A group of dedicated mental health advocates from Lee County traveled to Pinellas Park, Florida to view a clubhouse called Vincent House. After visiting Vincent House our advocates knew that establishing a clubhouse in our area would fill a critical need and provide important services for the citizens of Lee County.
We became incorporated on August 3, 2007 and a mere six weeks later we received our IRS determination letter giving HOPE Clubhouse 501(c)(3) status. With the help of a few small donations, we began to develop our clubhouse logo, printed some business cards, letterhead and a brochure, and began a marketing strategy to introduce ourselves to the Southwest Florida community.
Representatives of HOPE Clubhouse made presentations to area service organizations such as Rotary Clubs, human service agencies, mental health providers and many businesses and private individuals. The response was phenomenal. Through a donation from the East Fort Myers Rotary Club we were able to purchase and implement QuickBooks Non-Profit software for our bookkeeping system.
In December 2007, a major contribution was bestowed upon us by a very generous philanthropic couple. This gave us the financial help we needed to continue on with our work promoting HOPE Clubhouse.
In February we completed our Business Plan and mailed out our first clubhouse newsletter to over 400 people throughout Lee County.
In June HOPE Clubhouse became a member of the Florida Clubhouse Coalition, an organization formed to unite all Florida clubhouses so that combined strength could focus on the need for additional mental health services in Florida.
We were blessed by the incredible kindness of the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties and began to see our vision for bringing a clubhouse to Lee County become a reality. With the help of United Way the first administrative office of HOPE Clubhouse opened at 4040 Palm Beach Boulevard in the new East United Way House.
HOPE Clubhouse formed a new partnership with NAMI Lee County and began working together to provide better services to our citizens.
Two of our board members were asked to participate in the Mental Health Task Force of Lee County.
In November the News-Press published an article about the newly formed HOPE Clubhouse. This article generated numerous inquiries and resulted in recruitment of new volunteers.
In December FineMark National Bank & Trust hosted a special holiday event for our organization and over 150 attended.
We began plans to develop a comprehensive website.
Our website was completed and our Annual Meeting was held in January.
The Development Committee presented the board with recommendations for established donation levels.
The first orientation session was held at the East United Way House for our 8 new office volunteers.
HOPE Clubhouse submitted a grant to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to help secure funds to hire an executive director.
The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South awarded us a grant for the purchase of office furniture.
Two executive board members attended leadership classes for non-profit organizations hosted by United Way and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Plans began for the HOPE Clubhouse Holiday Appreciation Event to be held in December.
We were awarded a major grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to aid in our search for an executive director. Two board members attended the breakfast for grant recipients in late September.
We immediately formed a search committee and began formulating plans to hire the first executive director for HOPE Clubhouse.
HOPE Clubhouse began working with Children’s Home Society of Florida to partner and share a single-family home in Fort Myers where we could officially open as a clubhouse.
In December we hosted a holiday appreciation event at Bell Tower Park and over 70 were in attendance. It was a special evening filled with awards, remembrances and recognition for outstanding achievements.
In February Debra Webb was hired as Executive Director of HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida, Inc.
Plans were finalized with Children’s Home Society of Florida and HOPE Clubhouse moved from the East United Way House into a facility at 1495 Maple Drive. Our clubhouse was now officially open!
In March we acquired 3 clubhouse members and we had 13 active members participating in the HOPE Clubhouse program.
We received a SENergy grant in the amount of $11,000 for the purchase of
computers, a telephone system, and electronic equipment.
Our first official fundraising event was held at the home of Board Member, Dr. Omar Rieche and raised approximately $12,000.
Executive Director Debra Webb and the clubhouse member. John Megara, attended a three-week training session at Gateway House in Greenville, South Carolina.
HOPE Clubhouse received grants for computer equipment from the Rotary Club of Fort Myers and the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South
We became a partner with the Harry Chapin Food Bank.