2nd Annual Taco Cook-Off

Competition to be held at the Burroughs Home & Gardens October 15, 2019

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is pleased to support the 2nd Annual Taco Cook-Off between Lee County’s high school culinary programs.  The event is sponsored by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. The Foundation is hosting the event for the second year in the row. It will take place on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Burroughs Home & Gardens, 2505 First Street in Fort Myers, Florida.

Enjoy a fun filled evening while supporting our students with great food, music, raffle and silent auction items.  ProStart/Culinary high school instructors and students from four or five Lee County high schools will prepare a signature taco and a side dish. Guests will help select the “fan favorite” and celebrity judges will select the overall winner.

Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased on Eventbrite.  Proceeds from this event will go towards scholarships, classroom supplies, classroom equipment and state competitions to prepare students for the workforce.  Non-alcoholic beverages will be included in the ticket price.  Cash bar available for attendees 21 and over.

Get involved… (CLICK HERE to download event flyer/order/donor form) Sponsorships for each school team are available at $500 each.  Donations are also welcome for the raffle and auction.  Food and beverage sponsorships are also available by contacting Lois at LCroft@FRLA.org.

Individual Tickets On Sale for Uncommon Evening Gala

The Uncommon Friends Foundation has opened reservations for individual tickets at a cost of $150 per person for its 2018 Uncommon Evening Gala to be held on November 8, 2018. Sponsorships and full table reservations are also still available. To make reservations, contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at (239) 826-0556 or email Jennifer@UncommonFriends.org.

For the second consecutive year, the Jim and Ellie Newton Presenting Sponsor is Storm Smart Industries of Fort Myers, Florida, represented by CEO Brian Rist. Other event sponsors are:  Alliance Financial Group with Michael and Lynne Kimmich, Conditioned Air, Edison National Bank, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Weekly, Henderson Franklin, Home Tech, Lee Country Electric Cooperative (LCEC), Lee Health, M. La Croix, McGriff Insurance Services, The News-Press Media Group, and Wiltshire, Whitley, Richardson & English. Sunset cocktail reception and gourmet dinner will be catered by Artichoke & Company.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. It is located at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens at 2505 First Street. Its waterfront Gale McBride Pavilion is available for public and private weddings and events. Public tours of the historic home are available by reservation. For more information, visit www.uncommonfriends.org or call 239-337-9503.

UFF Announces Winners of 2018 Scholarships

Uncommon Friends Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018 student scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to deserving students, veterans, challenged adults, and single parents who are pursuing degrees in education, technology and other studies. Nominees came from Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry Counties, need financial assistance, excel in school and in their personal lives, and possess high character qualities.

Berne Davis Future Teacher Scholarship – Jessica Groll-Whipple (Fort Myers).

James D. Newton Student Chair in Leadership Scholarship at Florida Southwestern State College – Skylar Zamniak (Fort Myers).

Veteran’s Scholarship – Bryan Whitworth (Fort Myers).

Florida Prepaid Scholarship – Eudoxie Elidor (Naples).

Single Parent Scholarships – Alexandria Thompson (Cape Coral).

Health Sciences Scholarships (2) – Brindy Klym (Cape Coral) and Nicole Reyes-Sime (Lehigh Acres).

Eleanor “Ellie” Newton Student Chair in Literature Scholarship at Florida Southwestern State College – Michelle Mendoza (Lehigh Acres).

PACE Center for Girls of Lee County Scholarships (2) –Sabrina Valdes (Cape Coral); and scholarship funded by Sandy Stillwell Youngquist – Ivanna Tonge (Lehigh Acres).

James F. Chelius, Jr. Scholarship for a Disabled Student – Josefina Diaz (Ave Maria).

Technical College Scholarship – Enrique Jimenez (LaBelle).

Hilliard Scholarships (2) – Berniece Cervantes (LaBelle) and Daneisha Germany (Clewiston).

2018 Special Recognition Scholarships (3) – Gerardo Alvarado (Cape Coral), Maegan Mikkelson (Cape Coral), and Reginald St. Fort (Fort Myers).

Winners will be honored at the Uncommon Friends Foundation’s 2018 Uncommon Evening to be held Thursday, November 8, from 6 to 9 pm at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens. Event tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by emailing jennifer@uncommonfriends.org.

