show must go on!

Circtacular was held Jan. 21 under the virtual big top. Going into it, there were questions about how the technology would work, whether guests would “attend” an event on their smart TV or tablet, and if attendees would donate in a less personal environment.

The livestream itself was entertaining, educational and enlightening. Circtacular played off its circus theme with special effects, circus acts, augmented reality and comedic performances. I was “volunteered” to take pies in the face if we met fundraising goals. We did, students gladly tossed cream pies at me during the livestream – nine times! – and I would gladly do it again to help raise money that supports our mission.

Circtacular was all about the unexpected. We didn’t know whether a virtual format would resonate with supporters, and they didn’t know exactly what the program would entail. We certainly didn’t want this to be just another Zoom presentation, so we set out to create a memorable, highly entertaining show that kept supporters on the edge of their seats.

During Circtacular, Guadalupe Center introduced its new “This is Me” campaign, which will tell the stories of Immokalee students whose lives are being transformed through education. “This is Me” stories showcase students’ determination, resilience and perseverance, and their stories prove that possibilities, opportunities and potential impact are endless.

The transformation in Immokalee has begun. It’s starting with education, and it’s starting at Guadalupe Center.

In-person galas typically feature live and silent auctions where guests can bid top dollar for exotic trips, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique gifts, but a livestreamed event presented too many logistical challenges. In-person galas also feature table sponsors, but that, too, couldn’t be part of a virtual event.

Instead, Guadalupe Center amplified its Jump Up for Education, which allows guests to make a donation and “jump up” to show their support. Unlike an auction, Jump Up supporters receive nothing in return. No trips to Europe. No dinner cruises. No jewelry. “Just” a donation to help transform a student’s life forever.

What were the results? Sixteen businesses and foundations stepped forward as Circtacular sponsors, and our virtual Jump Up for Education set an all-time fundraising record. In all, Guadalupe Center raised $1 million.

Our supporters stuck with us because they’re passionate about our cause and mission. Proceeds will allow Immokalee parents to send their children to a nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program. It will allow elementary-age students to attend the reading- and math-focused After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program. It will allow high school students to participate in the Tutor Corps Program, which not only prepares teens for college, but also provides scholarships so they can afford tuition.

Support helps students like Immokalee High School senior Marc Dorcin, whose family moved to the U.S. from Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Thanks to Guadalupe Center, “my future is filled with possibilities, including a college education,” he said.

Former Tutor Corps student Erika Arvizu, whose parents were migrant workers, received a full-ride college scholarship through Guadalupe Center and attended an out-of-state, private institution.

“It changed the trajectory of my life, and that is why I came back to Immokalee,” said Erika, who is now a first-grade teacher in Immokalee. “I know what Guadalupe Center did for me and I want to make sure other students have the same opportunities.”

Our team, our students and our community are incredibly grateful that the show did go on. The impacts of Circtacular will be felt for generations to come.

show goes on– By Dawn Montecalvo, President of Guadalupe Center

‘Circtacular’ raises over $950,000 for education programs in Immokalee

Guadalupe Center’s Circtacular, a circus-themed virtual fundraising extravaganza, raised more than $950,000 to support the nonprofit’s mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

Livestreamed on Jan. 21 under the virtual big top, Circtacular was filled with special effects, comedic performances, compelling videos, heartfelt testimonials and traditional circus acts, including juggling, augmented reality, circus animals and an all-time favorite – pies in the face of Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo after online donations surpassed fundraising goals.

Guadalupe Center’s signature event is the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser and traditionally kicks off Naples’ winter season of philanthropic formal galas. In 2021, Circtacular instead was livestreamed to smart TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones across Southwest Florida and beyond.

“All year, our rallying cry has been ‘The show must go on,’ which refers to both Circtacular and our education programs,” Montecalvo said. “We have remained student focused and mission forward because, in our eyes, nothing can stop education as long as enough people passionately care about it. We are incredibly thankful for the unwavering support of our sponsors and donors who are helping rewrite the stars for students and families in Immokalee.”

