NEWS

Putting Life in Perspective: All That Lasts Is What You Pass On!

Putting Life in Perspective: All That Lasts Is What You Pass On!

by John Sheppard, a founding trustee and senior advisor
SWFL Community Foundation Board of Trustees

In November of 2001, my wife Ellen gave an article to read from that November issue of Family Circle magazine, written by the horror story Novelist Stephen King. I did not know it at the time, but researched and found King and his wife have a very impressive record of charitable giving before and since their Foundation donating millions to charities.

One of Mr. King’s novels “The Shining,” was made into an award-winning movie with Jack Nicholson. It still gives me the ‘willies’ to think about that book and movie.

This article was compelling, but it was not the Stephen King I had known. Below are a few pearls of King’s realistic wisdom and truth taken from his article:

In 1998, Stephen King was in an automobile accident while driving alone on a dark, and lonely road he might have described in one of his stories. The accident nearly took his life. It took two years of rehab for him to recover.

He recounted in the article that, as he lay in the ditch, along that dark road, thinking he would die, he began to reflect on what is important in life.

Here is how he expressed it:

“We come into life naked and broke. When we go out, we may be dressed, but we are broke. (‘We don’t take anything with us.’) Bill Gates, broke. Tom Hanks, broke. Stephen King, broke. Not a crying dime. No matter what you may have made or have, (when you die) it’s still going to be a quarter-past getting late, whether your watch is a Rolex or a Timex.”

Stephen King mused: “Sooner or later…the only three things you can call your own: your body, your mind, and your spirit. So, I want you to consider making your life one long gift to others. And why not? ALL THAT WE HAVE IS ON LOAN ANYWAY. ALL THAT LASTS IS WHAT YOU PASS ON.”

King continued: “Giving is not about the receiver, or even the amount of the gift. It’s for the giver… to improve oneself… giving is a way of taking the focus off the money we have and putting it back where it belongs… on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities that nurture us and we nurture. A life of giving – not just the money, but time and spirit – repays.”

WOW! Did he get that right or what?

Stephen King concluded: “It helps us to remember that we are going out broke, but right now we’re doing OK. Right now, we have the power to do great good for others.” (Now, while we are alive and at our passing through our estate planning.)

“So I ask you to begin giving generously. I think you will find, you gave more than you ever had, and did more good than you ever dreamed.”

All this from the master of horror, and philanthropist, Stephen King.

I’m not glad he had the accident, but I’m glad he had an epiphany and the revelation that night!

And I am glad he shared it with us.

Like the old farmer’s mule, sometimes we have to be hit between the eyes with a two-by-four to get our attention and see the light.

Stephen King got the whack and heard the message, loud and clear.

Has the two-by-four hit you yet? Have you heard the message, loud and clear?

Are you giving now, or have you planned to give at your ‘graduation’ (passing) what you are able to give?

A man who fought in the Civil War Albert Pike wrote this “What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others remains, and is immortal.”

What will be your legacy? Remember, all that lasts is what you pass on.

If you’d like to talk to us about your planned, current or life’s legacy, please either email us at info@floridacommunity .com or call us at 239 274-5900. The staff and trustees of the SWFL Community Foundation are always ready to help you to -thoughtfully- give to the causes or charities you care about.

Note: John Sheppard is a retired estate planning attorney, author, a founding trustee of the SWFL Community Foundation, a past president of the organization and now a senior advisor, a donor and multiple fund holder.

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 $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 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.

Rogers recertified as a Certified Fund Raising Executive

Rogers recertified as a Certified Fund Raising Executive

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2015) – CFRE International has recertified Carolyn C. Rogers, vice president of development and communications for Southwest Florida Community Foundation, as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Rogers joins more than 5,300 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Rogers received her CFRE in 2000.

Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International, which include tenure in the profession, education, demonstrated fundraising achievement and a commitment to service to nonprofit organizations. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive and have agreed to uphold accountability standards and the Donor Bill of Rights. Initially, candidates must pass a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a fundraising executive.

“The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” said Jim Caldarola, CFRE, immediate past chair of CFRE International. “As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE credential demonstrates a high level of commitment on the part of Carolyn C. Rogers to herself, the fundraising profession and the donors who are served.”

