Moorings Park Foundation Awards Nearly $1 Million to SWFL Workforce

October 12, 2021


The Moorings Park Foundation recently awarded 54 scholarships to Moorings Park Communities’ employees and their family members, totaling $300,000. Selected by a committee of which includes residents of Moorings Park Communities’ three Naples Life Plan communities: Moorings Park; Moorings Park at Grey Oaks; and Moorings Park Grande Lake, the 60+ students will have the opportunity to renew their scholarships for a second year. The average gift award is $4,500 per year for two years.

“Moorings Park members created the foundation in 1996 with employee scholarships as one of its priorities,” said resident and Foundation board chairman, Alan Horton. “Of all the charitable works of our foundation, we always fund our employee scholarships first.” 

“The senior industry provides hundreds of jobs in our area, and we need every single employee to properly care for our older population, from hospitality to nursing. The Foundation’s scholarships help build a critical local workforce,” said Mary Kohlasch, Director of Human Resources at Moorings Park Communities.

Gifted to Better Serve Seniors

The scholarships are part of a million dollars in charitable giving that Moorings Park Foundation will do this year. Much of it is focused on a largely neglected sector of need, local Collier seniors. Only 6% of national philanthropy focuses on seniors’ needs, yet local seniors make up a greater than usual part of our county’s population.

“Our residents are some of the most engaged, philanthropic people in this country. In addition, their generous monetary gifts they give that support the foundation, they also donate countless hours of their time to giving back to the local community,” notes Moorings Park Communities Vice President, Tom Mann.

Moorings Park Foundation’s board awarded $500,000 in grants at its quarterly meeting in July. These grants funded projects that serve seniors in need and that grow the workforce needed to care for local seniors. Selected projects include the emergency financial assistance program at Golden Gate Senior Center, and support classes for local people caring for their elderly family members living with dementia offered at Naples Senior Center. The grants also fund local educational institutions’ proposals to develop the workforce necessary to care for local seniors. Most of these funds are used for scholarships in majors like healthcare, exercise science, mental healthcare, and hospitality and culinary skills.

More specifically, these grants provided training and support to 1,800 caregivers and people suffering with dementia, grief, mental health issues, blindness, Parkinson’s disease and deteriorating sense of physical balance. This included sending hospice support to over 200 people in grief and giving emergency grants to 60 seniors in poverty for necessities such as glasses and electric bills.

“Our residents know that specific activities improve quality of life as we age. It’s natural for them to want to boost successful aging for the seniors all over our county,” said Kohlasch.

Lending Collier County a Helping Hand 

Since 2019, the Moorings Park Foundation has raised a million dollars from its members specifically to fund another special project: affordable workforce housing in Collier County. Combined with substantial funds from the Moorings Park Foundation and two additional local foundations, a total of $10 million will be accessed by a non-profit developer to build and manage an affordable housing complex on Golden Gate. Groundbreaking is anticipated this Fall. 

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