By Jacquie Hobgood

When you love your work, it no longer feels like a job and that love manifests itself in so many ways. The love of one’s work was epitomized by Gloria Niec as she led the Celebration Foundation to experience great success over the last eight years. The Foundation’s programs truly embody its mission of “building better community through the arts, culture, and education,” and Gloria was the champion of the charge.

As Gloria developed many of the Foundation’s programs, she truly understood the impact that such an amazing organization could have on a community and the lives of the people who reside, visit, and even read about such a wonderful place.

With her vision and the support of her staff, board, and amazing volunteers, the Foundation’s programs truly began to flourish under Gloria’s direction. Thriving In Place empowers those who are aging or managing a disability to live in their own homes and lead healthy and independent lives. Celebration Lifelong has reached record membership numbers and is providing extraordinary learning opportunities for adults— truly embracing that learning never ends. The Concert Series has brought the most amazing performers to our community for wonderfully intimate and outstanding performances. Through Learning without Hunger, more than 1100 children receive food each weekend in Osceola County. More than 100 scholarships have been given to Celebration High School students, more than 6000 students have participated in college campus tours, and more than 500 young girls have been empowered to soar through the WINGS program. The impact of Gloria and the Celebration Foundation on the community is simply remarkable.

Gloria has positioned the Foundation for continued prosperity. She evolved and refined the mission of the Celebration Foundation and it is genuinely in a position to “engage citizens through impactful programs addressing needs and enriching lives.”

As Gloria moves into retirement and the next phase of life— being Grandma— her absence will be felt, but her legacy will stand strong. Godspeed Gloria, and we thank you for your service to our community!