One of my favorite questions over a cup a coffee with a friend, colleague or new acquaintance is, “What’s on the horizon in your world that you are most excited about?”
There is something about the idea of anticipating what is to come either personally or professionally that is invigorating. I ask this question all the time and I wish I had kept a journal of the answers I have been privy to over hot cups of java.
Depending on my relationship with my coffee date I have learned of pregnancies, engagements, expected grandchildren, career moves, book deals and innovative ideas to create change.
I think this notion of what’s ahead gets me excited about the fast-approaching Southwest Florida charity season.
Sure, our restaurants will be crowded, and life will move at a little different pace but with “season” comes opportunity and untapped potential for our community. Seasonal residents return ready to volunteer, and ready to support annual fundraising events that provide funding for our region’s greatest opportunities and places where people of all ages have chances to connect and get involved.
At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, our annual Community Impact Grant cycle opens and non-profit organizations share their ideas for creating change. Over the last 40 seasons the Foundation has partnered with such organizations to provide millions of dollars of funding and resources to impact our community’s cause areas supporting a sustainable Southwest Florida such as Animals, Health and Safety; Arts, Community and Culture; Education; Economy and Jobs; the Environment; Equity and Empowerment.
For long-time residents of Southwest Florida, it can be easy to take what happens here for granted or even grumble a little about the traffic. We have grown accustomed to the infusion of the energy season brings with the focus on events and charitable endeavors. Let’s face it, our region can be a generous force for good and people are excited about being part of these purpose-filled months on the calendar.
Last weekend I met someone new to Southwest Florida. She had moved here over the summer and has yet to experience her first “season.” I asked her my favorite question and she said she was looking ahead to two things; her upcoming wedding and getting involved in the community. She had heard about all of the opportunities that come with peak season and the glorious Southwest Florida weather and could hardly wait. She said she was ready to take on something big and was anxious to see what the near future had in store.
New Southwest Floridian’s often share with me their desire to become involved in our community. It is important for those of us who have been here a while to reach out to them and find a place for this enthusiasm to take hold.
This season will not be like any other. Although there are similarities to seasons past with familiar happenings and old friends gathering, there is also untapped potential coupled with unmet opportunities. Whatever we accomplish this during a few short months has the ability to impact our region for generations. Let’s approach each season with wide-eyed wonder, an ingenious spirit and unbridled enthusiasm.
From our vantage point here in October, it may be tough to imagine change that is ahead, but when we look back over season in the waning days of May there is no doubt we will see the difference we made together. Here we go.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2016. As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Founded in 1976, it connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $4.1 million to nonprofit organizations supporting a sustainable Southwest Florida in the following areas: Animals, Health and Safety; Arts, Community and Culture; Education; Economy and Jobs; the Environment; Equity and Empowerment; Resources for Change; Philanthropy and Community Trust.
For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.