PACE Center for Girls, Lee County Purchases Building as Site of New Center

November 7, 2013 CONRIC PR

PACE Center for Girls, Lee County announces the purchase of the former Richard Milburn Academy as the new home for the Center and its 45 young women at 3800 Evans Avenue in Fort Myers. Renovations will commence immediately with a projected move-in date for February 2014. The purchase of the 15,000 square foot facility will more than double classroom instructional space, allowing PACE Lee to expand our capacity and services to the girls. A press conference will be held on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 8am at the Evans Avenue location and is open to the public. Two landmark announcements will be shared regarding the naming of the building and a community matching gift. Tours will be provided after the press conference.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, the PACE Center for Girls, Lee County has successfully raised more than $764,000 for its $2 million “Dream BIG” Capital Campaign.

The campaign was launched in 2011 with a matching gift challenge from the Kleist Family Foundation. Mrs. Eleanore Kleist serves as the honorary co-chair along with PACE Lee Board Treasurer Sonya Sawyer. We have an additional $400,000 to be raised by December 31, 2013 to pay for renovations.

Since opening its doors, the Lee Center has helped nearly 600 girls find success in school, generate a positive relationship with their families and peers, and become productive members of our community.

“We are at maximum capacity with no room for growth at our current location that we have rented since we opened our doors in 2007,” says Executive Director Meg M. Geltner.  “Our expansion will provide the Center more room to grow our capacity, increase our services to the Girls as well as engage volunteers, interns, and community agencies annually.”

“This is a transformational project for our community,” says Campaign Co-Chair Sonya Sawyer.  “The expansion will enable PACE Lee to become the #1 Center in the region with a new approach to serving at-risk girls and young women.”

PACE Lee is one of 18 centers located throughout Florida, opening its doors in February of 2007 under the leadership of Gail Markham and Judge James H. Seals. PACE (Practical, Academic, Cultural, Education) Center for Girls provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. The Center offers year round counseling and academic services for girls, ages 12-18, who are facing challenges such as foster care, domestic violence abuse and neglect, death of a parent, substance abuse, and/or family history of incarceration. “With the support of our committed and dedicated community, I am confident we will be able to take PACE Lee to a new level of service and excellence as we strive to expand our reach to serve more girls,” concludes Meg Geltner.

For more information about PACE Lee and the Dream BIG Capital Campaign, visit or call 239-425-2366 ext. 25. Naming opportunities are available. Gifts can be made online at

About PACE Center for Girls, Inc.

PACE Center for Girls, Inc., established in 1985, is a Florida-based, not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 and the only statewide prevention program for adolescent at-risk girls in the nation. PACE’s mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. PACE has been nationally recognized as the most effective model in the country for reducing rates of detention and incarceration, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, dropping out of school, unemployment and long-term economic dependency amongst girls. PACE values all girls, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity and grace. Visit for more information.

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