Actor G.W. Bailey, from the TV show Major Crimes, is pictured with Naples Realtor Rick Fioretti at a recent event for the Sunshine Kids Foundation.
NAPLES, Fla. — In 2002, Rick Fioretti was introduced to the Sunshine Kids Foundation and immediately made serving the organization a brokerage-wide goal.
“Once we got involved, it was so rewarding that we decided to keep doing it,” says the broker-associate of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Naples.
The Sunshine Kids Foundation, based in Texas, is similar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. According to Fioretti, they “take children 13 and under, who have cancer, out of the hospital and find fun activities that they can do with other children in similar circumstances. The kids feel a collective common ground as they are all getting chemotherapy treatments, are losing hair or may have missing limbs.”
The group has been on day trips to do arts and crafts or attend baseball games, and they’ve taken weeklong excursions on cruises and ski trips. “I’ve been a chaperone on a cruise with the kids,” he says.
Fioretti’s Berkshire Hathaway office does a variety of events to raise money for the group, including happy hours and galas to a golf event.
“In the beginning, we were supporting events and organizing them. Now, we’re hosting the events,” he says. And, through the years, he says, “we’ve seen these kids go from pre-teen to graduating college to becoming doctors, lawyers and other professionals.”
The key to success, says Fioretti, is to “share our passion with our customers. We invite them to the events, and over the years, there’s been tremendous bonding between the public and the Foundation.”
Fioretti recalls one event where the speaker was a young girl who had lost her leg to cancer. “She told her story and one of my customers, who was severely handicapped and could relate to the young girl, donated $30,000. He’s now become an advocate and helps us secure auction items.”
But, he says, there are so many people involved. “About 300 people attend the gala and several more hundred are behind the scenes organizing it.”
Fioretti’s favorite part is when they select a new Sunshine Kid spokeschild each year.
“That child travels the country telling his or her story and it’s a powerful message,” he says. “You follow the kids and get to know them. And, it’s rewarding when they come back as healthy, successful adults and volunteer.”
For the past several years, the Naples Area Board of Realtors® (NABOR), where Fioretti served as president in 2016, has made the Sunshine Kids Foundation its charity of choice.
He adds, “That has helped the Foundation so much. It’s given the Foundation a great opportunity to get resources from great people.”
To learn more about the Sunshine Kids Foundation, go to httpss://www.sunshinekids.org.
In addition to belonging to the Naples Area Board of Realtors®, Rick Fioretti currently serves as the 2018 District 5 vice president for Florida Realtors®, the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 180,000 members.