We are change makers devoted to improving our regional community.

We believe that to bring real change to our region, we need to think differently, and act differently. Over the last few years, we’ve done just that by working with donors, citizens, nonprofit agencies, and business, government and education leaders.

As a regional leader in social innovation and change, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation does 3 things:


We look for opportunities to make our community better and brighter and rally people around  these opportunities to seek solutions together.


We help people invest their charitable dollars in causes they care about most.


We award grants and invest our resources in organizations that are making life better for people of our regional community.

We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!

We are just a phone call away



Currrent IRS Form 990
IRS Determination letter
Annual Report
SWFLCF FYE2015 Audited Financial Statement
Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Inc.

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Give Your Way

We Make it Easy to Make an Impact

Whether you want to start a fund now and start “giving while you are living,” or establish a future fund, one that will be ready to express your legacy later, we can help you to give now or handle the details to prepare for the future. Based on the causes that are important to you, our team will work with you to determine the best approach to giving and pinpointing where your gift will have a profound and lasting impact and bring about positive social change. And, we will explore how to give for the most tax benefit to you and your estate.



It’s your fund, so you can give your way. We like to think of ourselves as the YES Foundation, with few rules, and lots of options.
Ways to Give  •  Private Foundation Services


Whether your passion is animals or education, the arts, the environment, or helping your neighbors, we stand ready to assume the concierge role.
Donor Services


Advisors are most often our friends in philanthropy. They guide their clients’ financial decisions and it’s no exception when it involves giving. We appreciate our friends and have provided resources here to help.
Forms & Resources


The SWFL Community Foundation was founded on legacy gifts, and much of the work we do today is because of generous and thoughtful donors who planned their legacy to their community with intentionality. Check out these resources and some stories about what some of our donors have told us they’re planning to do.
Simple Language for Your Will


This section features many opportunities for women to get involved in philanthropy.
Who We Are  •  How to Get Involved  •  Gallery of Angels


Established in 1997, this special fund supports the communities of greater Bonita Springs by providing grants to local non-profits.


Development Team

Carolyn<br />


VP, Development & Communications
Andrea<br />


Donor Services Coordinator
in Assets
Total in Grants & Scholarships
Scholarships Granted in 2014
Granted to Nonprofit orgs. in 2014

Your Community Foundation

Because we are entrusted with our donors’ philanthropic funds, our first priority as a community foundation is responsible stewardship of these gifts. We are diligent at managing donor funds, guiding investments with oversight from our board of directors and finance committee, adhering to strict investment policies with an eye on long-term growth, keeping donor intent, and granting with the greatest return on investment in our community.

Investing and granting charitable dollars entrusted to us by donors is something we don’t take lightly. Read about our investment objectives and check out our financial statements and audited financials.


Governed by a volunteer board of trustees since 1976, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is built on a history of exceptional leadership focused on identifying and solving community needs.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is proud to be recognized and confirmed as being compliant with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.


Finance Team

Ronald E.<br />

Ronald E.

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Luis<br />


Nick<br />


Accounting Associate
Leading Forward

Understanding Our Region

As leaders for regional change, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is addressing the quality of life for those who live, learn, work, and play in our region.

In 2015, Lee County Board of County Commissioners transferred the CompleteLee Sustainability Plan to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. We understand this plan to be a road map for driving continuous improvement. Our goal is to use the plan’s framework to measure the collective impact of regional initiatives that indicate the strength of our community.

We plan to take the following actions to move toward that goal:


Make the draft CompleteLee plan accessible for use in understanding the community’s priorities and challenges, identifying partnerships and synergies, or for reporting purposes. This includes a link to the third party verified data on the STAR Communities website – http://reporting.starcommunities.org/communities/23-lee-county-florida


Support existing partners in creating a sustainability report card to demonstrate any changes in community outcomes since 2013.


The Community Foundation will work alongside community stakeholders to create a regional dashboard. Once created, Lee County’s planning process and data will be migrated to the dashboard. Also, any partners outside of Lee County that express interest in joining the effort will be included.


Begin work to incorporate the other four counties (Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, and Collier) into this regional planning effort.

completeLee Cover
Regional Solutions

Regional Scope, Regional Solutions

We are dedicated change makers, recognizing true power comes in greater numbers. By convening local groups and engaging the community in ongoing dialogue, roundtable discussions and collaboration around an issue, the Community Foundation is erasing county boundaries to create regional solutions to the toughest challenges. Our civic leadership and resourcing for change is now a multi-agency dialogue, one that brings together community agencies, business and government, funders and stakeholders. They begin to think beyond their singular group’s needs and ambitions, beyond city or county boundaries, to think together and to develop projects resulting in measurable community impact. We encourage our community to think big.