In addition to her CFRE, Rogers holds accreditation as a public relations professional (APR) and certification as a public relations counselor (CPRC) both through the Florida Public Relations Association.

CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain certification status, recipients must demonstrate on-going fundraising employment and fundraising results, and continue with their professional education. Employers and donors who work with CFREs know they are getting a professional who is committed to the best outcomes for their organization and has the requisite knowledge and skills.

CFRE International is an independent organization dedicated to the certification of fundraising executives by setting standards in philanthropic practice. Governed by a volunteer board of directors and led by a small professional staff, CFRE International consistently meets the highest standards for certification excellence and is itself accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies.

As the premier global credential for career fundraisers, the CFRE designation is endorsed and supported by the world’s leading professional and philanthropic associations, including:

 

Association of Christian Development Professionals (ACDP) Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC)
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) Association of Philanthropic Counsel (APC)
Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
Canadian Association for Gift Planners/Association canadienne des professionnels (CAGP*ACPDP)
Council for Resource Development (CRD) Educate Plus
European Fundraising Association (EFA) Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) The Giving Institute
Giving Institute; International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) Japan Fundraising Association (JFRA)
North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO) National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC)
New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (NEAHP) Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP)
Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) United Way Worldwide (UWW)
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 $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 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.

 

Beating the Odds 2015: Top High Schools for Low-Income Students

Beating the Odds 2015: Top High Schools for Low-Income Students

Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds” list seeks to identify schools that do an excellent job of preparing their students for college while also overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage. A star next to a school’s name indicates that it meets our Equity measure by helping low-income students score at or above average on state assessments.

Huh? Schools Think Kids Don’t Want To Learn Computer Science

Huh? Schools Think Kids Don’t Want To Learn Computer Science

TIMES HAVE NEVER been better for computer science workers. Jobs in computing are growing at twice the national rate of other types of jobs. By 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1 million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them.

If any company has a vested interest in cultivating a strong talent pool of computer scientists, it’s Google. So the search giant set out to learn why students in the US aren’t being prepared to bridge the talent deficit. In a big surveyconducted with Gallup and released today, Google found a range of dysfunctional reasons more K-12 students aren’t learning computer science skills. Perhaps the most surprising: schools don’t think the demand from parents and students is there.

The Town That Decided to Send All Its Kids to College

The Town That Decided to Send All Its Kids to College

College was never much of an option for most students in this tiny town of 1,200 located in the woods of the Manistee National Forest. Only 12 of the 32 kids who graduated high school in 2005 enrolled in college. Only two of those have gotten their bachelor’s degree.

That was just a decade ago. Now, nearly everybody who graduated from the high school here in June is off to a four-year college, a community college, or a technical school. Kindergarten students talk about going to college. High schoolers take trips to campuses around the state and, at a raucous assembly each spring, reveal to the school which colleges they’re going to attend.

So what changed? How did one of the poorest counties in Michigan, a state that’s struggling, accomplish such a turnaround?

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough

The packages would always arrive when I least expected them. Wrapped somewhat sloppily in brown paper and twine with an upstate New York postmark the contents were a treasure trove of gemstones.

My grandfather, who I only met on one or two occasions as a young girl, fancied himself a rock collector and amateur gemologist. He would travel out west and collect all sorts of rocks that he would magically transform into rich pieces of polished turquoise or other shiny gemstones. Sometimes he would go so far as to include a small piece of jewelry adorned with one of his discoveries in my special deliveries.

I imagined him to be either a wildly adventurous gold miner or a wealthy gem trader, which made the packages even more exciting.

My illusions were dashed on one of his two trips to Florida. I envisioned him arriving in a limo dripping in gems and diamonds. He came in a Buick but I was still excited to help him with his bags and cases that I was certain housed the precious cargo. He had barely gotten comfortable before I begged him to show me his collection.

But instead of perfectly polished stones, he presented me with what looked like a box of dirty old rocks. I am sure my disappointment was showing. He was quick to tell me that these were in fact the beautiful gems I was hoping for but it would take a little time.