Circtacular’s audience of philanthropists, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs and educators received patron party boxes filled with mementos, including a clown bowtie, animal crackers, locally-made custom cookies, popcorn and salsa, and Guadalupe Center accessories such as hats and face masks. The show’s interactive program featured dozens of students who are benefiting from contributions made by generous Guadalupe Center supporters.

During the show, current and former students shared their personal stories through “This Is Me,” a new campaign that introduces the talented, inspiring students of Immokalee to Southwest Florida. One of those students was Marc Dorcin, whose family moved to the U.S. from Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He spoke no English at the time and was later assigned to remedial classes as a freshman at Immokalee High School. Now, after hard work under the tutelage of his mentors and staff at Guadalupe Center, Dorcin is enrolled in the rigorous Cambridge AICE program at school. Last year, his father passed away, and again Guadalupe Center stepped in to help, making sure he was still on track to graduate and pursue a college degree.

“Adversity is no longer my task-master; it will not control my future,” Dorcin said. “Instead, my future is filled with possibilities, including a college education.”

Circtacular’s primary fundraising mechanism was the Jump Up for Education, a lively interactive drive that allowed attendees to make a donation and “jump up” to show their support for Guadalupe Center. Donations large and small began pouring in, including a $100,000 match challenge from an anonymous donor.

Proceeds from Circtacular will support Guadalupe Center’s three educational programs: the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

Circtacular’s Big Top Sponsor was the Mary & Patrick McClain Foundation. Additional sponsors included Gamble Family Vineyards, Moorings Park Grande Lake/London Bay Development Group, Northern Trust, Priority Marketing, The Indium Corporation & Macartney Family Foundation, Heatherwood Construction, Waterside Shops, Carter, Elite Jets, Ficarra Design Associates and Infinite Professional Center. Media sponsors were Gulfshore Life/WINK, Life in Naples, Naples Daily News/LocaliQ and WAVV 101.1-FM.

Sharing co-hosting duties with Montecalvo was WINK News anchor Lindsey Sablan, who served as emcee. Auctioneer Greg Quiroga led the Jump Up for Education. 

WATCH: Circtacular

Tickets still available for Guadalupe Center’s ‘Circtacular’ on Jan. 21

Community members wanting to enhance education and create endless possibilities for students in Immokalee still have an opportunity to purchase tickets for Guadalupe Center’s Circtacular fundraising extravaganza.

The Jan. 21 virtual event will be livestreamed and help generate proceeds to support Guadalupe Center’s three educational programs: the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

“Our virtual event will be like one you’ve never seen before,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Far from the experience of a Zoom call, Circtacular will be a lively production filled with special effects, comedic performances, compelling videos, heartfelt testimonials from our students and interactive ways for the audience to make a difference.”

Circtacular also features Jump Up for Education, a lively interactive drive that allows attendees to make a donation and jump up to show their support for Guadalupe Center.

Three ticket options are available: Big Top Patron ($500 per couple), Ringmaster Patron ($250 per couple) and Entertainer Patron ($100 per couple).

Guadalupe Center also has announced this year’s generous sponsors for Circtacular. They include:

Big Top Sponsor: Mary & Patrick McClain Foundation

Ringmaster Sponsors: Gamble Family Vineyards, Moorings Park Grande Lake/London Bay Development Group, Northern Trust, Priority Marketing and The Indium Corporation & Macartney Family Foundation

Rewrite the Stars Sponsors: Heatherwood Construction and Waterside Shops

Circus Troupe Sponsors: Carter, Elite Jets, Ficarra Design Associates and Infinite Professional Center

Media Sponsors: Gulfshore Life/WINK, Life in Naples, Naples Daily News/LocaliQ, Spotlight Magazine and WAVV 101.1-FM

Ticket and giving opportunities are available by visiting GuadalupeCenter.org/Circtacular. For more information, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tammy Richelieu at 239-963-3668 or email TRichelieu@GuadalupeCenter.org. 

Guadalupe Center opens ‘Jump Up for Education’ in advance of Circtacular

The show must go on, and Guadalupe Center’s Circtacular, a virtual fundraising extravaganza set for Jan. 21, already has kicked off with its popular Jump Up for Education.

