Save the date for LARC’s (Lee Association of Remarkable Citizens) 2nd annual fundraiser benefiting The Lori Carroll-Collins Scholarship Fund, “Born This Way.” The event will take place at Misty Morning Barn in Fort Myers on Saturday, March 19, 2022. Guests will enjoy gentle breezes flowing through the barn doors, among a backdrop of natural arching oaks, tropical pines, and sun-kissed cypress trees. The April 2021 event raised $214,000.
Her family established the Lori Carroll-Collins Scholarship Fund in memory of Carroll-Collins. A resident of Fort Myers for 35 years, Lori cared deeply for her community and people in need and led her life by example when it came to generosity and philanthropy. The fund helps bridge financial gaps and allows individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to access innovative services offered by LARC.
The evening will include a five-course dinner created by celebrated local chefs, including Mike and Karen Gavala of G3 Catering. Renowned chocolatier Norman Love of Norman Love Confections will provide dessert. News anchor Kellie Burns of NBC-2 and Southwest Florida writer, actor, and director, Stephanie Davis will emcee the event. Local businesswoman and entrepreneur Diana Willis will chair the event. Marc Collins, Lori’s husband, is the honorary chair.
“The light that Lori Carroll-Collins shined by her presence and universal belief in each person she met has always inspired me,” said Willis. “I am moved to carry Lori’s legacy forward to light the way for others of all abilities. Lori’s impact was limitless; paving the way for others with disabilities and economic limitations the opportunity to thrive. We have a uniquely uplifting evening planned that will inspire all who participate.”
Guests will meet sixth-generation winemaker Clay Mauritson, founder and owner of Mauritson Wines in Healdsburg, California, and enjoy family-crafted wines paired with each course. In 1998, Mauritson produced his first bottling of Dry Creek Zinfandel under the Mauritson label, and, in 2002, he began devoting his efforts full-time to the Mauritson Family Winery project.
His winemaking philosophy is simple: You need exceptional fruit to make outstanding wine. About 300 acres of Sonoma County family vineyards and strong relationships built over the years with other growers have given him access to some of the best fruit that Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley, and Rockpile have to offer. Devoted to making exceptional wines, Mauritson is on his way to becoming one of California’s foremost young winemakers.
“We could not be more thrilled with the outpouring of generosity and love shown for Lori at our first event,” said Collins. “Although Lori spent her life in a wheelchair, she knew that God made her perfectly, and she never saw herself as different. She fought for equal access for herself and others and did not let the limitations of her body define her life.”
“Lori’s scholarship fund is offering hope to those seeking to maximize their independence and employment success and may have no other means to get the support they need,” said Angela Katz, LARC Executive Director. “Since August of 2020, Lori’s fund has provided five individuals with scholarships for programs including Supported Employment and Adult Day Training. We are excited to share their success stories with our community.”
Sponsorships are available. For more information, visit www.larcleecounty.org, call Angela Katz at (239) 334-6285 x 210, or email [email protected].