Community Foundation and Switchboard for Collier 211

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Sep 14, 2011

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Florida - Southwest

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The Community Foundation is launching a new service Collier 211 Information and Referral (I&R) with the help of many community partners and donors interested in gaining more information about the programs they fund. Collier 211 is a federally designated phone number and works like 911, but for non-emergency calls. The information for referrals comes from Collier nonprofits, critical for-profits and government providers of service. In many communities across the U.S. 211 Information and Referral service is the single most important resource for providing real-time data on needed services, especially for their most vulnerable citizens.
In order to offer the highest quality service available, the Community Foundation is contracting with nonprofit Switchboard of Miami to provide 211 Information and Referral for Collier County. Switchboard of Miami was established in 1968. Their mission is to connect people in need with community resources, strengthen and preserve families, and develop and provide services where none exist. They offer comprehensive telephone crisis counseling and information and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Their caring multilingual, professional staff and volunteers are available to respond in any language.
Switchboard received more than 180,000 calls from the Miami-Dade community in 2009-10. These calls came from all over, such as families seeking help with basic needs; teenagers asking assistance on matters related to suicide, substance abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse; victims of domestic violence; and individuals with concerns related to suicide. Switchboard of Miami also provides additional counseling programs for seniors, teens, families of military employees and others.
We are very fortunate to have such a highly-qualified and experienced resource available to Collier County says Colleen Murphy, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County. In addition, we will work closely with community-specific information and referral services in Collier County to create the most comprehensive program for our community.
It will cost approximately $200,000 a year to operate Collier 211. To date, several major sponsors have stepped forward to help start up this needed program: Wasmer Schroeder & Company, the United Way and Youth Haven, but we need additional help. A fundraising appeal was launched on May 11 with the help of The Arlington, Inc., and its director Vicki Tracy.
For more information on how you can help launch this service, and the benefits of a corporate donation, please call the Community Foundation at 649-5000 or visit our website at www.cfcollier.org.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Colleen Murphy, President & CEO Community Foundation of Collier County.

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