Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen Contributors for Forbes Magazine

Almost $26 Million was raised at the Naples Winter Wine Festival this past weekend, breaking previous records for the amount garnered by this annual fundraiser. The money benefits at risk and underprivileged children in Collier County, Florida. It is one of the top charity auctions in the world and since its 2001 inaugural event it has raised nearly $269 million . . .

. . . Another of the dozens of beneficiaries that stood out was Gargiulo Education Center whose goal is to develop educated and confident students within the Naples migrant community. Mary Asta, Executive Director and Board Member stated, “The Winter Wine Festival is a very exciting and important time of the year for many. The amount that is raised can determine feast or famine. In our case, the successes we have in our Entrepreneurial, Finance, Academics and Social Etiquette programs, not only teach the students, but through the students’ milestones, it shows the parents that they too can break free of poverty. In my five year tenure, I have personally witnessed at least 12 families change their destinies and many more have hope of a bright future. This could not be done without the Winter Wine Festivals Naples Children and Education Foundation. They have literally changed the world in a mere 23 years.”

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