George Karpus, CEO of Karpus Investment Management knows a thing or two about the importance of giving back to his local community. “My father was a coal miner and my mother did factory work,” the Naples resident says of his humble beginnings. “I’ve been blessed and I enjoy giving back to others. The purpose of my family foundation is to support and make an impact in the lives of children and members of the military community. I think that’s true with this gift to Home Base Southwest Florida. The program needs additional resources to expand and offer mental health support to more Veterans; we can help them with that.”
In July, the Karpus Family Foundation presented Home Base Southwest Florida (SWFL) with a $12,500 philanthropic grant. The donation will provide support for social work and case management for the program’s efforts in healing the invisible wounds for Southwest Florida Veterans and their families.
“People who survive traumatic events, like Veterans, have a need to be around others who have had similar experiences,” said Naples’ resident and retired Army Brigadier General Ed Dyer, who serves as a Special Advisor to Home Base SWFL. “Veterans who have experienced combat need to create their own community. Home Base SWFL offers them the opportunity to do just that.”
Working locally with Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee Health Systems and the YMCA, Home Base SWFL is a true community collaboration and offers veterans supportive clinical, health and wellness programs, in coordination with the parent program based out of Boston, MA. Home Base SWFL’s local programs – Warrior Health and Fitness, Resilient Warrior and Adventure Series events for Military Families – are designed to empower veterans to take control of their physical and mental health, provide tools to assist in managing stress and identify the triggers that would necessitate more intensive and complex treatment for the invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
More than 700 Veterans and family members have benefited from Home Base SWFL’s initiatives since its inception in 2014. But, as Armando Hernandez, who served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and is now the Program Director for Home Base SWFL says, the needs of the local military community are increasingly more complex. There are more than 1.5 million veterans living in Florida, including 5,000 Post-9/11 men and women residing in the five counties of Southwest Florida; Hernandez is keenly aware that the need for services locally is vast and requires additional community support “Our program is growing. We knew we needed to increase our local mental health capabilities to complement what is currently available. This was the first time a local family foundation has donated to our program, and we are grateful to the Karpus Family Foundation for supporting our goal to provide a full range of services that support veterans in Southwest Florida. I hope it will encourage other like-minded organizations to do the same.”
Home Base SWFL is a philanthropically-driven organization, relying primarily on donations to support their programs. Some of the organization’s major events, such as the Run to Home Base Florida – a charity race offered annually in January at the home of Boston Red Sox Spring Training JetBlue Park – and golf tournaments, such as those held at Kensington and Pelican Nest Country Clubs in Naples, FL – have been the program’s primary source of philanthropic funding. To learn more about how you can support Home Base Southwest Florida, click here.