The Chamber is proud to be a partner with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce for the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association's Hospitality Virtual Legislative Update 2021 on February 24 from 9:30am-10:15am.

FRLA will dive into this year's legislative updates for Southwest Florida and get the inside scoop on what to expect from Tallahassee this year and how it will impact the hospitality industry. Speakers are Samantha Padgett, General Counsel, FRLA and Richard Turner, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, FRLA

Even if you are not in the industry, some of the items on their priorities affect the business community.
Here is the link to register.
Please don't set your perfectly good furniture at the curb! ​Lee County is working with the Salvation Army on “Operation: Donation" that helps people who are homeless transition to housing by collecting gently used furniture donated by the community. 

  • There is convenient drive-thru drop-off. They will unload the furniture from your vehicle.
  • Please bring only clean, gently used furniture to the collection. 
  • Items at the end of their useful life can be set at the curb with regular household garbage. 

Click here to learn when and where donation sites are occurring throughout the county.
Captains for Clean Water is celebrating 5 years in our community. They were instrumental in helping the Chamber become more involved in understanding and supporting water quality legislation that will protect our community.

Lee Health is offering grants for those entering high-demand health care careers. From their recent announcement:

Education is vital to growing and developing the Lee Health workforce. The Lee Health Education Award (Grants) Program is designed to encourage current and prospective employees to enter high-demand health care careers, and financially assist those in need. Grants are available to employees, volunteers and family members, as well as prospective employees from the community. The application period runs March 1-April 30 and preference given to individuals applying for grants in careers where a shortage exists (i.e. Respiratory Therapy, Radiologic Technology, RN, CNA, MA, CLS, CVT, PT, etc.). The maximum amount of the grant per year is $2500. Pre-requisite courses are limited to $500-700. If you have any questions, please contact Cynthia Parracho, 239-424-3525,
February’s Lee County Tourist Development Council meeting was yesterday, and we received a detailed report, “Visitor Tracking, Occupancy & Economic Impact Study for October through December 2020.” It is 128 pages, but easy reading and I thought you might find this interesting.
I am excited to share this offering from our partner Carina Guillard, Senior Vice President, Market Manager with Bank of America:

On behalf of the entire team at Bank of America, we are so proud to be your community partner. We know based on our current environment your work has inherent risks and with that said, we want to ensure your organization has access to some of the essential PPE items. Locally, Bank of America has provided almost 400,000 masks, 700 cases of hand sanitizer and 150,000 gloves in the community the last couple of months to various organizations.

If your organization, or one you know of, is in need of PPE please let me know. Bank of America has a limited supply of disposable face masks, hand sanitizer and latex free disposable gloves and we will do all we can to try to honor your request, yet we won’t know for sure until after your request is submitted. Below is the current list of items we can request, please note there are minimums and maximums for each item. 

Types of PPE Available: Disposable medical masks, adult size “fits most” (min request 2,000 w/add'l increments of 2,000); Cases of eight 8-oz bottles of sanitizer (max of 50 cases/400 bottles); Latex-free, nitrile gloves in sizes S-XL (min of 2,000 w/add'l increments of 2,000, mixed sizes).

Delivery is approximately two weeks from the time Carina submits for approval (which is weekly). If multiple items are requested, you may receive in separate shipments.

If you would like to request some or all of these items, Carina would be happy to submit a request on your behalf as each request does go through an allocation approval process. Please email Carina for details on how to apply for PPE.
I could not put this newsletter together without mentioning the Super Bowl- though a New York Giants fan, I am more than happy to congratulate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on their win! There were some highlights I want to share that go beyond the game. Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar made history Sunday night as the first women to win the Super Bowl as coaches.  

I think the most heartfelt part of the night was when we heard Amanda Gorman share her poem "Chorus of the Captains." She honored a veteran, a teacher and a nurse, and they also participated in the coin toss.
“Today we honor our three captains for their actions and impact in a time of uncertainty and need. 
They have taken the lead, exceeding all expectations and limitations, uplifting their communities and nation as leaders, healers, and educators. 

James has felt the wounds of warfare but this warrior still shares his home with at-risk kids. During COVID he's even lent a hand, live-streaming football for family and fans. 

Trimaine is an educator who works non-stop providing his community with hot spots, laptops, and tech workshops, so his students have all the tools they need to succeed in life and in school. 

Susie is the ICU nurse manager at a Tampa hospital. Her chronicles prove that even in tragedy, hope is possible. She lost her grandmothers to the pandemic, and fights to save other lives in the ICU battle zone defining the front line heroes risking their lives for our own. 

Let us walk with these warriors, charge on with these champions, and carry forth the call of our captains. We celebrate them by acting with courage and compassion, by doing what is right and just. 
For while we honor them today, it is they who every day honor us.” 
This weekend is the Annual Edison Ford Garden Festival. You can visit the Estates on the east side of the property where you will see amazing plants and related garden items for sale from vendors coming from all over Florida. Food, refreshments, and music will also be on-hand. Admission and parking for the garden festival are free of charge (does not include admission to the historic homes and estates or museum and lab). You are encouraged to bring your own garden cart to transport plants. Vendors will be spread out on 6 acres with massive shade trees and they are taking precautions to help keep you safe. Everyone attending the sale is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Surfaces are being cleaned and sanitized daily and outdoor sales checkout will be available. You can find more information here.
Stay safe, have a great weekend and wear a mask!