In a little less than five months, the House and Garden Tour will be here. If any members think the H&G Tour committee should begin planning soon, they would be wrong! Arlene Cluff, H&GT Chair and 2nd Vice President reports that work began in the spring, all the committees are in place, the four houses have been chosen and volunteer sign-up will start in November.

Volunteering and philanthropy have been the hallmarks of the Naples Garden Club since its inception in 1953. For sixty years, NGC has raised funds to support the community.

In 1955, the first house tour was held. Six homes were shown, tickets cost $2.00 and NGC netted $1,164.00. The funds were used to beautify the grounds of the new hospital. Now tickets are sold on-line, the cost is $100.00 per ticket and tickets sell out before the end of the week. Nearly one thousand people attend the house and garden tour which is the NGC’s major fund-raiser.

According to Sondra Quinn, Governance Chair, since 1953 to 2012, the NGC ‘s fund-raising efforts have resulted in donations totaling over $740,000.00.  Of that amount, approximately 32% has been donated for scholarships, including our fellowship endowment at FGCU, approximately 24% has been donated to the Naples Botanical Garden, a significant portion of which has gone towards our capital contribution to the Idea Garden, and the remaining 44% has gone in support of various landscaping projects through the town of Naples as well as in support of various educational and social programs within the area.

In 2003, NGC received 501c(3) designation as a non-profit charitable and educational organization, according to Sondra.  “A Grants Committee was established this past year to create a more formal process to select persons and organizations who best support the NGC mission of fostering appreciation and understanding of horticulture, design and the environment,” she said.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the unwavering dedication of our volunteers. Arlene pointed out that our members are ” the face of the Garden Club. On the day of the Tour, volunteers in the hospitality and raffle areas, hostesses in the homes and bus hostesses are our ambassadors. Many people come and enjoy the House and Garden Tour and all of our volunteers make that possible.”

-by Polly Galliker