NEWS

Cause Funding Gives You a Chance to be Part of Innovation in SWFL

Cause Funding Gives You a Chance to be Part of Innovation in SWFL

Here’s your chance to help turn an innovative idea into a real program! Last year, the SWFL Community Foundation partnered with the Florida Next Foundation to provide a forum for Next Gens to propose ideas addressing local challenges. Two rose to the top – Fab Lab Fort Myers and Valerie’s House. Click on the link below to help make these dreams a reality for our community! Every little bit helps.

http://www.causetofund.com

Fab lab valeries house

Half Packed for the Journey

Half Packed for the Journey

When I picked up my daughter at RSW over the holidays after a long flight from her home in Amsterdam, I was shocked when I lifted her suitcase off of the baggage carousel.

I have long been amazed by how much one small young woman can pack and haul across the ocean. She takes the art of the 50 lb. weight limit to a whole new level. I have even seen her wearing several winter coats on board an aircraft after a showdown at ticketing due to the weight of her bag.

But this trip I was shocked in a whole new way when I hoisted the bag and it was so light it almost flew out of my hands. I had to check the name tag to make sure we had the correct baggage.

I wondered if half of her load might have been left in customs.

But when I ask her what was up a zen-like expression came over her and she said, ” I just wanted to leave room for something exciting to take back with me. If I am already over the limit I don’t leave any room for adventure.”

I almost sat down at baggage claim and cried. It gave a whole new perspective to the idea of “you can’t take it with you,” and for the 3 weeks she was visiting we focused on what she could take back to share with friends and loved ones instead of how many sweaters she could physically wear at one time to pass the weight test.

This experience caused me to reflect on how much “stuff” both physical and mental I carry around with me from one place to the next or one conversation to the next instead of looking for new perspectives and insights.

As I begin my journey into 2015 I want to be sure I am examining the weight of my baggage. Now that I have been in my role at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for 3 years, I want to be sure that I don’t lose my focus on listening to new ideas, learning from donors, advocates, nonprofits and my neighbors in Southwest Florida.

Recently the Foundation hosted an Idea Lab that brought nonprofits together from across the region to consider new ways they could partner and work together to solve southwest Florida’s most pressing issues. Some of them worked together after the Lab to design projects for an upcoming funding cycle.

As I spent some time just reading over their ideas, I realized how much our community would miss out on if the Foundation didn’t create a space for this kind of design thinking.

I have no idea what will come of some of these ideas- but it’s ok because I have left plenty of room in my bag for this journey.

In the months to come I will try and keep you posted on what I discover. I would love to hear from you at iamlistening@floridacommunity.com

Cape Coral Art League establishes agency fund to continue growth

Cape Coral Art League establishes agency fund to continue growth

The Cape Coral Art League (CCAL) recently established an endowment fund through the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to continue to grow and maintain its mission of promoting the advancement of art throughout Southwest Florida.

Incorporated in 1966, the CCAL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers year-round classes for adults, youth and children, eight major art exhibits each year in addition to its annual art fair in January and other art shows, workshops with world-renowned arts, and scholarships programs.

“The Cape Coral Art League has provided our community access to the visual arts for almost 50 years, and it is our hope that this newly established fund will continuing giving back to the community by sustaining our beautiful facility and hardworking volunteer organization for another 50 years,” said Suzanne Sims, president of the CCAL.

Nonprofit agency endowment funds allow an agency to take advantage of the Community Foundation’s financial management, administrative resources and expertise on planned giving. The funds are owned and managed by the foundation on behalf of the nonprofit and provide a simple and effective way for charities to build endowment and sustainability. Agencies can opt to receive annual proceeds as a source of income for operations and programs or roll over the amount to increase future endowment.

“We support the efforts of the CCAL and their strategic leadership who have an eye on today’s needs and a plan for the future of the organization,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “Their endowment fund is a great tool for their members and supporters to use to maintain and strengthen the organization that they care so much about.”

CCAL Board - Judy Biddle, Marian Borneman, Carmen Sprague, Marjorie Ewell, Linda Wildman, Pat Gilbert, Monica Rahman, Susie Nelke and Suzanne Sims

CCAL Board – Judy Biddle, Marian Borneman, Carmen Sprague, Marjorie Ewell, Linda Wildman, Pat Gilbert, Monica Rahman, Susie Nelke and Suzanne Sims

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. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants. For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

The Cape Coral Art League is located at 516 Cultural Park Boulevard in Cape Coral and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 239-772-5657 or visit www.capecoralartleague.org.

 

Prima Donors Put Their Colorful Shoes Forward to Step Up for Our Community

Prima Donors Put Their Colorful Shoes Forward to Step Up for Our Community

Christina Harris-Schwinn and Gay Thompson blue shoes

Oh the Joy of Feeling Blue!

Christina Harris Schwinn and Gay Rebel Thompson, Prima Donors of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, took to the malls this weekend to find just the right pair blue shoes for Harris Schwinn, one of our newest members of this thoughtful group of givers.  As the tradition goes, the last prima donor buys the next one her blue shoes.  It is the subtle symbol of this group of philanthropists who give to the Women’s Legacy Fund endowment to experience collective giving as women toward causes they care about.

