Skip to main content

FORT MYERS, FL (Sept. 30, 2015) – SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., announces a $1 million pledge to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to benefit students studying to become healthcare professionals. Over a five-year period beginning in May 2016, $200,000 will be awarded annually as SWFL Children’s Charities Scholarships and granted to qualifying students. Qualified candidates will be undergraduate or graduate students who are studying to become healthcare professionals at the university’s College of Health Professions and Social Work.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., in helping our dedicated students achieve their dreams of becoming skilled healthcare providers whose care will benefit all of the region’s residents, particularly its children,” said FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw, who also serves as a trustee for the children’s charity.

Scholarship recipients must be graduates of high schools from the five-county Southwest Florida region. Preference will be given to students who express interest in practicing in pediatric-related fields and are interested in remaining in Southwest Florida following graduation.

The scholarship dollars are raised through SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s annual signature event, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest and will be administered by FGCU. Scholarships will be awarded on an annual basis and students may receive the scholarship in successive years.

“SWFL Children’s Charities continues its commitment to supporting healthcare education in Southwest Florida with a focus on programs that will benefit children,” said Elaine Hawkins, president of the board of directors, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. “Given the growing number of children receiving healthcare services in Southwest Florida, our board and trustees believe that preparing students with the skills and opportunity to work locally in healthcare will help fulfill a vital need in our community. Choosing a career in healthcare requires a unique commitment and passion, and we look forward to seeing the impact that the scholarship will have on the recipients as they pursue their education and career goals.”

The 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will be held Feb. 26 and 27 at the Beach Clubhouse at Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club.

The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised nearly $15 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. Funds raised benefit educational programs at FGCU and Florida SouthWestern State College and the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. For more information, visit