FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2014) – Five finalists have made it to the final round of judging for the 2015 UNITE (Uniting Nonprofits In Teaming for Excellence) Award.

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 the 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.

This year’s call for entries received 21 applications. Twelve collaborations made it to the second round before the five finalists were chosen.

The five finalists include:

  • Guidance Programs for Success (GPS) – GPS expands access to after-school programs for grades K-12 in Immokalee. Partners include the Guadalupe Center, RCMA Immokalee Community School, Immokalee Foundation, Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Collier County Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and Naples Children and Education Foundation.
  • Partners in the Fight Against Human Trafficking – Abuse Counseling & Treatment and Human Trafficking Awareness Partnership are part of the Southwest Florida Regional Coalition that coordinates efforts and training among law enforcement agencies, human service providers, and federal and local government agencies.
  • Teen Outreach Program – The Teen Outreach Program collaboration began in 2006 with three agencies teaming to serve at-risk teens in two rural counties. In 2013, 13 more agencies were added to the collaboration, and today, there are currently 22 partners serving five counties.
  • Lee Community Healthcare – The Lee Community Healthcare initiative is a collaboration with Lee Memorial Health System and United Way to provide medical care and social services to disadvantaged and medically underserved in Lee County.
  • Bonita Springs Assistance Office – The “Money Matters” Class was created for clients of the BSAO. In collaboration with New York Community Bank, the BSAO teaches clients how to be better stewards of their money.

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 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. Once again, the top winner will receive $25,000 thanks to the support by Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Cape Coral Community Foundation and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, and the top two runners up will receive $2,500 each from the Smith Family Foundation.

“Each of the 21 entries we received this 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.”

To be eligible for this year’s award, a collaboration had 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

Deadline for submission was 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.