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Looking back, moving forward


Founding Board Members Meeting with the First Golden Apple Teachers


More than twenty years ago, a small group of Collier County business leaders believed that “destination communities,” those wanting to attract and keep creative, bright, talented people, must focus on and invest in their children.

We knew that our community was and is full of people who would agree with the “the best communities invest in their children” premise.

So, the businessmen and women dug into their wallets to found and fund The Education Foundation of Collier County to make it possible for students and their parents to nominate the county’s best teachers to compete for Golden Apples to be awarded at an annual televised black-tie dinner. The program was a huge success from the first year. The early success allowed the Foundation to do increasingly more to identify ways to support teachers, students and principals.

In 2008 and early in 2009, the Foundation took its traditional role of fostering community involvement in improving education to a new level with its Connect Now initiative. Through it, hundreds of citizens from all over the county helped write a Statement of their aspirations and expectations for their community and its schools. Today, that Statement is a blueprint for making schools more accountable, responsive and open to enriching community involvement, aspirations and expectations.

Education is not just the schools’ job. We’re all partners in the task of making certain that each child reaches his or her potential.

Alan Horton, Founding Board member