Last Saturday more than 30,000 rubber ducks floated down the Manatee River in the 14th Annual Lucky Ducky Race for Pace. The event benefited Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County, a year-round school that provides girls and young women with an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. And for the eighth consecutive year, Neal Communities, southwest Florida’s premier private homebuilder, partnered with Pace Center for Girls as a Diamond Duck sponsor.
In addition to a $7,500 donation from Neal Communities, employees of the homebuilder also support the cause by adopting rubber ducks and raising even more funds to help the Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County. Employee-raised funds added an additional $1,700.
Jennifer Villarreal, accounting supervisor for Neal Communities, coordinates Neal Communities’ involvement with the event. “As a Manatee County native, I’ve been familiar with the positive impact of Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County and their mission for a long time. I am beyond proud to work for a company that supports the success of these local young women,” said Villarreal. “This organization is passionate and effective at making a positive change in the lives of young women and in our community – and this is the cutest event in Manatee County!”
During the race on Saturday, the adopted rubber ducks raced down the Manatee River, with the luckiest ducks winning prizes for their owners. The race started at Caddy’s at the Pointe in Bradenton at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Ducks were available for purchase up until race time with all proceeds benefiting Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County. Prizes included a two-year lease on a Jeep from Firkins Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (or $5,000 cash), weekly dinner for two at Anna Maria Oyster Bar for a full year, an outfit a month for a full year from the Teal Turtle Boutique, and more.
Some participants, including Neal Communities, decorated their ducks for the chance at additional recognition. In fact, Neal Communities took home a Best Dressed Duck trophy for their “Ducky Parton” entry.
“Neal Communities is pleased to continue to support the Lucky Ducky Race for Pace,” said Pat Neal, founder and chairman of Neal Communities. “Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County is a wonderful organization making a difference in the lives of girls within our region, and this is something we enjoy being part of each year.”
Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County integrates social services and education in an individualized manner, and it is recognized nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping adolescent girls out of the juvenile justice system. The organization uses a strengths-based approach that harnesses the unique potential of each girl with a focus on future outcomes. Pace Manatee has worked with more than 1,500 girls over the years and is one of Pace Center’s almost two dozen Florida locations.
As a Diamond level sponsor, Neal Communities’ donation assists Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County with its program and necessities, including uniforms, transportation, supplies and more.
“Partners like Neal Communities, who invest their resources as well as their time, show our Pace girls how dedicated our community is to their success,” said Amy Wick Mavis, Med, executive Director of Pace Center for Girls of Manatee County. “We are so thankful for Neal Communities and their continued support and passion for our cause. We are also incredibly grateful for the support of Manatee County as we are in the final stages of our Capital Campaign and are looking to break ground on our new 19,000 sq ft facility in the near future.”
Neal Communities, based in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, is Southwest Florida’s largest and most established locally owned and operated private builder. During the company’s 50-year history, it has built over 20,000 new homes in more than 90 acclaimed communities from Tampa to Naples. With a core belief that “Where You Live Matters,” Neal Communities has given more than $7.75 million to local charities throughout Southwest Florida and is committed to the communities where they live, work and build.
For more information about Pace Center for Girls Manatee, visit www.pacecenter.org/locations/manatee. For more information about the Lucky Ducky Race for Pace, visit www.DuckRace.com/Manatee.