Posts

Historic Burroughs Home & Gardens to Re-Open June 22nd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       

Contact: Jennifer Nelson, Executive Director Uncommon Friends Foundation 

Phone: 239.337.9503

Email: Jennifer@uncommonfriends.org

Historic Burroughs Home & Gardens to Re-Open June 22nd

Event Venue and Tours will resume while following precautions

FORT MYERS, FL( June 8,2020) . The Uncommon Friends Foundation leadership team has been following the State’s phased plan to reopen Florida’s economy and has been working closely with the State Administration, Florida Attractions Association and industry partners to identify the appropriate timing and protocols for the Burroughs Home and Garden’s to safely welcome the public back for educational tours as well as to resume hosting weddings and other celebratory gatherings.  The historic property and grounds will open starting Monday June 22nd.

Historical tours will be available Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10am-2pm.  The Facility will be cleaned and disinfected daily using approved and effective antimicrobial solutions after each tour and high touch areas will be regularly cleaned throughout the day.  Admissions will be touchless, with tickets being sold through the online portal for a specific arrival time and will be limited to no more than 50 people, which is well below the 50% building occupancy threshold.  Sanitation stations have been added throughout the home and grounds along with over 50 instructional signs that direct traffic flow to insure social distancing guidelines are followed.  Staff will also wear masks at all times when engaging with the public. 

The Event Venue will be available Monday through Sunday from 10am to 11pm with a limited capacity of no more than 150 people, in accordance with the phase II guidelines set by the Governor’s Order.  Much like the tours, the facility will be thoroughly cleaned before and after each event and all staff will be required to wear masks when engaging with the public.  7 Sanitation Stations have been placed throughout public areas and instructional signs have been placed throughout the home’s interior, exterior, porches, gazebos, riverside pavilion and grounds to insure proper social distancing.  

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1993 and dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders, as well as historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and Gardens and the James Newton Archives. It is located in the historic Burroughs Home and Gardens at 2505 First Street in downtown Fort Myers, Florida 33901. To schedule home tours, garden and waterfront weddings, or hold glamorous events in our new outdoor pavilion, please visit https://uncommonfriends.org  or contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503 or at jennifer@uncommonfriends.org 

 

Dr. Michael Martin to be the keynote speaker at the Uncommon Evening Gala – November 14, 2019

Dr. Michael Martin, President of Florida Gulf Coast University

Michael V. Martin, Ph.D., President of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) will be the featured keynote speaker at the annual Uncommon Evening Gala to be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019. The event chair is Alexandra Bremner, who will be assisted by co-chair Donna Lovejoy. Save the date and plan to arrive before sunset to enjoy mingling with dignitaries and guests as the sun sets below the horizon and the dinner and awards program begin at 7:00 p.m. and run to 9:00 p.m. Read more

Waterfront Food and Brew Festival Here May 25

Lush law and gardens stretch out to the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers

Food, beer and live music enthusiasts are invited to the first-ever River District Food and Brew Festival on Saturday, May 25 from noon to 8:00 p.m. at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens located right on the waterfront at 2505 First Street in Fort Myers. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/river-district-food-and-brew-festival-tickets-60146051459?aff=ebdssbdestsearch for $30. All guests must be at least 21 years of age to attend. 100% of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Uncommon Friends Foundation.

This festival is the only area festival set on the waterfront and is expected to become a popular annual event. Guests will enjoy live music from Steve Farst’s acoustic guitar and other performers, with unlimited cold beer samples and great food from eight or more independent Southwest Florida craft breweries and restaurants. Just pitch a lawn chair or blanket on the lush, shaded lawn and relax as you enjoy the expansive waterfront views, craft beers, food, and fun activities. There will be onsite seating and tables for mixing and mingling. Free parking is available across the street behind the historic Langford-Kingston home at 2500 First Street. Please visit www.rdfoodandbrew.com for the latest details and information.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is celebrating its 26th anniversary in 2019 and is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. It strives to inspire future leaders toward excellence of character, a spirit of innovation, and a sense of purpose. Through character education, business ethics programs, scholarships, and historic preservation of the Burroughs property, the Foundation carries on the generational values of Fort Myers businessman Jim Newton and his friends Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindburgh. For more information, call 239-337-9503.

Distinguished Speakers Series - An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration

“An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration”

The Uncommon Friends Foundation’s Distinguished Speakers Series presents “An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration” on April 10, 2019, featuring three courageous military heroes who have 77 years of military service among them. Two were also captured, imprisoned and tortured, requiring them to summon immense courage and fortitude to outsmart captors and survive captivity. All three went on to successful careers of leadership and service to their country.

