The tables at my favorite coffee shops have been occupied to overflowing the last couple of weeks. At first glance I thought it was probably the influx of winter residents in search of lattes and other caffeinated beverages. It is always a welcome sight to see our community businesses filled with seasonal neighbors.
But on closer inspection I realized every alcove was filled with laptops, notebooks, calculators, flashcards, text books and enough cups of coffee to power a small city. The patrons were not there for a simple cup of java and conversation rather they were camped out for the day and in some cases the night. The combination of blurry-eyed students and busier than normal baristas made it clear it was finals week at our local higher education institutions.
Everyone was reviewing and studying and preparing for what was to come on their final exams. One of my friend’s kids was able to calculate on demand exactly what score he needed to pass a math class that had given him trouble all semester.
This time of year lends itself to a review mindset even if school days are a thing of the past. There is no shortage of year-end lists of the best books, music, movies, or noteworthy people. There’s lots of chatter about who is going to be “Person of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year,” etc…, or the much-awaited “Year in Review” photos featured on most media outlets and social media platforms. And, let’s not forget about the review of fulfilled or failed prior year New Year’s resolutions.
When the calendar draws to a close we like to look back and reflect on what we have seen and done before we move ahead into the new year. In some cases, just like my friend’s son we know exactly what remains to hit a year end goal.
Review week also happens around giving. At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we hear from many of our donors at this time of year who want to review their charitable giving history over the last 12 months. Fortunately, we have reports and information they can access 24/7 that outlines where their philanthropic dollars have been distributed and program evaluators who can provide information on the impact of some of their gifts. And if your review includes searching for an organization or cause to contribute to at year end, we are on hand as your concierge of philanthropy to help guide you there as well.
Our annual grantees have finished up reports and narratives on their funded programs and carry new ideas and lessons learned on how to create greater change and opportunity in 2017, and there is no doubt that your mailboxes have been filled with letters from the nonprofits you support sharing stories of success and opportunity from 2016.
There is so much going on I am thinking opening coffee shop just for review week next year- We will have a table waiting for you.
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, the Foundation partnered with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, we’ve 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.