For more information on the Women’s Legacy Fund or how to become a Prima Donor, click here

 

Southwest Florida Community Foundation to host Springs Eternal presentations

Southwest Florida Community Foundation to host Springs Eternal presentations

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will host two presentations of Florida nature photographer John Moran’s The Springs Eternal Project Exhibition “Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth” in February.

Moran will present on Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at the Community Foundation’s Community Hub located at 8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201 in Fort Myers, and the following day, Feb. 5 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at the Community Foundation’s Sanibel Office located in the Sanibel Sea School at on the south end of Sanibel Island located on the corner of Periwinkle and Lagoon Drive.

The Springs Eternal Project documents the beauty, history and increasing ecological devastation of Florida’s springs and aquifer.
“Although vital to the ecological, social and economic health of our state, Florida’s springs are imperiled—due to pollution, neglect and the groundwater demands of a thirsty state,” said Moran, who has been photographing the springs of Florida for more than 30 years. “Once a source of awe, our springs are now a source of deep concern. And like our troubled waters from the Caloosahatchee to the Indian River Lagoon, their future is unclear.”
In 2012, Moran partnered with artist and art historian Dr. Lesley Gamble and designer Rick Kilby to create the Springs Eternal Project after coming to the realization that his “beauty” pictures of Florida weren’t really changing anything and that he had an obligation to more fully show and tell the truth as he sees it. Their collaboration fills museum walls and continues to develop creative forms of educational outreach inspiring Floridians to value, conserve and restore our precious waters.

“Unique and stunningly beautiful, our springs also provide crucial ecosystem services that include habitat for diverse array of flora and fauna, some rare (Ichetucknee Silt Snail) and endangered (Florida Manatee),” Moran said. “Windows into the Floridian Aquifer, our springs pump roughly six billion gallons of fresh water each day to feed rivers, lakes and estuaries. Their basins provide crucial recharge areas that capture and filter precious rainwater. Florida’s springs are powerful drivers for tourism, recreation and other sectors vital to Florida’s economy, and, like the Everglades, their health is a key indicator of our state’s ecological and economic wellbeing.”

Space is limited. To RSVP, call 239-274-5900 or email Kim Williams at KWilliams@floridacommunity.com.

For more information, visit www.SpringsEternalProject.org.

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. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

Chocolate or the Peanut Butter?

Chocolate or the Peanut Butter?

I have a serious affection for Peanut Butter Cups. I believe I have definitely eaten more peanut butter cups than vegetables over the course of my half century of living and believe with great anticipation that I have many more of the treats in my future.

As a child I loved the ads that debated whether it was the chocolate or the peanut butter that made the confection so wonderful.  I would actually try to engage others in a debate about this question as peanut butter cups mattered to me and I felt this tension-point had merit.

I also love philanthropy. I will not comment as to where this compares to my love for peanut butter cups in my life but recently the great chocolate peanut butter deliberation has come to mind in the context of my work in modern day philanthropy.  Philanthropists today are searching for ways to achieve both thoughtful and effective giving.

When I am writing and speaking about giving I mention that giving should be impactful, effective and in the same breath say that it should feel great and be the most fun a donor ever has.  Recently I had a donor in my office who ask me how exactly to achieve both of those goals.  He felt a tension and certain trade-offs were needed and wondered if one characteristic was more important than the other—In other words, is it the chocolate or the peanut butter that makes giving so deliciously important.

Just as I could never give a definitive answer on the peanut butter cups, I explained to him that philanthropy today requires us to hold on to what could seem like two opposing views at the same time and still get to the good or the change we want to create. He got me thinking about those tensions that donors face when trying to create meaningful plans.

A few days after he left my office I came upon an article written by the CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Melissa A Berman in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  She and her colleagues have been advising wealthy donors for over a decade and had identified 10 tensions they saw every strategic donor wrestle with.  She was clear to point out that “The dichotomy should make clear that there is no right or wrong, but that each of these ideas factors into the giving equation, resulting in philanthropy that is both inspiring and challenging. A few of the tensions her team had identified were Focus vs Flexibility:  Focusing in on a few select causes vs spreading funds thinly among several; Capacity vs. Capability: The age old question of affecting the largest group of people possible or doing the best job for a small targeted group; and Speed vs. Thoroughness: When a disaster strikes providing quick immediate funding vs money and resources needed for the long term recovery.

To see all 10 of Berman’s teams trade-offs you can access the article, “10 Trade-Offs Donors Face That Make Philanthropy Tough but Rewarding’ at http://bit.ly/pnutbuttercup

Berman goes on to say, “Each of these tensions makes strategic philanthropy both difficult and rewarding. To help navigate these tensions, donors should evaluate which ones are most important to them and how they see themselves in philanthropy. Then and only then can donors determine which trade-offs they are willing to accept. It’s not a perfect world—that’s why we need philanthropy.”

Just like the great peanut butter cup debate, it is personal but in the end we all savor the end result.

If you are considering developing a strategic plan for your 2015 giving, please email me at iamlistening@flordacommunity.com.
image from robinskey.com