Calls to Action

What’s your Cause? Because we care about it too.  We care about the causes in our community that will make our region stronger and in turn make Southwest Florida more competitive for national grants. We are brokers of resources and ideas, pulling together the right people armed with first-hand knowledge of the region’s needs for action, encouraging innovation, results and sustainability.  It all starts with a conversation that sometimes leads to a Call to Action. “Calls to Action” often lead to shared action and result in formal Foundation Initiatives led by the Community Foundation involving lots of people from diverse backgrounds who care passionately about the very same thing.

Tell us what your cause is:

Click on the icon and tell us your favorite cause


Foundation Initiatives

It takes more than financial resources to achieve change. It also takes leadership. Foundation Initiatives are developed as a result of a Regional Call to Action.

These Initiatives are developed, often in partnerships with other funders, to address a wide range of community issues allowing groups to make decisions and take action frequently over a multi-year period.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation launched two Initiatives this past year, each one designed to allow us to use our resources for maximum impact. Learn about them below.


We incubate new ideas and strengthen existing work through targeted grant-making.

Resource for Nonprofits

We provide so much more than grants. The Community Foundation is more than a gateway to grant giving. While we provide grants to nonprofits, we also support them after the funding cycle by coaching and developing the leadership they need to build a strong organization that is part of a greater network of like organizations in the region. Our goal is to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofit agencies capable of affecting the greatest change in our community – a mission that extends beyond funding and involves continual and meaningful conversation and interaction.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation funds grants in two primary ways:


Grants by Invitation

Agencies are selected by Foundation leadership to partner around a specific regional initiative. This partnership can include funding to support the work of the chosen agencies.


Grants by Proposal

An RFP process through the Foundation is not your typical RFP. Each RFP is designed as both a learning experience and a funding opportunity. When the Foundation requests proposals for a specific grant program, the instructions and process steps will be linked on this this page. It’s important to check this page often.

Nonprofit Leaders:

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Recent Grants

Community Impact<br />Grant

Community Impact

View Project
Women’s Legacy<br />Fund

Women’s Legacy

View Project
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fund

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fund

View Project
Bonita Springs Community Fund

Bonita Springs Community Fund

View Project
Scholarships Granted

Scholarships Granted

View Project

Regional Initiatives Team

Tessa<br />


Director of Social Innovation & Sustainability
Ashley<br />


Regional Initiatives & Partnerships Coordinator

First Impressions & Facilities Team

Kim<br />


Facilities & IT Coordinator
Michele<br />


Creating News
Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Annual Report now available

Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Annual Report now available

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s 2014-2015 Annual Report is now available online at www.floridacommunity.com/annual-report.
“2015 was a year of major milestones in the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s work as active change-makers,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation’s total assets of $93.5 million increased 13 percent from the previous…

2015 Report to the Community

2015 Report to the Community

“What can we get started for you?” It’s a simple question posed by every Starbucks barista who’s ready to brew up your favorite beverage – from plain black coffee to one of the longest and tongue-twisting orders on record: a double ristretto venti half-soy nonfat decaf organic chocolate brownie iced vanilla double-shot gingerbread Frappuccino extra hot with foam and whipped cream upside down double blended. Of course, a choice of syrups, toppings, milks, and coffee provide another 170,000 options to customize your drink, according to a company spokesperson.

Every Little Thing

Every Little Thing

On my way to a breakfast meeting I was hustling across a crowded parking lot and an unfamiliar black SUV pulled up next to me. As the window rolled down I peered in thinking it would be someone I knew. The early morning sunlight was hitting the windshield just right and blinded me to the…

‘The Visual Voice’ a News-Press photo exhibit

‘The Visual Voice’ a News-Press photo exhibit

News-Press teamed up with Southwest Florida Community Foundation to show how images are continuing to inspire, educate and start conversations in our community through a photo exhibit called 'The Visual Voice'. (Andrea Melendez/news-press.com) We've all heard the adage -- "A picture is worth 1,000 words." Powerful images can speak volumes. But, can photos change the world?  It's…

Is High Tech the New High Touch?

There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow! as the theme song of the GE exhibit Carousel of Progress at Disney Magic Kingdom reminds us. It is a living monument to the past and a nod to the future. Maybe you remember the exhibit anchored in Tomorrowland? While the stage moves, the model family gets older, their…

IRAs can benefit charity while reducing taxes for heirs

IRAs can benefit charity while reducing taxes for heirs

When balancing financial goals for retirement, charitable giving, and what is left to heirs, an Individual Retirement Account is normally set aside to provide additional retirement income and benefit heirs. But in many cases, money managers suggest a different strategy that makes more efficient use of funds by reducing taxes.
A couple, or often a remaining…