The annual scholarship committee is chaired by Uncommon Friends Foundation board member Susan Minaya and other volunteers. Working together with many community service organizations serving challenged, nontraditional and underserved populations, the committee identifies deserving individuals who will benefit through its needs- and character-based scholarships. Over the past 23 years under the direction of UFF board member Brenda Stewart, the Foundation has awarded $580,000 in educational scholarships to 475 deserving students.

Celebrating this year’s 25th anniversary of its founding, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. It is located at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens at 2505 First Street in downtown Fort Myers, Florida. Its waterfront Gale McBride Pavilion is available for public and private weddings and events. Public tours of the historic home are available by reservation. For more information, visit www.uncommonfriends.org or call 239-337-9503.

Scholarship Winners

UFF Adds Four New Board Members

The Uncommon Friends Foundation recently added four prominent, community business leaders to its board of directors—Jarrett Eady, Gary Eskin, Susan Minaya, and Brian Rist.

Jarrett Eady is currently chairman of the Lee County Black History Society and a Director of Diversity and Inclusion and AVID District Director of Lee County Schools. He is a 2004 political science graduate of Florida State University and has served on various Southwest Florida boards and leadership positions, including the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board. He was selected as Lee County School District’s Social Studies Teacher of the Year for the 2008-2009 school year.

Gary Eskin, CEO of Eskin Business Solutions has 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur, trainer and business consultant. Eskin Business Solutions helps companies create, drive and maintain high performing corporate cultures with a proven, easy-to-use system that gets good results. He is also on the board of directors for the March of Dimes and has served on other boards of directors over the years.

Susan M. Minaya, M.Ed., CPLP, SHRM-CSP is COO and Chief Learning Strategist at Minaya Learning Global Solutions LLC, a company she founded with her husband, Dr. Guido Minaya. She has more than 25 years of learning and development experience as a corporate learning executive, strategic consultant, learning strategist, instructional designer, instructor, and technical writer. She has experience in the fields of education, telecommunications, manufacturing, media and entertainment, technology, financial services, insurance, and nonprofits.She is also on the board of directors for the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.

Brian Rist is Executive Chairman of The Smart Companies. Its largest subsidiary, Storm Smart, is the largest manufacturer and installer of hurricane protection and lifestyle products. Rist has held top community leadership posts in the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, Southwest Regional Manufacturer’s Association, Lee County’s Horizon Foundation, Cape Coral Council for Progress, and the International Hurricane Protection Association. Past awards and honors include the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award (2015), Horizon Foundation’s Industry Appreciation Award for Corporate Expansion (2007), Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies (2006-2009), and Cape Coral Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Business Partner of the Year (2017).

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 1993 and dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. Its mission is to promote character education in schools, business ethics in the workplace and historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and James Newton Archives. It is located at the historic, riverfront Burroughs Home & Gardens at 2505 First Street in downtown Fort Myers, Florida 33901. For more information about historic tours or garden weddings, please visit https://uncommonfriends.org/ or contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503.

UFF Holds Annual Retreat and Announces 2018-2019 Officers

The Uncommon Friends Foundation recently held its annual board of directors retreat at Babcock Ranch and named its slate of officers for 2018-2019.

Marilyn Stout, City Council Member for District 3 of the City of Cape Coral was named president; Caryn Smith, CEO of Driven by Design LLC was named vice president; Kerri Goldsmith, CFP, CRPS, Financial Planner, HBKS Wealth Advisors became treasurer; Carlos Kelly, stockholder at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. was named secretary; and Helena Dabrowski, Director of Finance, Sunshine Ace Hardware became immediate past president.

Twenty-eight board members, Foundation staff, and meeting facilitators attended a full-day annual retreat held at The Hatchery at Babcock Ranch to review the past year and make plans for the future. Dr. Eric Dent led the program on ethics. New board members Gary Eskin of Eskin Business Solutions and Jarrett Eady, chairman of the Lee County Black History Society and a Director of Diversity and Inclusion and AVID District Director of Lee County Schools, moderated breakout sessions during the day. Craig Randall, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Management at Florida Gulf Coast University was also assisting with breakout sessions. A new speakers’ program is under development to complement the organization’s ethics agenda, a mainstay of its mission.

Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 1993 and  dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. Its mission is to promote character education in schools, business ethics in the workplace and historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and James Newton Archives. It is located at the historic, riverfront Burroughs Home & Gardens at 2505 First Street in downtown Fort Myers, Florida 33901. For more information about historic tours or garden weddings, please visit https://uncommonfriends.org/ or contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503.

