Last week I was driving down College Parkway in Fort Myers and noticed a car stalled out in a turn lane. A moment later people were racing across the road from a nearby convenience store, pulling over their cars and jumping out to help the young driver push the car to a gas station parking lot. There were so many people helping I think they could have picked the car up and carried it away.
Others were friendly honking and cheering them on, and I smiled and proclaimed out loud to no one, “I love this place.” It is encouraging and inspiring to see people come together to help their fellow man.
I was feeling particularly positive since this chance siting happened to fall on Valentine’s Day and I had spent the morning meeting with our team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to consider and celebrate philanthropy. At its core philanthropy means ‘love of humanity.’ Our team was reflecting on the work we see so many of our donors and nonprofits advancing in our region. Acts of generosity and compassion that are fueled by love.
Our team also recognizes that there are challenges and opportunities facing our region that philanthropy has the potential to impact. But in the spirit of community and Valentine’s Day I asked them to consider and share what they loved about Southwest Florida, their work in the region and the generosity they see in others.
Throughout the day they took a few minutes and captured their thoughts on a white board as a love note to the community and I wanted to share some of them with you.
- I love the environment
- I love helping people
- I love our new LGBT fund and the founding donors
- I love the hearts and passion of our nonprofit leaders and their teams
- I love the beaches
- I love the FutureMakers Coalition
- I love our donors and fundholders
- I love that we receive gifts from all over the world (first gift from Germany!)
- I love the plan for our new Technology Hub in downtown Fort Myers
- I love the sunshine
- I love our Women’s Legacy Fund Prima Donors and contributors
- I love SWFL’s diversity
- I love impacting lives
- I love our (volunteer) board of trustees
- I love our amazing team
That’s some of our list and we have decided to keep it up for a while. It would be wonderful to add your words to our board and our love note. What do you love about Southwest Florida? Reach out to me at [email protected], or post it on our Facebook page @SWFLCF or our Twitter page @SWFLCFnd.
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. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, visit www.FloridaCommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.