Category Archives for In The News

11th Annual Hunters Ridge “Gives Back” Campaign Supports the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation

Funds will support Earn to Learn FL™ Students

Bonita Springs, FL – December 6, 2018 – Proceeds from the 11th Annual Hunters Ridge “Gives Back” Campaign, organized by General Manager Don Huprich, will support the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation’s Earn to Learn FL initiative.

It’s an honor for Hunters Ridge Golf & County Club to be associated with such an outstanding organization. We look forward to supporting the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation for many, many years to come,” states General Manager Don Huprich.

The donation of $5,000 from Hunters Ridge “Gives Back” Campaign held on November 11, 2018 will support Earn to Learn FL™ students to achieve their goals through education. Why does this matter? Less than 20% of Southwest Florida women and men over age 25 have earned a bachelor's degree. Earn to Learn FL™ empowers low to moderate income students to successfully complete college or career and technical education. The result: students become investors in their own future, breaking the cycle of limited family income and improving their earning potential. 

The generosity of the Hunter’s Ridge Golf and Country Club community is greatly appreciated. They are a good partner to help support hard working, but income challenged, students achieve their education and career goals,” says Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation CEO Brenda Tate. 

About the Southwest Florida Women's Foundation

The Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation, serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties, is the only non-profit in Southwest Florida focused on women and girls and was the first to publish academic research assessing the status of women in the area. The Women’s Foundation invests in programs that educate, boost entrepreneurship and advocate for policies to elevate the status of women and girls. For more information, visit or email Follow the Women's Foundation online at and on
About Earn to Learn FL™, an initiative of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation
Earn to Learn FL™ supports low to moderate income students in earning a post-secondary degree or certificate, while escaping the burden of student loan debt. The program is structured so that students contribute mandatory savings of $500, which is then matched with $4,000 in financial aid funds through Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation. The program incorporates financial literacy training for each of the students to ensure that they are prepared for long-term success. Not only does it assist students to achieve graduation on time, but also helps them enter the job market with little or no student


RedCoach And FGCU Partner Up to Take You

New stop brings students and locals affordable access to routes across Florida
RedCoach, the only luxury motor coach transportation service in Florida, has partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University to provide affordable, long-distance transportation services to students, staff, faculty and residents of the area, opening up easier access to 7 cities throughout the state.

We are very excited about this partnership with the University,” Florencia Cirigliano, VP of Marketing & PR at RedCoach said. “Some customers have been asking to have FGCU as a stop and the University immediately got on board because they believe that our service will be very important to connect with other institutions and cities. Fort Myers is a growing area and we appreciate the opportunity to serve this community who, until now, haven’t had too many public transportation options for traveling within Florida.”

This new route will start on October 3rd, increasing the company’s connectivity between the most important cities and universities in Florida. This route will make it possible for FGCU students and staff to travel directly to FSU, UF, and USF, and vice versa.
“I periodically travel for business from the Fort Myers area to Tallahassee and Tampa,” said Brenda Tate, CEO of Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation. “The new stop with parking on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus will make my RedCoach travel even more convenient and productive. This is a win-win for students and business travelers alike.”
The new stop is about 30 minutes north of the current stop in Naples (which will be discontinued), and will be located at: 10501 FGCU Blvd S, Fort Myers, FL 33965 Parking Garage 2, where travelers can also take advantage of some convenient parking options.

This route will connect Fort Myers with Miami airport, Fort Lauderdale Airport, Tampa, Ocala, Gainesville and Tallahassee. The rates to these locations are as follows:

  • Fort Myers to Miami and Fort Lauderdale as low as $15
  • Fort Myers to Tallahassee as low as $55
  • Fort Myers to Tampa as low as $15
  • Fort Myers to Gainesville as low as $45

Dr James Michael Rollo, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Program Innovation at FGCU was also enthusiastic about this new addition, saying:

Our students do not currently have ready access to long-distance bus service, and this will provide support to over 5000 on-campus students.” He went on to add that:
“This is a new service for FGCU and is one more way our university is improving its support for the student experience. Our campus is remote from the more traditional long-distance bus service and this will provide an opportunity for those with limited resources, or who may not own an automobile, to travel in the state of Florida and get home for the weekend or travel for leisure in a cost-affordable and safe venue.”

For the launch of this new route, RedCoach is offering a 25% discount on travel to and from this location between October 3rd and October 31st, 2018, redeemable on the company’s website – –with the code FGCU2018. (Can’t be combined with other promotions or discounts. Only 5 coupons available per service. Subject to changes at any given time.)

Our services allow travelers to get to their destination for a fraction of the cost while being able to be productive or just relax,” Cirigliano added. “With free Wi-Fi, oversized custom-made reclining leather seats, and 110v power outlets, RedCoach allows students to stay connected and multitask while on the road.”

About RedCoach
RedCoach® is the only luxury motor coach transportation service in Florida that offers first-class comfort without the high costs, long lines or hassle that comes with other forms of transportation. RedCoach offers 13 convenient stops in Florida’s most popular destinations including: Tampa, Miami, Gainesville, Tallahassee and more. Since 2010 RedCoach has transported more than 750,000 passengers throughout Florida and has continued to grow, increasing its stops, services and passenger benefits.