The Jump Up for Education is traditionally the highlight of Guadalupe Center’s annual fundraising gala, a lively, interactive drive to generate support that funds lifechanging education programs and fuels opportunities. The Jump Up for Education was aptly named more than 10 years ago after longtime supporter Phil Beuth implored event attendees to make a donation and then jump up to show their support for Guadalupe Center.

In 2021, Circtacular will be a livestreamed event, allowing a virtual audience of philanthropists, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs and educators to follow online as students share their compelling stories of personal challenges, achievements and ambitious goals.

“This year, we can’t ‘Jump Up’ together, but we still need the community’s support to empower our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “We’re asking supporters to help make a million dreams come true, and that’s exactly what happens when you provide access to high-quality educational programs – you’re creating endless possibilities for the next generation.”

The Jump Up has provided tuition assistance that allows parents to afford a high-quality early learning program for their children, college scholarships that allow students to earn valuable postsecondary degrees and support to hire and train teachers who guide students toward academic success.

Supporters can contribute to the Jump Up for Education in advance or during Circtacular. All gifts will be recognized throughout the livestreamed event. Proceeds help provide high-quality learning opportunities for more than 1,400 students annually through Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

Ticket and giving opportunities are still available by visiting GuadalupeCenter.org/Circtacular. For more information, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tammy Richelieu at 239-963-3668 or email TRichelieu@GuadalupeCenter.org. 

Guadalupe Center announces sponsorship opportunities for Circtacular virtual fundraising extravaganza

Guadalupe Center has announced five circus-themed sponsorship opportunities for Circtacular, a livestreamed fundraising extravaganza to be held under the virtual big top on Jan. 21.

The virtual event will be streamed to an audience of philanthropists, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs and educators across Southwest Florida and beyond. Proceeds from Circtacular will support Guadalupe Center’s mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

Circtacular’s top sponsorship level, the Presenting Sponsor, is still available. Benefits for the Presenting Sponsor include event passes, custom party boxes, naming rights to Circtacular’s signature cocktail, a 30-second pre-event commercial, pre-recorded video to air during the livestream, invitations to exclusive VIP events and a guest blog on GuadalupeCenter.org. The Presenting Sponsor also can provide promotional items for the custom party boxes as well as a “freemium” offer to all guests.

Sponsors will be recognized on Guadalupe Center’s donor wall and in marketing materials, traditional media and social media. The sponsorship levels include:

  • Presenting Sponsor ($50,000): Includes 20 virtual passes and five custom party boxes
  • Big Top Sponsor ($25,000): Includes 20 virtual passes and four custom party boxes
  • Ringmaster Sponsor ($10,000): Includes 10 virtual passes and three custom party boxes
  • Rewrite the Stars Sponsor ($5,000): Includes six virtual passes and two custom party boxes
  • Circus Troupe Sponsor ($3,000): Includes two virtual passes and one custom party box

Three virtual ticket options are available, each including a custom party box full of fun based on patron level: Big Top Patron ($500 per couple), Ringmaster Patron ($250 per couple) and Entertainer Patron ($100 per couple). The event will help support Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,400 students annually.

Circtacular’s tagline is “The Magic. The Mission. The Moment.” Guests are encouraged to host their own private watch parties and livestream the event on Thursday, Jan. 21.

For sponsorship or ticket opportunities, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tammy Richelieu at 239-963-3668 or email TRichelieu@GuadalupeCenter.org.

Philanthropy in uncertain times: How, and where, to make a difference

At this point each year, Southwest Florida’s philanthropic scene starts to explode with fundraising galas and special events.

The continued presence of COVID-19, however, is reshaping philanthropy here and across the nation. Formal fundraising galas, the type of black-tie affairs where nonprofits can raise $1 million or more in a single night, will be few and far between.

Instead, nonprofits are turning toward virtual events while identifying new opportunities to connect with and recognize their supporters. For example, Guadalupe Center’s Circtacular on Jan. 21 will be a livestreamed, circus-themed virtual event that captures the excitement and energy of the circus while demonstrating Guadalupe Center’s impact on education and poverty in Immokalee.

