Guadalupe Galaxy creates ‘out-of-this-world’ experience for gala guests

Guadalupe Center’s signature fundraising gala, Guadalupe Galaxy, featured out-of-this-world entertainment and galaxy-inspired décor as patrons joined forces with the nonprofit to enhance education programs for students in Immokalee.

Held Jan. 20 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, guests at Guadalupe Galaxy enjoyed cocktails, dinner, heartwarming student performances and speakers, a live auction and the Jump Up for Education, a popular interactive call to action that allows attendees to make donations and jump up to show their support for Guadalupe Center.

Guadalupe Center also created a virtual attendance option that allowed guests to watch a livestream and participate remotely. The gala raised more than $1.2 million to support Guadalupe Center’s mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

“This event was a huge success and its impact will be felt on the students of Immokalee for generations to come,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Everyone in attendance – sponsors, donors, volunteers and staff – helped ensure that the students we serve will continue benefiting from investments in a high-quality education.”

The nonprofit serves more than 1,750 students annually through its nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

One of those students is Hiram Edgar Martinez-Santos, a senior at Immokalee High School who has been admitted into four prestigious colleges, each with a generous scholarship package. He delivered an emotional speech at Guadalupe Galaxy in which he discussed the role of failures in establishing his path toward success.

“My perception of life has changed as I have aged,” Martinez-Santos said. “All my achievements, losses and failures taught me that nothing is easy in life and if you want something, go work for it.”

Guadalupe Galaxy’s event chairs were Bev Cherry and Debbie Toler.

Moorings Park Grande Lake by London Bay Development Group was the presenting sponsor.

Additional sponsors included the Toler Foundation, Mary & Patrick McClain Foundation, Merrill Private Wealth Management – The Cenname Team, Waterside Shops, Bev & Art Cherry, Ficarra Design Associates, Heatherwood Construction, Gulf Coast International Properties, The Calleja Group at Morgan Stanley, Synovus, Gulfshore Life, WINK, Naples Daily News, LOCALiQ, Wave 101.1 FM, Brown & Brown, Dee & Associates, Hahn Loeser & Parks, BelieveNBooks, Carter, FPL, LCEC and NCH Healthcare.

About Guadalupe Center

Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 95% meet or exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100% of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 94% graduate with a post-secondary degree.

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This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.