Best Buddies International is excited to announce a generous grant from the Golisano Foundation of $50,000 to expand its work in Southwest Florida to serve more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

“Best Buddies Southwest Florida is honored to have been selected for a $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation. With a goal of creating awareness and inclusion throughout Southwest Florida, Best Buddies will use this grant to help forward our mission of providing more opportunities in area schools for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says Melanie Musick, Best Buddies Area Director.

With the Golisano Foundation’s support, Best Buddies was launched in Southwest Florida in October 2017. Initial funding supported organizing the local office, providing for space and operations. 

The Southwest Florida office, located at 5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd. in Fort Myers, is staffed with two full-time employees, Area Director Melanie Musick and Program Manager Molly Morrina, who is the school liaison.

Currently, Southwest Florida has Best Buddies chapters at 26 schools throughout the local community. Each chapter is supported by a Faculty Advisor/Special Education Advisor plus a Chapter President, in addition to the Program Manager.

School administrators, teachers and/or parents wanting Best Buddies offered at a specific school location in Lee, Collier, Charlotte or Sarasota counties are welcome to contact Melanie Musick at or 239-275-2510.

Best Buddies is a nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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