Lee Association of Remarkable Citizens (LARC) announces the retirement of Executive Director Kevin Lewis. Angela Katz, LARC’s Director of Development and Communications, has been named Interim Executive Director. Established in 1954, LARC’s mission is to empower and support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to reach their full potential.
Lewis was honored at the March 2 meeting of the Lee County Board of Commissioners for his 38 years of service to the citizens of Lee County. He has been executive director of LARC since 2016 and is a longtime leader and advocate for behavioral healthcare in Southwest Florida. Lewis served as president of SalusCare, the most comprehensive provider of behavioral healthcare services in Southwest Florida, which he shepherded into being when Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services merged. Lewis led Southwest Florida Addiction Services for nearly 27 years, earning praise for his compassion and innovation. In 2014, he received a National Point of Light Award, the same year he was honored as a Trailblazer in The News-Press Person of the Year awards.
While at LARC, Lewis worked with staff to evolve programs to meet the ever-changing needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, building on LARC’s 60+ year history of advocacy, services, and supports as an Arc chapter.
Lewis increased efforts focused on young people aging out of the school system. Lewis worked with now Senator Ray Rodrigues for a legislative appropriation to prepare one campus building to be safe and comfortable as an emergency shelter for group home residents if a forecasted storm requires them to leave their homes.
Lewis was active in legislative efforts promoting the needs of individuals with disabilities, including Our Voices Together, an alliance created to empower those with intellectual and developmental disabilities statewide with the information and resources to meet the crisis of inadequate funding head-on.
Over the past year, Lewis’s steadfast leadership brought local agencies together to address the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He supported individuals and families in navigating the pandemic and ensured that many LARC services continued uninterrupted.
“Kevin has worked tirelessly to advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Austin Clinton, president of the LARC board of directors. “He understands that solutions are bred from collaboration and brings people and organizations together to find ways to improve the lives of these individuals. It has been an honor to work with him, and he leaves a legacy of improved services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those in need of treatment for mental health and addiction issues.”
A highly-accomplished strategic fundraising and development professional, Katz joined LARC in 2016. She created and championed an innovative new program at LARC – LAB: Learn, Achieve, Become. LAB offers an experiential learning environment that transforms traditional program areas into spaces for innovation, vocation, demonstration, and learning. Five Labs focus on skills for work, residency, and leisure. She was instrumental in creating LARC’s Exceptional Employers event to recognize exceptional employers in our community that have hired individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and promote the advantages of hiring people with disabilities. Katz received her certification in Fundraising Management from Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She was named non-profit employee of the year by The Cape Coral Community Foundation in 2019.
“Angela’s passion is to help fulfill the dreams and goals of people with disabilities so they can work, live and play in their community just like we do,” said Lewis. “She has shared this passion with our community and has developed a dedicated group of supporters, created innovative programs to increase the independence of individuals with disabilities, raised the profile of LARC in our community, and significantly increased donors and donations. I know that the future of LARC is in good hands with the leadership of Angela and our hard-working board of directors.”
LARC is a training center for success for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. LARC serves more than 300 individuals annually, and participants range in age from 14 to 77. LARC offers vocational training, community residential services, youth programs, and a vast array of other state-of-the-art community inclusion services on a full-time, year-round basis. LARC’s main campus is located at 2570 Hanson Street, Fort Myers. LARC also operates two Residential Group Homes located in Cape Coral and North Fort Myers.
To learn more about LARC, visit www.larcleecounty.org or contact Angela Katz, Interim Executive Director, at 239-334-6285 x229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1954, LARC Inc.’s mission is to empower and support individuals with disabilities and their families to reach their full potential. LARC is a 501(c)3 that provides programs and services for approximately 300 local men and women annually. The non-profit offers youth programs, vocational training, community residential services, and a vast array of other state-of-the-art community inclusion services on a full-time, year-round basis. LARC’s main campus is located at 2570 Hanson Street, Fort Myers. LARC also operates two Residential Group Homes located in Cape Coral and North Fort Myers.