Honored speakers will be retired Army MG James L. Dozier, retired, Air Force Lt Col Gary L. Peppers, and retired Air Force CPT Wayne O. Smith. Hear each officer relate his own compelling story of strength and perseverance and how they survived very difficult experiences and eventually returned home and continued to serve others for good. The program will run from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Gale McBride Pavilion at the Burroughs Home & Gardens, located at 2505 First Street in Fort Myers, FL 33901, preceded by a social hour from 5 – 6 p.m. Appetizers and beverages will be served. For reservations, call Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503 or at jennifer@uncommonfriends.org. Ticket prices are $50 for adults and $15 for students.

Purchase Tickets >

James L Dozier portrait

James L Dozier

General Dozier is an international terrorism expert who served 35 years in the Army from 1950 to 1985. He was stationed in Italy in 1981 when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and held by terrorists of the Red Brigades who were known to maim and kill high value captives. He was rescued by a special operations unit of the Italian police after 42 days of interrogation and torture.

Gary Pepper

Gary Peppers

Colonel Peppers served 33 years in the Air Force (1971 – 2000 and 2009 – 2013) as a military pilot with over 4,000 hours of high-stress air combat missions in a wide variety of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and remote-controlled MQ-1V Predators in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the campaign to overthrow Gaddafi’s government in Libya in 2011.

Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith

Captain Smith flew 90 air combat missions over Vietnam before being shot down and taken prisoner on January 18, 1968. He was a captive for over five harrowing years in the notorious prison camp known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where he, Navy Lt. Cmdr. John S. McCain 3d, and countless others were malnourished and severely tortured. He was among 108 prisoners who were freed on March 14, 1973 during “Operation Homecoming.”

Major Gray Davis

Gray Davis

Uncommon Friends Foundation board member and past president Gray Davis, Agency Executive and Senior Vice President of McGriff Insurance Services will moderate the panel discussion. Major Davis retired after 21 years in the Navy and Marines, earning the Marine Corps Commendation medal as the Commanding Officer of the largest Enemy Prisoner of War facility in Marine Corps history.

Russell Budd Bart Zino Kimberly Ortegon Mark Simmons

PBS Contractors Wins 2018 Business Ethics Award

PBS Contractors of Naples, Florida received the 2018 Business Ethics Award from the Uncommon Friends Foundation at its annual Uncommon Evening Gala held Thursday, November 8 at the Burroughs Home & Gardens on the Fort Myers riverfront. PBS Contractors is a luxury residential and commercial builder and remodeler serving South Lee and Collier Counties and was represented by Russell Budd, CEO/Owner, Bart Zino, Kimberly Ortegon, and Mark Simmons.

Brian Rist, President and CEO of title sponsor Storm Smart, presented the Business Ethics Award to PBS Contractors before an audience of business, education and community leaders and student scholarship winners.  Other finalists in attendance were Chris-Tel Construction of Fort Myers, represented by President Howard L. Wheeler II and Priority Marketing of Fort Myers, represented by President/Creative Director Teri Hansen, APR.

Known as a concierge builder that puts people before profits, PBS Contractors has been on a mission since its founding in 1986 to build better lives for its team, its clients, and its community. At the cornerstone of PBS are 28 guiding principles that it refers to as, “The PBS Way.” Rather than defining corporate values, they instead defined fundamental behaviors that, in turn, guide the day-to-day ethical actions and choices of their 35 employees. For example, Fundamental #2 is, “Do the right thing. Always.” and Fundamental #5 is “Honor Commitments.” Everyone at PBS Contractors, from entry level to senior management, lives and practices the 28 fundamentals daily to guide decisions and actions, resulting in extraordinary customer satisfaction and superior structures. For more information, visit www.pbscontractors.com or call (239) 643-6527.

Dr. Karen Serrell and Rachel Mas

Rachel Mas was named the 2018 Character Education Teacher of the Year. She is an educator at Cypress Lake Middle School, where she teaches Spanish and Intensive Reading. She holds a BA in Education from Florida SouthWest College (2009), has served in the United States Army for 15 years, and is currently an Army Reservist in Cape Coral, Florida, serving as her unit’s Equal Opportunity Representative and UPL chairperson. She believes character education is just as important as students’ core disciplines in their overall education and development.

Marilyn Stout presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Gray Davis SWFBT

Gray Davis was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service to the Uncommon Friends Foundation, including seven years serving as the chairman of the board of directors (2009 to 2016). Davis is Agency Executive/Senior Vice President of McGriff Insurance Services, a member of BB&T Holdings, the fifth largest independent insurance agency in the United States and the world.He was instrumental in raising donations to build the Gale McBride Pavilion in 2015 and also in establishing the Hilliard Student Scholarships to Florida Gulf Coast University. He holds an MBA in finance from Walden University and an Executive MBA from Babson College and is a veteran of the United States Navy and a retired member of the United States Marine Corps.

