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Southwest Florida Children's Charities Pledges $1 million to FGCU
12/7/2011

FORT MYERS, FL - Southwest Florida Children's Charities is donating $1 million to Florida Gulf Coast University to create an endowment supporting the Southwest Florida Children's Charities Music Therapy Program within FGCU's Bower School of Music.

"This generous gift will help make our long-planned music therapy program a reality," said FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw. "There is a great need in Southwest Florida for music therapy -for children as well as adults - and I'm pleased that FGCU can finally begin educating generations of music therapists."

Southwest Florida Children's Charities provides funding to local charities serving children. Its signature annual fundraising event, "The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest," has distributed nearly $3.5 million to local organizations since its inception. This is the second gift to Florida Gulf Coast University. The first provided scholarships for pre-medical students pursuing degrees in pediatrics.

The 2012 Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest events are scheduled for February 24 and 25.

"We are delighted to partner with the University to make the Music Therapy Program a reality. The graduates of the program will make a difference in the lives of children and families in Southwest Florida," said Dr. Steve Machiz, Founding Chairman of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest.

According to Dr. Donna Price Henry, FGCU Dean of Arts & Sciences, "Music Therapy is defined as the use of music in the treatment of individuals who have problems of a mental, physical and/or emotional nature. This is an exploding field which shows great promise in treating the increasing numbers of children identified as autistic, as well as those with numerous other disorders which severely limit their development. We believe that with the Bower School of Music and its concentration on music education and performance and the College of Education's strength in special education for children, adding a degree in Music Therapy will be an asset to the University and will enable its graduates to make a significant difference in the lives of many Southwest Florida children."

It is anticipated that the Southwest Florida Children's Charities Music Therapy Program will be open to the first majors in August 2014.

For more information contact Linda Lehtomaa, senior director of Advancement at (239) 590-1071.

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