Continuing her legacy
Leona Springer was one of Habitat Collier’s first volunteers. She got involved through First Presbyterian Church of Naples doing office work and writing thank-you notes to donors in the late seventies and eighties. Back then, Habitat for Humanity of Collier County was still known as Immokalee Habitat for Humanity. She was one of our first volunteers and helped to pave the way for those who would give their time in the years to follow.
It’s been almost 20 years since Leona passed, but her daughter Donna continues to keep her commitment to helping families in need alive. Each year, Donna gives to Habitat Collier in memory of her mother.
“I contribute to Habitat Collier each year around Mother’s Day and my mother’s May 10th birthday—and have included Habitat for Humanity of Collier County in my will—to honor her. Every year I make a donation in the amount of the age she would have been,” Donna says.
This year, Leona would have turned 102.
Like mother, like daughter.
It’s clear that Donna inherited her mother’s philanthropic mindset. In addition to her many contributions to Habitat Collier over the years, she is also involved with several other nonprofit organizations in her community. She volunteers regularly with Easter Seals and her local Habitat affiliate, and has even included Habitat Collier and other charities in her estate plans.
Giving back is Donna’s way of paying tribute to her mother. Habitat was a cause close to Leona’s heart, and now the organization holds a special place in Donna’s heart, too. Though she lives in St. Louis, she still keeps in touch with Habitat Collier, even making it down for a visit to see how the organization has grown since the days when her mother volunteered.
“Habitat for Humanity Collier County has reached many milestones since the late 70’s, the formative years, when my mother began her volunteer work,” Donna says. “I feel gratified by contributing to Habitat Collier’s continued mission—persons of all ages and ethnicities earn better living conditions which help them live better lives.”
As a volunteer during the early days of Habitat Collier, Leona was one of a small group of forward-thinkers who helped to set Habitat Collier on a path of success from the very beginning. Still to this day, it’s the dedication of volunteers like Leona that helps make Habitat Collier so successful.
“Her life and her work expressed desire to help persons of all ages. She wanted to help people get up by their bootstraps. It’s a cause she really believed in.”
Perhaps Leona’s own words from a 1989 news article sum it up best. “You know what they say… Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle.”