FGCU Competes in SE Regional Business Ethics Case Competition

The Ethics Case Competition Team from Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Lutgert College of Business participated in the 4th Annual Southeast Regional Business Ethics Case Competition at Stetson University February 22 and 23. The FGCU team of students Dominic Dent and Kyle Johnson was led by faculty advisors Dr. Craig Randall and Dr. Eric Dent, Uncommon Friends Endowed Chair Professor of Ethics.

The FGCU team finished behind division winner, the University of Florida, and runner-up, Iowa State University. The Southeast Regional draws universities from all over the country, and this year, Canada. Two judges, both Stetson alumni, were from Southwest Florida: Helena Dabrowski, Director of Finance at Sunshine Ace Hardware, and Theo Etzel, CEO of Conditioned Air.

Etzel commented, “It was very refreshing to see the level of passion that the students put forth in coming to ethical, not just legal, approaches to solving business problems.”

The students addressed an actual, current business issue, how pharmaceutical company Allergan should proceed in an environment in which it has controversially transferred their patents of dry-eye medicine, Restasis, to the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Tribe. Students made recommendations taking into consideration ethical, financial, and legal implications.

“It was an exciting experience, and we all contributed and worked hard,” said Kyle Johnson.

Florida Gulf Coast University and the Uncommon Friends Foundation will host an ethics case competition for area high school students on May 12. For more information, visit http://UncommonFriends.org or call (239) 337-9503.

Call for Nominations for 2018 Business Ethics Award

Winner to be announced Nov. 8 at Uncommon Evening

The Uncommon Friends Foundation has opened nominations for the 2018 Business Ethics Award that are due by September 1. Businesses in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Glades Counties who consistently demonstrate a system-wide commitment to high ethical business practices are eligible. Businesses can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party. The online nomination form and detailed submission guidelines are available at www.uncommonfriends.org.  Independent judges will determine finalists and the winner.

Finalists will be announced in advance and honored at a special business ethics luncheon hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert School of Business and the Uncommon Friends Foundation on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. The recipient of the Business Ethics Award will be announced at the annual Uncommon Evening Gala on Thursday, November 8 at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens in Fort Myers.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. It is located at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens at 2505 First Street. Its waterfront Gale McBride Pavilion is available for public and private weddings and events. Public tours of the historic home are available by reservation. For more information, visit www.uncommonfriends.org or call 239-337-9503.

Uncommon Evening

“Reflections on the River”
Uncommon Evening

November 8, 2018 – 6 to 9 p.m.

Each year, the Uncommon Friends Foundation and its supporters gather to celebrate the core values and principles of the “Uncommon Friends,” and award scholarships to deserving recipients, recognize the efforts of a local educator who champions character education in the classroom, and showcase a local business which exemplifies high ethical standards. The Gale McBride Pavilion at the Burroughs Home and Gardens’ historical, riverfront setting is the host of one of the grandest social events of the season.

Guests can watch the sunset while visiting with new and old friends over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. During an elegant dinner, the Foundation’s leaders will announce the Business Ethics Award winner, the Character Education Champion Teacher Award winner, and student scholarship recipients.

We Count on Support from Our Community and Local Businesses!

The Uncommon Evening Gala is the Foundation’s Annual Signature Event, raising funds to support its efforts for character education, business ethics, scholarships, and historical preservation. Support of sponsors and individuals throughout our community is vital to our success. For more information, contact the Foundation’s office at 239-337-9503 or email Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at jennifer@uncommonfriends.org.

WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT,

Caryn Smith, Chair
Jennifer Nelson, Executive Director


2018 Uncommon Evening Gala Sponsorship Opportunities


  • Storm Smart

JIM & ELLIE NEWTON PRESENTING SPONSOR $10,000 (Sold)

On stage presentation of the Business Ethics Award to our 2018 recipient.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for eight and eight priority seating for dinner & awards. Your name & logo will be prominently displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations, the printed program, table sign, and news releases. 5% OF SPONSORSHIP GOES TO UFF SCHOLARSHIP FUND.


