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Casino Night fundraiser described as ‘awesome’

By Staff | Mar 6, 2015

The fourth annual Casino in the Cape fundraiser, hosted by the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2014, raised money for local charities this past Saturday at the Cape Coral Yacht Club.

The proceeds of the fundraiser will benefit the Cape Coral Caring Center, the For the Kids Foundation, and Cape Coral’s Guardian Angels for Special Populations.

The Leadership Cape Coral program was developed by the Cape Chamber to educate business leaders about the city’s infrastructure by giving them tours of Cape facilities and organizations generally not open to the public. Class members commit to a 13-week program of field trips to such organizations as the City Council and the Cape Coral police and sheriff’s departments, the RO water treatment plant and The Breeze.

“We go behind the scenes to see how different aspects of the city work,” said Annette Siner, Leadership Class of 2014 member and chairperson of this year’s Casino at the Cape fundraiser. The purpose of the leadership classes, Siner said, “is to learn about your community and to become more active in your community,” as well as “to develop leadership skills and to make connections with business leaders in the Chamber and in the community.” Siner has lived in Cape Coral all her life and thought she knew everything there was to know about it, until she joined the leadership program, which she describes as an “eye-opening” and “life-changing experience.”

Chris Nicely, another member of the Class of 2014, was equally enthusiastic. He gained a new appreciation of the interplay of city systems that, like “a well-oiled machine,” provides the superstructure of our society.

Leadership Class members value this enlightening experience also for the camaraderie they enjoy and the relationships they build with classmates. Casino at the Cape night is a celebration of friendship, as well as a fundraiser for the charities the class has chosen to support.

“It’s hard to decide,” Siner said of the selection process. “We want to give to everyone. We agreed to do Special Populations again this year because it allows people who are mentally handicapped or disabled to learn a trade so that they can receive a paycheck and feel like they are contributing, that they are a part of society.”

The Cape Coral Caring Center, supported by local ministerial, civic and fraternal organizations, provides food for residents in critical need, and For the Kids Foundation provides entertainment and recreational programs to oncology and other patients in the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“Ante Up” for charity was the theme at the fundraiser’s roulette, craps, blackjack, poker and Bingo tables Saturday night, where event attendees used the “funny money” purchased with their tickets to gamble. Their winnings at these casino tables, sponsored and operated by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral Goldcoast, purchased items in the chance and silent auctions ranging from chocolates to cruises, from weekend getaways to spring baseball training tickets.

The grand finale of the evening, made festive with raffles, a buffet-style dinner and live entertainment, was the live auction, featuring such high-value items as 3- and 4-day vacations in posh Florida resorts. Graduates of the Chamber’s Leadership Class of 2014 and their guests described the event as “awesome.”

For more information about the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce leadership classes and programs, please visit www.capecoralchamber.com/leadership-programs.