Heart of Sailing

Being the “Heart of Sailing in Naples” equates to Sailing and Philanthropy.

The Gulf Coast Sailing Club is committed to promoting and supporting an active sailing community in Southwest Florida.  Cruising and racing, as well as promoting and developing sailing skills are a big part of the Gulf Coast Sailing Club experience.  All this is for the benefit of the club members, but there is another part of being the “heart of sailing in Naples and Southwest Florida”, and that is to give back to our sailing community.   

Previously, the Gulf Coast Sailing Club provided adaptive sailing webtwenty five scholarships to special needs sailors that allowed them to participate in the special needs sailing program sponsored by Collier County Parks and Recreation as well as committing to help sponsor the Annual Southwest Florida Special Needs Regatta and providing new equipment allowing severely disabled individuals to enjoy the freedom of sailing

The Gulf Coast Sailing Club also supported Blind Sailing Unlimited BlindSailingUnlimited.org and Freedom Waters Foundation www.FreedomWatersFoundation.org and Youth Sailing programs in both Naples www.ncscnaples.blogspot.com and Marco Island   http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/index.aspx?page=373

 Because of our generous sponsors and contributors to the AVOW regatta,  in 2015 we were able to provide $12,500 to  AVOW Children’s Bereavement Fund https://avowcares.org/  and funds for support of the Adaptive Sailing Program and other worthy causes next fall.

Supported Causes

 Avow Children’s Bereavement Program

Collier County Adaptive Sailing

Freedom Waters Foundation

 Naples Community Sailing Center

  Marco Island Youth Sailing

 Blind Sailing

From 2017 moving forward the Gulf Coast Sailing Club Board of Directors asks that any charitable donations be made directly to the group listed above



2020 sponsor logos








Changing Moments, Changing Lives  

At age 5, the year he lost his mother to cancer, climbing the highest mountain in Africa never occurred to Nick Ballo. But as a young adult, Nick felt compelled to set course on a climb to honor his mother and to benefit the Avow children’s bereavement program.

“Without the help I received from Avow’s children’s grief support services, my life might have taken a serious dive to a dark place,” Nick shared during an interview. “Instead, I had a place to go and people to support me: a place to escape the sadness and someone I could share my feelings with; someone not personally affected by our family’s loss.”

Nick not only reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014, he also brought awareness to Avow through news interviews, on social media and raised nearly $8,000 for Avow’s children’s bereavement program. Without generosity from supporters like Nick, this program and other services at Avow would not exist.

Since our founding in 1983, nonprofit Avow has expertly and compassionately cared for residents of Collier County facing serious illness, end-of-life and loss. Each year, because of generous support from the community, Avow helps thousands of adults and children find relief from suffering through healing therapies and support delivered through our palliative care, hospice and bereavement programs.

Among the thousands Avow cares for, are hundreds of children, like young Nick, who have experienced great loss.

  • Avow’s children’s bereavement counselor warmly supports and guides these children on their personal journey through grief.
  • Avow’s children’s counselors offer one-on-one supportive counseling and conduct specially designed grief support groups in Collier County schools and on the Avow campus. Additionally, our bereavement staff members provide support to parents and guardians so they may better address the needs of their grieving children while managing their own feelings of loss. Our children’s grief support staff members also:
    • Assists school personnel with crisis intervention
    • Supports children facing the anticipated loss of a loved one
    • Supports children who have been exposed to a traumatic event
  • The grief support programs at Avow are offered at no cost to the families of our hospice patients and to others in the community who have experienced the death of a loved one.

Avow is grateful for the support we receive from the community and wishes to thank the Gulf Coast Sailing Club for helping build awareness and raise funds in support of Avow’s children’s bereavement services. To invest, please visit their site.

Avow is located at 1095 Whippoorwill Lane in Naples and is Collier County’s original, nonprofit hospice. Today, Avow’s nonprofit companies provide palliative care consultations for adults facing chronic or serious illness, hospice care and bereavement support services for children and adults.