Turning a dark experience into a drive for the future

Two years ago, Yuzellie Garcia decided to return to school to become the person she needed when she was a child.

I graduated in 2012 and spent a few years not knowing what I wanted to do,” said Ms. Garcia.

But when it finally came time to decide what to do, Ms. Garcia sought purpose and meaning from her childhood experiences. Her upbringing wasn’t easy. She grew up in a single parent household with three siblings. Her mom worked three jobs and struggled to make ends meet. She also experienced sexual and emotional abuse.

I’m studying what I’m studying because of the sexual and emotional abuse I endured. Things like being locked in a dark closet all day and growing up with shame, self-blame and guilt. Thinking it was my fault, and not having anyone there to show me that what was going on wasn’t OK, and it wasn’t my fault,” Ms. Garcia said.

She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; she will be attending Florida State University this summer to study criminology and criminal justice and hopes to use her education to work in the human trafficking field. Her journey has led her to find a very clear purpose — to help children who are struggling with abuse. Children in low-income homes, who may be at risk. Children who may need a mentor like herself.

Ms. Garcia is on the path to fulfilling her goal thanks to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation Earn to Learn FL Program. Earn to Learn FL helps low-to-moderate income students earn a higher education with little or no student debt. It’s a simple formula that combines mandatory student savings with financial aid, required financial literacy training and success coaching. Through the program, Ms. Garcia has been able to secure $9,000 to fund her education. She has saved $1,000 of her funds and received an $8,000 match supported by the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and local partners like the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

“The Earn to Learn experience has been amazing; it’s so easy. The application was very fast. The lengthiest thing was the financial literacy course, but that was helpful. It wasn’t something that you would dread to do. The Women’s Foundation worked with me and my circumstances,” said Ms. Garcia.

For students like Ms. Garcia, education is much more than a simple degree. It’s a way to serve and fulfill their purpose. To pay it forward so that future generations have the opportunity to thrive.

Click HERE To support our Earn to Learn Program


The Plight of Florida Caregivers is Taking a Toll

The plight of florida caregivers is taking a toll

June 21, 2018 is the longest day of the year and the day set aside by the Alzheimer’s Association to show love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The truth is, every day can be the longest day for women who carry the responsibility of lovingly caring for a person with any type of disability.

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias demand intense caregiving and women shoulder a particularly heavy burden. The care they provide can be more physically and emotionally demanding and more time-consuming, and it takes a heavier toll on their work and family life. Women, as caregivers, often do not get the help and support they need to provide the years (even decades) of care required for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She is drained emotionally, physically and financially.

One fact in particular jumped off the page as I read the recently released Status of Women in Florida by County: Health & Well-Being report. Did you know more than one in five Florida women aged 65 and older (21.7 percent) reside with a person with a disability? This is very personal to me since I’m 67 years old and know first-hand how women cope when Alzheimer’s, as only one example of a disability, knocks on the door to visit and never leaves. I believe the percentage of 21.7 is much higher since most women do not check the little box on a survey that asks, “Are you over age 65 and residing with a person with a disability?” I never thought to check that box.
And yet, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the economic impact of dementia caregiving across the nation is huge, and particularly in Florida which is only behind California and Texas in terms of numbers of caregivers, hours of unpaid care and the value of that care. In 2017, there were approximately 1,121,000 dementia caregivers in Florida, who provided more than 1.25 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $16 billion. The numbers are staggering, and the burden in our state falls mostly on women.

The Status of Women in Florida Report underscored other disturbing health challenges, including the rate of diabetes, an increase in suicide, and the widespread violence in Florida against women, but the plight of Florida women who are caregivers hit a personal chord with me.

Several policies recommended by the Report would go a long way to provide much-needed relief to the many women in Florida living with a person who has one or more disabilities. They include:

  • pass paid family leave and paid sick days laws for working caregivers
  • address the high cost and lack of availability of long-term services and support
  • ensure that Medicaid adequately supports low-income people and allows them to receive services in their preferred settings
  • allow registered nurses to delegate more tasks to trained direct care workers
  • allow nurses to focus on tasks they are uniquely qualified to perform and nurse practitioners to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training.

There is no simple or single solution, but these policies would go a long way to support caregiving women in Florida. Every day is our longest day.

Go to to view the complete report for all key findings and recommended solutions.
Respectfully submitted by:
Brenda Tate, CEO
Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation


“I hate networking! How can I find my customers and clients?”

"I Hate Networking! How Can I Find My Customers and Clients?



What happens when you hear the word networking? If you're struggling with networking and finding the right customers and clients this episode is for you! Use these three strategies to get over your networking fears!

  1. Stop networking and start building relationships -  Building relationships occurs naturally,  how do you build relationships? The same can work for your business. To find your ideal client and customer stop focusing on networking and start working on building relationships in the way that you build relationships naturally.
  2. Stop stressing about networking and start solving problems -  Only go to places where you can solve a problem.
  3. Stop selling and start serving -  Focus on the solutions you bring to your clients and customers instead.