Reaching back into his bag he pulled out a rock tumbler and began the process of turning a bag of rocks into shiny polished nuggets. In some cases the change happened fairly quickly and gave me instant gratification while others specimens needed to be bounced in the tumbler longer and then had to be polished by hand with some sort of compound to bring out their inner beauty. All the rocks had to go through some sort of process to reach transformation.

Looking back I think this was my first lesson in how change happens.

I grew impatient quickly and he explained that it was not just about the gems but about the process and what happens along the way. He enjoyed searching for the rocks, collecting, cataloguing, and transforming them into the finished product. I just wanted the finished product.

If you have ever heard me introduce our team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, you know I always speak of them as “Change Makers.” I speak the same way about community donors, non-profit professionals and volunteers. All of these folks are dedicated to creating change in our region. Not change for change sake but positive sustainable change that makes our communities better places for all of us to work, live and play.

I am still obsessed with the beauty of the end result but have also become more and more passionate and patient about the process my grandfather explained to me.

Many times we all read about the end results that change agents have accomplished and we hear great stories of successful transformation. But I have come to realize that these efforts have come as result of their own sort of rock tumbling.

Recently I was meeting with a group of interns from University of Florida who were embedded in local non-profits for the summer. I asked them what had been their biggest surprise in transitioning from the classroom setting to the field. They all agreed that they had come to realize that imagining the change they wanted to create in the world and the speed at which they could do it was vastly different.

I told them to just keep tumbling and the gems of change will emerge. If you want to be part of change in our community, let me know. I can be reached at iamlistening@floridacommunity.com.

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 $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 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.

Southwest Florida Community Foundation opens grant cycle

Southwest Florida Community Foundation opens grant cycle

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will open its 2015-2016 Community Impact Grant season with a call for innovative projects and programs. More than $500,000 is available for both established and new programs that are designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians.

Based on its available Field of Interest funds, the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants provide strategic funding in the following areas:
1. People – Projects and programs that address the challenges of low-income families, specifically those of women and children, and challenges facing the homeless, elderly and those with disabilities
2. Animals – Projects and programs that address the humane treatment and care of animals
3. Arts – Projects and programs that advance the arts and/or supply arts education for children
4. Education – Projects and programs that increase post-secondary attainment by strengthening aspiration and preparation (infant through high school), access and entry, persistence and progress, and transition into the workforce after school
A list of eligibility requirements can be found by reviewing the Grants Process for Community Impact Grants under the Grants page at www.floridacommunity.com.
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 $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 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.

When passion resonates          (quite literally)

When passion resonates (quite literally)

by Adriana Di Graziano, 2015 Florida Fellow

 

When I was first told by the people at Southwest Florida Community Foundation that I would be working with a local symphony, I thought to myself, “This program is about social change; what does an orchestra have to do with anything?” I learned quickly it had everything to do with social change.

Through their passion for music, Maestro Andrew Kurtz and his orchestra of exclusively volunteer musicians at Gulf Coast Symphony bring about positive change in different communities throughout Southwest Florida by nurturing people’s souls. Over the last 20 years, hundreds have enjoyed listening to and making music, regardless of their economic stature. The community as a whole benefits from great cultural enrichment and events that bring people together. Through my work this summer, I saw what an impact that makes.

During a discovery session for children to play and experiment with musical instruments, it was wonderful to see the transforming effect the experience had on them. Children from different social strata and cultures all lit up in the same way when they heard the different beats of a drum, the funny noises a violin makes when stroked too hard, or the sound of a flute changing according to the keys being pressed. These are children who would otherwise never get to run their fingers on the keys of a flute, make musical sounds on a violin or hear the tone of a double-reed instrument, the oboe.

In the same way, I loved assisting Managing Director Linda Onorevole when she taught financially-challenged adults about rhythm, melody and musical notes through a series of musical activities. I saw the excitement growing in the eyes of the participants after each song, every time they learned something new. A group of perfect strangers, who hardly spoke to each other at the beginning of the lesson, danced together to the rhythm of a Waltz and sang together, waving their arms, when “We are the Champions” played out loud. For about an hour they shared their emotions through music, and then parted as friends.