Board chair Marilyn Stout recognized the many contributions of both Brenda Stewart and Jody Van Cooney, who have voluntarily served in scholarship, board, PR, and various capacities over the last twenty years and who have been of enormous help to the Foundation.

Caryn Smith, CEO of Driven by Design Marketing & Publishing, chaired the 25th anniversary event. The evening’s title sponsor was Storm Smart; other major sponsors were: Conditioned Air, Florida Weekly, Home-Tech, Inc., Edison National Bank, Kiwanis of Cape Coral, and The News-Press Media Group.

UFF Announces Business Ethics Award Finalists for 2018

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is pleased to announce the finalists for its 2018 Business Ethics Award. The finalists are Chris-Tel Construction, PBS Contractors and Priority Marketing.

As part of the final judging, finalists and area business leaders will jointly participate at the 13th Annual Ethical Leadership Conference on October 23 hosted by the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University. The round table discussion will focus on ethical challenges Southwest Florida executives face in business. The winner of the Business Ethics Award will be announced at the Uncommon Friends Foundation’s annual Uncommon Evening Gala to be held November 8at the Burroughs Home & Gardens, 2505 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901.

Past winners of the Uncommon Friends Foundation Business Ethics Award include Pushing the Envelope (2017), CPR Tools, Inc. (2016), CRS Technology (2015), Sunshine Ace Hardware (2014), Ted Todd Insurance Agency (2013), Hope HealthCare Services (2012), Conditioned Air (2011), Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company (2010), Shell Point Retirement Community (2009), Bonita Bay Group (2008), WilsonMiller, Inc. (2007),  and HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation (2006).

For information on Uncommon Evening tickets and sponsorships, contact Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503 or at jennifer@uncommonfriends.org. Visit www.uncommonfriends.org for full sponsorship details.

Erin Brockovich to Speak on Clean Water Issues

The Burroughs Home & Gardens will host a panel of speakers that includes Erin Brockovich on the topic of clean water on October 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Burroughs Homes and Gardens, located at 2505 First St. in Fort Myers, Florida. Other panelists will represent the Calusa Water Keeper, Captains for Clean Water, and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. The panel discussion will serve as an opportunity for participants to educate the audience about clean water challenges in Southwest Florida. A press conference will follow the round table discussion at 3:00 p.m.

Ms. Brockovich is a consumer advocate and environmental activist. She is best known for her involvement in one of the largest direct-action lawsuits in U.S. history and is the subject of the 2000 film,“Erin Brockovich.”

Calusa Waterkeeper is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of the Caloosahatchee River & Estuary, Lake Okeechobee, Nicodemus Slough, Charlotte Harbor, Estero Bay, the near-shore waters of Lee County and their watersheds through education and promotion of responsible use and enjoyment by all people.

Captains for Clean Water is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for the elimination of harmful, large-scale Lake Okeechobee discharges into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River estuaries by restoring the natural flow of Lake Okeechobee water South into the Everglades and Florida Bay. Restoring the natural southern flow of Lake Okeechobee water is essential to the survival of our estuaries, the health of the Everglades, and the long-term viability of South Florida’s largest drinking water source, the Biscayne Aquifer.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. From its earliest days, SCCF has been known as a land trust with an impressive acquisition record. The story of SCCF’s land conservation efforts spans almost five decades on the islands on Sanibel, Captiva, Buck Key, Albright, York, Coconut and the Long Cut preserve on Pine Island.

“We are pleased to host such an informed group of speakers to share their knowledge with the public about a topic that affects each of the residents in Southwest Florida,” said Bob Bowcock, managing director of Integrated Resources Water.

There will be limited seating, so guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for lawn seating. There is no fee for entry; however donations are greatly appreciated and will be split between the four participating organizations tohelp defray the event costs.

The Gale McBride Pavilion is located at 2505 First Street, Fort Myers, Florida, on the property of the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens, a 1901 Georgian Revival riverfront mansion that sits on 2.45 acres overlooking the Caloosahatchee River in historic, downtown Fort Myers. The property is maintained by the Uncommon Friends Foundation, celebrating its 25th year in 2018 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works to inspire future leaders toward excellence of character, a spirit of innovation, and a sense of purpose. Through character education, business ethics, scholarship and historic preservation, the foundation carries on the generational values of Fort Myers businessman Jim Newton and his personal friends: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh. Public tours of the historic home are available by reservation. For more information, visit www.uncommonfriends.orgor call 239-337-9503.

