FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 11, 2014) – The application process for the 2015 UNITE (Uniting Nonprofits In Teaming for Excellence) Award will open Aug. 1 and close on Sept. 30, 2014.

Established by Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA and supported by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Cape Coral Community Foundation and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, the UNITE Award is a regional award that recognizes successful nonprofit collaborative models across Southwest Florida’s five-county area that exemplify excellence and community impact. Its goal is to provide information to the nonprofit community about collaborative models that have succeeded in our area and to share proven effective practices for nonprofits working together.

The Bob Janes Triage Center/Low Demand Shelter was the winner of the inaugural UNITE Award in January 2014 and received the $25,000 cash prize. In addition, each of the runners up, Families First: Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, Inc. and Child Care of Southwest Florida, Inc., and Southwest Florida Addiction Services/Lee Mental Health Merger, received $2,500 thanks to funding made available by the Wayne Smith of the Smith Family Foundation who wished to reward the other finalists for their dedication to collaboration in the community.

The 2015 winner will be announced at the annual Myers, Brettholtz & Company’s full-day nonprofit seminar to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport-Town Center.

“Each of the 27 entries we received last year were inspiring,” said Lori Sampson-Wilson, principal of Myers, Brettholtz. “It clearly shows that our regional nonprofits are working together to achieve positive collaborative results.”

The Bob Janes Triage Center/Low Demand Shelter is a collaboration with the Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, law enforcement, Lee Memorial Health System, SalusCare, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the United Way.

The Triage Center serves primarily as a voluntary pre-arrest diversion program to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders that are arrested and sent to jail for minor offenses.

“We were so appreciative of this recognition of our efforts that help make a difference in the community,” said Major Thomas Louden of the Salvation Army. “The cash award was put back into the program to help participants with incidental expenses for job readiness such as needed medications, apparel for job interviews and other various items that will help them get back on their feet and become independent.”

To be eligible for this year’s award, a collaboration has to:

  • Be based in the five-county Southwest Florida area (Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades)
  • Involve two or more entities (i.e., nonprofit organizations, businesses, and/or government agencies)
  • Include a lead organization that is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
  • Have a structure that is evidenced by a formal written agreement (i.e., memorandum of understanding, contract or merger agreement)
  • Be able to demonstrate the impact of the collaboration through measurable outcomes
  • Have been in operation for a minimum of 18 months, with a formal written agreement in place no later than March 1, 2013.

For more information on the UNITE Award, call 239-939-5775 or visit Myers, Brettholtz & Company’s website at, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s website at or the United Way’s website at To apply, visit the Southwest Florida Community Foundation online e-apply portal on their website available Aug. 1. Deadline for submission is Sept. 30, 2014.

Since 1979, Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has been working with nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida’s five-county region, helping them achieve their goals. The company serves clients across the nation by performing accounting and auditing, tax preparation, bookkeeping and consulting.