May 12, 2024

Tom Golisano Donates $5 Million to STARability Foundation to Transform New Campus in Southwest Florida

STARability Foundation rendering

STARability Foundation announced today a groundbreaking $5 million leadership gift from Tom Golisano toward STARability’s permanent future home. This transformative support will elevate STARability’s mission to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through vocational training, continuing education, teamwork, social engagement, and community involvement and pave the way for expanded programs, addressing the increased demand for support and services in Collier County.

STARability Foundation logo“This generous gift from Tom Golisano is a monumental step forward for STARability and our community,” said Karen Govern, CEO of STARability Foundation. “It brings us one step closer to breaking down barriers and providing greater inclusive opportunities for growth, learning and social connections in a supportive environment where every individual can thrive.”

The announcement follows STARability’s recent acquisition of a five-acre parcel, including an existing 42,000-square-foot, two-story building located at 2655 Northbrook Drive, Naples, FL 34119. The new campus coupled with the leadership gift from Tom Golisano, marks a transformative moment for STARability, positioning the organization for expanded services and growth.

B. Thomas Golisano, ChairmanTom Golisano said, “I am pleased to be able to provide this gift to help STARability create a new and much-needed center where individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can gather, learn, and express themselves and access integrated services, therapies, and other support in a fully inclusive environment. This center and STARability’s expansion of programs will transform the lives of countless individuals for years to come.”

The location will serve as STARability’s future permanent center, facilitating a range of wraparound services and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Southwest Florida. Property development plans are underway, and details on the timeline will be released at a later date

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Golisano for believing in our mission and future plans and coming alongside us to help open the doors to many more in need,” added Govern. “We believe our new campus will become a model center, not just locally, but regionally and nationally.”

Group posing for a photo at the STARability golf event.

STARability has grown exponentially in seven years, now serving over 360 participants with a team of 41 staff and over 200 volunteers. The organization offers pioneering programs, including the Trailblazer Academy, employment services, and a variety of educational classes and recreational activities. In 2022-23, STARability provided over 30,000 experiences for its STAR participants.

This leadership gift from Tom Golisano will enable STARability to accommodate its growing community, expand programs, and more than double the number of people served, leaving a lasting impression for generations to come.

STARability is a regional leader in providing innovative, results-driven programs designed to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Southwest Florida. Their life-transforming work ensures families have access to programs, resources and an inclusive community that provide opportunities to lead a meaningful and productive life.

To learn more about STARability Foundation, visit

About Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation

Tom Golisano — entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader — is the founder of Paychex, Inc., the nation’s largest human resource company for small to medium-sized businesses, providing integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services for more than 740,000 clients in the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Golisano’s vision, perseverance, and action have left an indelible mark on a broad spectrum of issues that touch our lives – in business, healthcare, education, voter policies, politics, and tax reform. His continuing investments are helping drive the success of numerous businesses and start-ups. His philanthropic contributions to hospitals — including three children’s hospitals that bear his name — and numerous educational institutions and other organizations exceed $335 million. He has dedicated more than $95 million to advancing inclusive health around the world.

A fierce advocate for dignity and inclusion, in 1985 Tom Golisano applied his pioneering spirit to establish the Golisano Foundation to make the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With more than $60 million in gross assets, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. devoted to supporting programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities awarding about $3 million annually to non-profit organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida.

About STARability Foundation

For four decades, STARability Foundation has been shining a light on abilities, not disabilities. Formed by a small community of caring parents, STARability has become one of Southwest Florida’s leading nonprofits. Today, the organization is opening a world of possibilities for hundreds of individuals ages 14 and older by offering a variety of inclusive programs focused on vocational training, continuing education, teamwork, social engagement, and community involvement. Their compassionate team supports people with disabilities by providing life-transforming opportunities that emphasize teamwork and a connection to the community while strengthening awareness and respect for individual abilities. To learn more about the services and program offerings available, please visit

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