DAVID LAWRENCE CENTER NAMES POLLY KELLER, WILLIAM AND KATHY O’NEILL AS CO-CHAIRS OF NEW LIVE LIFE IN COLOR! GALA

January 4th, 2016

Naples, Fl – The David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit mental health and substance abuse treatment facility serving children, adults and families, is pleased to announce that veteran Center and Foundation volunteer Polly Keller, current board member William O’Neill and his wife Kathy have been named co-chairs for the new Live Life in Color! Gala set for January 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm at The Naples Botanical Garden.

Polly Keller is an invaluable member of the David Lawrence Center family having invested her entire 46-year professional life to supporting mental health causes through charitable work and volunteerism. As a self-proclaimed “professional volunteer,” Keller’s resume includes a long list of involvement in a leadership capacity providing board development, strategic planning and business development, public relations, fundraising support, volunteer recruitment and training, program development and education. The vast majority of this work has been dedicated to the David Lawrence Center which she helped start in 1968 and the David Lawrence Foundation which at the time it was founded in 1976 was one of the first Foundations in the country whose purpose was to help a publicly funded community mental health center through private fundraising.

Polly shares, “Delivering quality mental health services to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay, has been a primary concern all my life. To supplement inadequate governmental funding is the reason we fundraise and why I am honored to support events such as the Live Life in Color! Gala.”

William O’Neill currently serves as the Development Chair for the David Lawrence Center Board of Directors and as Secretary for the David Lawrence Foundation Board of Trustees. O’Neill is a retired attorney who practiced law for 36 years in Connecticut and Florida. In addition to his service to David Lawrence Center, O’Neill also served as Chair of the United Arts Council Board of Directors, Chair for the Neighborhood Health Clinic Endowment Campaign, and Chairman of the Economic Development Council of Collier County Board of Directors among many others community organizations.

William says, “All of us, myself certainly included, have been affected directly or indirectly in their business, personal and family lives by mental illness and substance abuse. The crucial role that David Lawrence Center plays in our community cannot be overstated. I have seen the enormous changes in individual lives that have come about on account of their programs and that is why I’m honored to serve.”

Kathy O’Neill is currently an educator from a long line of educators. She has taught in classrooms and worked in school libraries in Connecticut and Florida. Kathy was the first executive of the Naples “Parents as Teachers” program, educating parents on how to maximize their children’s learning.

Kathy adds, “As a teacher, I see every day the needs of our children. Mental health and emotional health issues affect children’s academic, social and personal growth. David Lawrence Center provides vital services for students facing these challenges and I am thrilled to be a part of an effort to support their mission.

Together with honorary co-chairs and community activists Pat and Bill Barton, this dynamic and dedicated team is bringing a new format that will be an imaginative experience of colorful expression like no other. The Live Life in Color! Gala will feature nationally known performance artist, entertainer and speaker Michael Israel who pairs his renowned paint performance with heart-pounding live music that captivates his audience. This interactive event will leave onlookers feeling exhilarated and fulfilled. His art will be auctioned off after the dinner in support of the David Lawrence Center. There will also be a silent auction during the evening.

Corporate sponsors of the gala include: Arthrex, Branch Banking & Trust (BBT), Brown & Brown Insurance/Florida Blue, Cummings & Lockwood, LLC, Gulf Coast Construction, Investor’s Security Trust, Naples, Daily News, Naples Illustrated, Robyn Pfister Griffin, PA, The Stephens Group – UBS Private Wealth Management and Truly Nolen of America, Inc.

Tickets to the event are $500 per person and $1,200 per VIP patron. For sponsorship opportunities or to reserve a ticket, call 239-304-3505 or click here.

David Lawrence Center is the Southwest Florida-based, not-for-profit leading provider of behavioral health solutions dedicated to inspiring and creating life-changing wellness for every individual. The Center provides innovative, comprehensive inpatient, outpatient, residential and community based prevention and treatment services for the one in four local children and adults who experience mental health, emotional, psychological and substance abuse challenges. David Lawrence Center has seven locations in Collier County and touches the lives of more than 50,000 people each year. For more information about David Lawrence Center call (239) 491-7602 or visit www.DavidLawrenceCenter.org.

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