With no definitive end to the world’s health and economic crisis, philanthropic-minded individuals still recognize the community’s needs and the potential impact of their generosity. Without question, 2020 has been a challenging year for nonprofits. However, Southwest Florida is home to successful business leaders and entrepreneurs who value philanthropy and cherish opportunities to provide resources that will help nonprofits carry out their missions.

Below are four tips to consider when deciding how, and where, to make a difference in the community we call home.

Select a cause

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofits registered with the IRS. Nonprofits represent the arts, culture, humanities, education, research, environment, health care, human services, religion and many others.

When giving, consider causes near and dear to your heart. Sharing a personal connection with a cause strengthens the bond and creates a vested interest in an organization’s success.

Evaluate organizations

Donors want to feel confident that an organization is spending their contributions wisely while accomplishing its mission. Charity Navigator offers 4-star ratings to signify an organization’s financial strength, accountability and transparency. GuideStar offers platinum ratings to nonprofits that chart their success and accomplishments using verifiable data.

When giving, consider local nonprofits. These boots-on-the-ground organizations are the pulse of a thriving community. They may have relatively small budgets compared to national nonprofits, but they have big dreams and aspirations.

Determine the purpose

Learn about an organization’s specific needs and how your donation will help accomplish the nonprofit’s goals and objectives. Look for organizations that collaborate with others in the community. Ask for a tour. Nonprofits are proud to demonstrate their success.

Where possible, consider making an unrestricted gift to provide nonprofits with the greatest flexibility. Many organizations are unable to host traditional fundraising events and they’re facing uncertain financial futures, so flexibility is vital to helping the causes you care about.

Choose a gift type

Monetary donations and even multi-year pledges are among the easiest ways to contribute while also providing the most flexibility for an organization. Planned giving allows donors to create a legacy through appreciated stock, charitable rollover, charitable lead or remainder trusts, endowments and beneficiary designations.

When giving, consider an organization’s long-term needs. Gifts are needed today, tomorrow and beyond. Blended gifts can incorporate both cash and planned gift vehicles, allowing you to support the organization now and into the future. Supporters have designated Guadalupe Center, for instance, as beneficiaries in wills, trusts, life insurance policies and retirement plans, thus reducing the size of donors’ taxable estates before assets are transferred to heirs.

Nonprofits in Southwest Florida rely on philanthropy to carry out their work. Although 2020 introduced a host of new fundraising challenges, we’re blessed to live, work and play in a community that always comes through in times of need.

READ MORE: How to Give: Your Gift is Needed Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

fundraising– By Kelly Krupp, Senior Director of Philanthropy at Guadalupe Center

Mark your calendar: ‘Circtacular’ virtual fundraising extravaganza set for Jan. 21

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, prepare to be amazed at Circtacular, Guadalupe Center’s circus-themed virtual event to be livestreamed on Jan. 21. 

In 2021, Guadalupe Center’s signature fundraising gala will be a circus-themed virtual extravaganza featuring an interactive livestreaming experience that captures the excitement and energy of the circusRather than gathering under the big top, guests can join virtually to learn about Guadalupe Center’s tremendous impact on education and poverty in Immokalee. 

Circtacular’s tagline is “The Magic. The Mission. The Moment.” 

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but like they say, the show must go on,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Guadalupe Center has remained student-focused and mission-forward, ensuring that we continue providing high-quality education programs that help the children of Immokalee overcome poverty. 

The signature event is Guadalupe Center’s annual fundraising galaIn January, the flamingo-themed Be Flamazing event raised $1.2 million to benefit students in the Early Childhood Education, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment and Tutor Corps programs. Combined, the programs serve more than 1,400 students annually. 

Sponsorship opportunities for Circtacular start at $3,000 and can include recognition in marketing materialsprograms, news media and social media, as well as during the event. Additional sponsorship benefits include virtual event passes, custom party boxes delivered to guests and invitations to exclusive donor events. 

Circtacular will be held virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21. Guests are encouraged to host private dinner parties during the event and watch the livestreaming event. 

For sponsorship or ticket opportunities, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tammy Richelieu at 239-963-3668 or email TRichelieu@GuadalupeCenter.org.