Jamie Scott & Pat Riley of GPS

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2015) – Guidance Programs for Success (GPS) is the 2015 winner of the UNITE (Uniting Nonprofits In Teaming for Excellence) Award and the $25,000 cash prize.

Established by Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA and supported by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Cape Coral Community Foundation, the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties and the Smith Family Foundation, 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.

“We serve more than 3,000 students in Immokalee,” said Jamie Scott, GPS coordinator. “We look forward to utilizing this award as a way to really focus on continuing our improvement and track our students in multiple content areas, which will allow us to better serve them.”

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 the Naples Children and Education Foundation.

Two runners up also received $2,500 each from the Smith Family Foundation.

Partners in the Fight Against Human Trafficking including Abuse Counseling & Treatment and Human Trafficking Awareness Partnership was named second runner up. They 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.

The Teen Outreach Program collaboration was named first runner up. The 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.

Two additional finalists made it to the final round of judging including Lee Memorial Health System and United Way’s Lee Community and the Bonita Springs Assistance Office’s “Money Matters” class in collaboration with New York Community Bank.

This year’s call for entries received 21 applications.

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

“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.

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.

Steve Johnson, Ann Christiano, Brigdet Grogan, Lori Sampson-Wilson & Sarah Owen

Ann Christiano, Waddy Padilla, Jim McLaughlin, Wendy Fullerton Powell, Kellie Burns & Lori Sampson-Wilson