History of Lighthouse of Collier, Inc. (LOC)
In 2008, a diverse group of citizens within Collier County came together to investigate and initiate how best to form a local service organization to assist people who are blind or visually impaired and their caregivers. Subsequently, a “Leadership Council” was formed as part of the developmental process. A series of public meetings were held to receive input from the community.
Lighthouse of Collier, Inc. (LOC) was incorporated May 5, 2009. In August 2009 LOC was granted 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Bayfront Inc. generously donated office space to LOC (from August 2009-April 2013) and shortly thereafter LOC received furniture from the Florida State Attorney’s Office in Collier County. In April 2013, LOC relocated to 2685 Horseshoe Drive South Suite 211, Naples, FL 34104.
In its initial time of operation Lighthouse of Collier, Inc. (LOC) provided services to the blind, visually impaired & their caregivers essentially through volunteer assistance. After a successful early period of operations, fundraisers, community outreach projects and donation initiatives, LOC employed the services of a certified vision rehabilitation therapist (CVRT), and provided formal programs/services to clients.
Moving forward implementing steps of the LOC Strategic Plan, LOC applied for and obtained certified national accreditation as a blind & visually impaired professional care service center in 2010. That first one-year accreditation has since been followed by a three-year accreditation, and currently exists a five-year accreditation – the highest term of national accreditation existent.
In 2014, LOC hired the 1st paid LOC Executive Director, Robin Goldstone Garcia. At that approximate time, LOC created a grant funding mechanism, and continued to further employ certified professionals in the low vision service field to enhance services to the local community.
LOC has worked effectively in establishing relationships with clients receiving services, reaching out to local governments and local community organizations to better achieve a “footprint” in the community. Efforts of LOC Directors, staff and volunteers have achieved wonderful, continuing relationships with private and corporate donors in the community. Additionally, with these donative partnerships, LOC has successfully put on annual “signature events” and provided a children’s summer camp which has grown tremendously with each passing year.
LOC continues to develop and maintain collaborative relationships with the business, civic and nonprofit communities in Collier County and throughout the United States to support its’ mission.