In Memory of Rita Gardner

This November 30th would have been my Mother's 70th birthday.  Rita Gardner was an incredible woman who loved all living things and was always there for anyone that needed her.  She was selfless, patient, kind, loving, non-judgmental, intelligent, witty and cared very much for the less fortunate.  Rita not only helped so many family and friends when they were sick or dying but as director of nursing, she also helped mental health patients to receive proper care and attention.  She also left a mark on the many people she worked with and would step in to help, even if it wasn't part of her job description.  In short, she made the world a better place.

For over a year, I've been thinking of ways to celebrate my Mother's life and tie her 70th birthday to something she always loved - birds. 

I am so overjoyed to announce that a nature center on Long Island has agreed to allow myself and my Brother to place a memorial bench for her on their property.  In exchange for their kindness, I asked what we could do.  They said I could raise money for their center, and we agreed it could go toward their bird program.

This very same nature center was one of the last places myself and my niece spent time with my Mother just a couple weeks before she passed away in July of 2014 (as shown in the photo for this campaign).  It was a special place for me too as I went there as a child.  I loved seeing their initiatives to care for injured or endangered wildlife and to teach people about wildlife and ecosystems found on Long Island.

The nature center is in need of new cages for their birds which cost around $500 a piece.  I am hoping to raise enough money for two cages plus extra to go towards the bench, with any remaining money needed for the bench to be paid by my Brother and I.  If we raise more than $1,500 we will leave it to the nature center to use the additional donations for other wildlife or for maintenance of their beautiful woodlands, gardens and/or wetland habitats.

Since I am raising money for a private not-for-profit, I cannot disclose the name of this center publicly and I have to raise money in my name.  If you send me a message, I will be happy to tell you the name of the center so when all is set, you can visit, take a seat on my Mother's bench, visit the birds and other rehabilitated wildlife.

GoFundMe takes around 8% of every donation, otherwise, your donation will 100% go towards this center and/or the bench.  You will receive a letter thanking you for your donation. **If you would like to send a check instead please contact me.

My Brother and I thank you so much for your support.  Every bit counts.

Happy Holidays,

Love, Colleen & Victor
  • Jacqueline Wark 
    • $75 
    • 45 mos
  • Victor Rugg 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 46 mos
  • Robert, Donna Gardner 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 46 mos
  • Barbara Breslin 
    • $250 (Offline)
    • 46 mos
  • Charles, Diane, Diane, Anne, Amy Gardner 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 46 mos
See all


Colleen Francioli 
Carlsbad, CA
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