2016 Business Ethics Award Nominations is September 1

The deadline for the 2016 Uncommon Friends Foundation’s annual Business Ethics Award nominations is fast approaching. Applications are due by Thursday, September 1. While time is short, there’s still time to apply.

High quality companies from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades Counties are eligible to apply for the prestigious award. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a strong internal commitment to ethical leadership and decision making practices. If your company is one that takes the high road in contacts and dealings with employees, customers, vendors, and the public, you might want to consider applying for this year’s Business Ethics Award.

Interested candidates are asked to complete the online application at https://uncommonfriends.org/business-ethics.

The Business Ethics Award finalists will be announced in advance and the winner will be revealed at the upcoming 2016 Uncommon Evening on Thursday, November 3 at the historic Burroughs Home and Gardens in downtown Fort Myers.

L to R, Front Row: John Joyce, Erika Anderson, Leah Rotondo, and Julie Klein. Back Row: Rodney Anderson, Scott Wingerter, CEO Jordi Tejero, Brittni Tejero, Neal Klein, and Taylor Joyce

Last year the Business Ethics Award went to CRS Technology Consultants of Cape Coral. Other recent winners have been Sunshine Ace Hardware, Ted Todd Insurance, Shell Point Retirement Community, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., Conditioned Air, and Hope Healthcare Services.

For more information on the nomination process or Uncommon Evening, contact Angela Melvin at (239) 337-9503 or email her at angela@uncommonfriends.org

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1993 and dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders.

UFF Seeks 2016 Business Ethics Award Nominations

The 2016 Uncommon Friends Foundation Business Ethics Award nomination deadline has been extended to September 1 to accommodate the arrival of the new Florida Gulf Coast University Chair of Business Ethics, Dr. Eric Dent, who will help lead the nomination team.  The Chair of Business Ethics position is funded in part by an endowment offered through the Uncommon Friends Foundation and is a staple of its mission to raise the bar of the ethical culture of businesses in Southwest Florida.

Businesses and individuals who demonstrate a commitment to ethics within their organizations are encouraged to apply for the award. Companies are asked to provide examples of ethical leadership and decision making in their everyday business and customer interactions, as well as with their marketing, communications and sales practices.

Former Uncommon Friends Foundation Business Ethics Award winners include CRS Technology Consultants, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Ted Todd Insurance, HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation, WilsonMiller, Inc., Bonita Bay Group, Shell Point Retirement Community, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., Conditioned Air, and Hope Healthcare Services.

Nominees from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades Counties are eligible to apply at https://uncommonfriends.org/business-ethics. The Business Ethics Award winner will be announced at the 2016 Uncommon Evening event on Thursday, November 3, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. held at the historic Burroughs Home and Gardens at 2505 First Street in downtown Fort Myers. For more information on the nomination process or Uncommon Evening, contact angela@uncommonfriends.org.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1993 and dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. For more information, call (239) 337-9503 or visit https://uncommonfriends.org/

 

Uncommon Friends Foundation Elects New Officers

John Albion

The Uncommon Friends Foundation held its annual board of directors meeting June 28 at the Gale McBride Pavilion at the Burroughs Home & Gardens, 2505 First Street in Fort Myers.

Vice President and an Uncommon Friends Foundation co-founder John Albion, a director at Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Property Southwest Florida, was elected president. After a record seven years at the helm, Gray Davis, agency executive, senior Vice-President at BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, stepped down as president and into the role of immediate past president.

Helena Dabrowski, director of Finance at Sunshine Ace Hardware, was elevated from treasurer to vice president and City of Cape Coral Council Member Marilyn Stout was elected as treasurer. Hunter Martin, a group vehicle repair manager at Enterprise Holdings, agreed to remain as secretary.

Newly elected board members include Kerri Goldsmith, a financial advisor with HBKS Wealth Advisors, and Joanne Robertson, director of administration and community relations for the Lee County Tax Collector’s Office.

Returning board members include: City of Fort Myers Council Member Gaile Anthony; Alexandra Bremner,  an educator at Allen Park Elementary School; Tom Gunderson, stockholder, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.; Tom Hoolihan, Jr. an owner of Tommy Hoolihan’s Resort Lifestyle Center; Lee County School Board member Pam LaRiviere; Dr. Karen Serrell, Professional Development and Leadership Specialist, School District of Lee County; Caryn Smith, CEO, Driven by Design; Brenda Stewart, retired legal assistant; and Ted Todd, principal at Ted Todd Insurance, Inc.  Executive Director Angela Melvin is an ex-officio member of the board.

Uncommon Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1993. The Foundation is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. The Foundation also manages the historic Burroughs Home and Gardens. For more information, please visit https://uncommonfriends.org/ or call 239-337-9503.

Portfolio Items