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Donna Brown has a passionate commitment to service, a keen artistic sensibility, and a clear understanding of sustainable community growth. So, it was no surprise that the Lake Cares Diamond Endowment project fit her to a T.

“I needed absolutely no encouragement to join the Lake Cares Diamond Endowment Program,” says Donna, president and co-owner of Main Street Leasing in Mount Dora.

“On the contrary, I was hoping to be asked to be a part of it. When the concept was presented to me, I felt it was brilliant. Simply the most innovative fundraising idea I had ever heard.”

Donna is one of 12 women participating in the fundraiser that was inspired by the 2008 best-selling book “The Necklace,” which chronicled how a jewelry-sharing journey changed the lives of 13 women. Each woman wears the necklace, dubbed “Bella Diamante,” for one month raising funds and awareness throughout Lake County. The pantry is selling 1,000 raffle ticket at $50 per ticket. In the spring of 2019 at the 10th Anniversary Gala at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora the winner will take home the show-stopping necklace appraised at more than $20,000. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500.

“Main Street Leasing has always strived to support our community,” says Donna. “Lake Cares has always been a big focus for us. I am honored to serve on the board, but I get even more joy from volunteering with a most dedicated and delightful group of like-minded folks.

“The food pantry is vital to Lake County. Many pantries have closed over the years and our client base has increased accordingly. Lake Cares continues to expand and keep up with the need countywide. It is an awesome task.” When she passed the necklace on in September it marked the half-way point for the Lake Cares Diamond Endowment.

“Being a part of this project has been even more rewarding than I expected,” says Donna. “Meeting other ladies from different walks of life has been such fun. All twelve of us are united by the passion we share for this endeavor. Meeting folks in the community and sharing our Lake Cares mission is wonderful. It makes me feel very proud to represent this top-notch organization.”

While the necklace continues its tour and mission throughout Lake County for now, “come March one very lucky lady will be the forever owner of Bella Diamante,” says Donna.