THE FOUNDERS SPONSORSHIP $7,500 (5 Available)

Take the stage to help present the Champion Teacher Award to our 2018 recipient and Introduce Speakers.
Includes cocktail reception for six and six priority seating for dinner & awards. Your name & logo will be displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations, the printed program, table sign, and news releases. 5% OF SPONSORSHIP GOES TO UFF SCHOLARSHIP FUND.


and Michael & Lynne Kimmich

UNCOMMON FRIENDS SPONSORSHIP $5,000 (5 Available) 2 SOLD

Take the stage to help present scholarships to students who exemplify character traits of the Uncommon Friends.
Includes cocktail reception for six guests and priority seating for dinner & awards. Your name & logo will be displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations, the printed program, table sign, and news releases. 5% OF SPONSORSHIP GOES TO UFF SCHOLARSHIP FUND.


BURROUGHS HOME ROOM SPONSORSHIP $3,000 (7 Available) 1 SOLD

Your company name or logo will be displayed in one of seven Burroughs Home rooms for a year to be seen by 20,000 guests who visit the Burroughs Home annually, including the popular Holiday House tours with thousands of guests. This is an ideal sponsorship if you are looking to grow your business.
Includes cocktail reception for four and four reserved dinner seats. Logo displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations, table sign, and printed program. 5% OF SPONSORSHIP GOES TO UFF SCHOLARSHIP FUND.


ENTERTAINMENT, HORS D’OEUVRE, COCKTAIL, DESSERT,
OR VALET SPONSORSHIP $2,500 (5 Available) 2 SOLD

Be the exclusive sponsor of one of the key elements of Uncommon Evening.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for four and four reserved dinner seats. Your logo will appear on signage at the event, on all event marketing materials, invitations, table signage, and printed program. 5% OF SPONSORSHIP GOES TO UFF SCHOLARSHIP FUND.


CUSTOM SPONSORSHIP (Limited Availability) 1 SOLD

If you have a creative idea to support the event, UFF Executive Director Jennifer Nelson and Event Chair Caryn Smith will meet with you to create a custom sponsorship package.


SCHOLARSHIP ANGEL SPONSOR $300

Underwrite attendance of a student scholarship winner and their guest.


NOTE: THIS IS THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.
Tables and Tickets will be released closer to the event only if available.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation would like to thank current Sponsors to the 25th Anniversary Celebration Uncommon Evening Gala 2018


Thank you to our Supporters:
Artichoke & Company CateringProudly Supporting Uncommon Evening’s Dining Experience for the 2nd year!
Create and Capture Photo Booth
Driven By Design LLC
Florida Weekly
Gail Dolan Marketing
Gill’s Illuminations
Man Bunns
New Beginnings Events
Red Door

Uncommon Evening Gala 2018 Sponsorships

Dear Friends,

We invite you to be a part of our Uncommon Friends Foundation 25th anniversary celebration in 2018!

The Southwest Florida region has a rich history. Since 1993, much of that history has been preserved by the efforts of the Uncommon Friends Foundation.

The Uncommon Evening GalaReflections on the River” to be held on November 8, 2018 at the beautiful Burroughs’ Home and Gardens will be the highlight of our year long celebration. Throughout the year, we are planning other events that will be engaging and fun, too! We hope you will be a part of our year-long festivities!

We want you to be a part of the story!

We invite you to be involved through Sponsorship. In return, you will enjoy added benefits throughout the year, not just at our very glamorous and well-attended Uncommon Evening Gala. These benefits include promotion as a “2018 Sponsor” during events we hold throughout the year, and also on our website, in social media, and for top sponsor categories in our press releases.

Please take a minute to review our 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPONSORSHIP LEVELS below to see where you fit in!

For your information, below is more information on the Foundation’s mission!

Let me take a minute to share EXACTLY what we uniquely do:

Our roots are firmly planted in the principles of “the men who invented the 20th century:” Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh, as remembered by their dear friend Jim Newton who wrote the book “Uncommon Friends,” and inspired the Foundation. (See https://uncommonfriends.org/home/our-history/).

It is fascinating to realize they walked our streets, ate at our local cafes, fished in our river, discussing inventions, technology and more …

Their combined imprint is a legacy only Southwest Florida can boast. The four pillars of our mission honor their values.

