FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2016) – The Women’s Legacy Fund hosted more than 130 attendees at its annual fall luncheon on Oct. 20 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. The WLF luncheon featured keynote speakers, highlighted a new fund that was established for Dunbar women and girls, presented the 2016 WLF grant and honored two special WLF Angels.
A fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Women’s Legacy Fund of Southwest Florida is a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop the region’s next philanthropic leaders.
Speakers for the themed lunch “Encouraging Girls to Go For It: Career Exploration for Young Women & Girls” included Airline Captain Diane Meyers and IT Programs Manager Denise Spence who shared their common journey in nontraditional careers.
Among their many other accomplishments, Meyers was the first female U.S. airline pilot to fly routes for a Turkish airline, and Spence has been recognized with the distinguished “Woman in Technology Award.” These two trailblazers shared their passion for encouraging camaraderie among women and inspired the WLF’s grant focus to give career confidence to girls.
The luncheon also featured the 2016 WLF grant check presentation of $20,000 to Florida Gulf Coast University’s Whitaker Center for STEM Education. The Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) program will use the funding to mentor and inspire female FGCU students and middle school girls in Southwest Florida to pursue STEM careers by providing hands-on, inquiry driven STEM activities via expertise at Whitaker Center for STEM Education at FGCU. The program’s approach involves multiple layers of mentoring including Whitaker Center mentoring during the activity development, FGCU female faculty mentoring of FGCU female STEM majors, and FGCU STEM majors mentoring middle school students. Four Saturday events are planned to reach a total of 400 middle school girls, 84 FGCU STEM majors and 24 middle school teacher participants.
Two angel tributes were announced at the luncheon and surprised the recipients. Dorit Solomon and Ginny Yates are the Legacy Fund’s newest angels. The WLF Angel honorary designation is for mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandchildren, friends, loved ones and community leaders, either living or deceased, who have had a special impact on the lives of those around them. WLF members can make the special women in their lives a WLF Angel with a minimum contribution of $1,000 in their name.
An announcement of the new Impact Dunbar Fund as part of the Women’s Legacy Fund was also announced. Similar to the Women’s Legacy Fund, this new fund will include a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop Dunbar’s next philanthropic leaders. The Impact Dunbar Women’s Legacy Fund, founded by Karen Watson, MSW, executive director of Our Mother’s Home, and Tasheekia Perry of Crowning Daughters for Success, was established this year to empower young women and girls in the Dunbar community.
In just nine years of existence, the Women’s Legacy Fund has been able to provide more than $122,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has $547,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and into the future.
The event was for contributors to the Fund, WLF Prima Donors and women who are interested in making a difference in their community.
Contributors to the WLF give a minimum of $250 each year ($100 for women younger than 25). The first half of contributions is pooled for the purpose of immediate annual grants, while the second half is pooled into the WLF’s endowment fund, which provides additional grants to be made both now and in years to come. Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF endowment and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving.
The next WLF luncheon is for contributors and Prima Donors only and will be held on April 7, 2017, at Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club in Fort Myers.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Last year, it partnered with individuals, families and corporations that created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation’s invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $93 million, it has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Community Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan.
Based in Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, visit www.floridacommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.