  • We provide a creative and professional Character Education Curriculum for students 3rd-8th grade and used by teachers to supplement the common core. It educates future leaders about the Uncommon Friends’ values, including ethics, honesty, perseverance, fortitude, problem solving, creative thinking, and the like. Each year, we honor a teacher at the Uncommon Evening who goes above and beyond with this curriculum as our “Champion Teacher for Character Education.”
  • We award Financial Scholarships to support college and technical training of “uncommon students;” those who fit particular criteria based on studies or life situation.
  • We uphold Ethics in Business, through the UFF endowment of the Chair of Business Ethics, at FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business, launched in 2006, and currently held by Dr. Eric Dent. Also, from three chosen finalists, at Uncommon Evening, we honor one local SWFLA business with the prestigious “Business Ethics Award.” We also conduct an annual “Ethics Competition” for local middle and high school students.
  • We preserve, maintain and manage the use of the Historic Burroughs Home & Gardens, built in 1901, no small endeavor as a national historic registry location. The Foundation also built the Gale McBride Pavilion to make the property more versatile for residents and business in SW FLA to enjoy use of the property.

As you can see, we have a unique mission that works to educate and support future leaders, celebrates excellence, and preserves our rich history.

As a SPONSOR of Uncommon Evening, you will also be CELEBRATED with us all year long.

We have plans for more events, seminars, and networking opportunities that we cannot accomplish without your support. We would be honored to have you partner with us this year.

As the 2018 Uncommon Evening Chairperson, I also serve on the UFF Executive committee. I am dedicated to increasing the scope of our positive impact in the region.

You can reach me directly at 239-738-3435 or connect@drivenbydesign.net with any questions, or contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at (239) 337.9503 or Jennifer@uncommonfriends.org to schedule a meeting to discuss your participation.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Caryn Smith

2018 Uncommon Evening Chair

& CEO of Driven By Design LLC

 

Jennifer I. Nelson

Executive Director


NOVEMBER 8, 2018 ~ 6-9PM
UNCOMMON EVENING GALA

SPONSORSHIP COMMITMENT


JIM & ELLIE NEWTON PRESENTING SPONSOR $10,000 (Sold)

Take the stage to present the Business Ethics Award to our 2017 winner.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for eight and eight priority dinner seats near the stage.
Your name and logo will be prominently displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations,
the printed program, table sign, and news releases. 5% of sponsorship goes to UFF Scholarship Fund.


UNCOMMON FRIENDS SPONSORSHIP $5,000 (5 Available) 2 SOLD

You will take the stage to present a scholarship to a student who exemplifies
the character traits of the Uncommon Friends.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for six guests and reserved dinner seats near the stage.
Your name and logo will be prominently displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations,
the printed program, table sign, and news releases. 5% of sponsorship goes to UFF Scholarship Fund.


BURROUGHS HOME ROOM SPONSORSHIP $3,000 (7 Available) 1 SOLD

Your company name or logo will be displayed in one of seven Burroughs Home rooms for a year, including popular Holiday House tours. 20,000 guests visit the Burroughs Home annually, so this is an ideal sponsorship if you are looking to grow your business.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for four and four reserved dinner seats.
Logo displayed on all event marketing materials, invitations, table sign, and printed program.
5% of sponsorship goes to UFF Scholarship Fund.


ENTERTAINMENT, HORS D’OEUVRE COCKTAIL, DESSERT,
OR VALET SPONSORSHIP $2,500 (5 Available) 2 SOLD

Be the exclusive sponsor of one of the key elements of Uncommon Evening.
Includes cocktail reception with dignitaries for four and four reserved dinner seats.
Your logo will appear on signage at the event, on all event marketing materials,
invitations, table signage, and printed program. 5% of sponsorship goes to UFF Scholarship Fund.


FOUNDATION SPONSOR $1,500 (Limited Availability)

Includes a reserved dinner table for six with a company sign.
Two scholarship winners may be seated at your table.


CUSTOM SPONSORSHIP (Limited Availability) 1 SOLD

If you’d like to discuss a creative idea for supporting the event, UFF Executive Director Jennifer Nelson
and Event Chair Kerri Goldsmith will meet with you to create a custom sponsorship package.


SCHOLARSHIP ANGEL SPONSOR $300

Underwrite attendance of a student scholarship winner and their guest.

FGCU Business Ethics Invitational

Uncommon Friends Foundation is excited to participate in the FGCU Business Ethics Invitational on Saturday, May 12th, from 9am – 1pm at the FGCU Lutgert College of Business.

Join us to solve an ethical challenge, with prizes going to the winning team! Lunch will be provided. Hope to see you there!

Click here for the flyer

Click here to register