I am thankful to the Foundation for placing me as a summer intern at Gulf Coast Symphony because, much like a well-performed piece reverberates in an auditorium, so does the Symphony’s passion for change resonates in the community.

And it resonated with me. Two months ago I was a stranger to the program and new in the community. However, here I am at Gulf Coast Symphony trying to help them make an impact, moved by the same stories that compelled these people to start the organization in the first place.

When passion resonates, change happens.

 

In an added effort to assist nonprofits funded by the SWFL Community Foundation this year, the Foundation is hosting four students studying public interest communications at the University of Florida as part of the Foundation’s Florida Fellowship program.  Funded by the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation, the students are working in three of our nonprofit grantee organizations this summer for an 8-week paid fellowship.  For more information on the SWFL Community Foundation, its grants processes or to be part of the change that the grantees are working toward in the region, contact us at info@floridacommunity.com, or call us, we’d love to have a conversation, 239-274-5900.

 

FutureMakers Coalition focuses on increasing the region’s college and career-ready workforce

FutureMakers Coalition focuses on increasing the region’s college and career-ready workforce

As a business leader, you’re faced with challenges every day such as navigating economic insecurity, keeping and developing a customer base, sustaining strong financials, strategizing tour next steps, and more. In the midst of all this, you know the value of a great team. You know how important it is to have skilled and engaged employees helping your company thrive. And, you also know that you’re not alone. Every business leader and owner is looking for great employees. The newly formed FutureMakers Coalition understand this too.

FutureMakers is a coalition working to increase the education and preparedness of Southwest Florida’s workforce, and that’s good news for Naples business and the regional economy.

Click here to read online

Click here to download (pdf)

Creating Change Through the Noise (With A Little Help)

Creating Change Through the Noise (With A Little Help)

by Kelsie Ozanne. 2015 Florida Fellow

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of noise: fumes tumbling from car exhaust pipes, birds squawking from the treetops, people struggling to over speak the other, and electronic music booming from speakers. So much noise can be overwhelming, and it can mask what really matters. This summer, I’ve learned the importance of focused ambition— how to break away from the noise of people telling me why something won’t work and listening to the people telling me why it can.

As I drove over the white rocks of the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife’s driveway, I watched the circulating dust fade and two hurricane-proof buildings appear. A wildlife hospital and visitor center became my home for the summer. My first day was filled with press, sea turtles, baby birds, nametags, new faces and Florida heat. But, beyond all the excitement, I was left with one major hurdle to overcome. How could I make a lasting impression and effect on an already well-established organization in just eight weeks?
Dave Fleming, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s strategist, described the answer to my problem beautifully. He said I needed to focus on doing consistent, great work and using emotional intelligence, being not only self-aware but also aware of others, to better myself and those around me.

With this in mind, I’ve went to staff members and asked what they would like me to work on and tried to anticipate what needed improvement. I’ve redesigned programming and presentation descriptions to increase attendance of CROW’s programs; I’ve started a video project recording the interconnectedness of students, volunteers, staff and animals at our organization; I’ve developed messaging for wildlife rescue 101 and conservation medicine; I’ve strived for educating new and younger audiences by starting a CROW activity book.

From where we are now, I’m surprised and proud of how much I’ve already accomplished and how much I still can do. CROW and the foundation’s goals have aligned and created the right mix of strategic storytelling with hands-on development.

By definition, phenomena are supposed to be difficult to understand. But, the phenomenon I’ve experienced this summer isn’t. The Pygmalion effect happens when higher expectations lead to an increase in performance. It is clear to me that the foundation’s acceptance and appreciation for new ideas and open communication is the key component. Ambition isn’t always well received, but in hands of those who want to foster and harness the power of innovation, ambition transforms ideas into reality.

It’s easy to get distracted when surrounded by noise, but I’ve found purpose in this community’s effort to create change. This summer has shaped me into a true change-maker.

In an added effort to assist nonprofits funded by the SWFL Community Foundation this year, the Foundation is hosting four students studying public interest communications at the University of Florida as part of the Foundation’s Florida Fellowship program. Funded by the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation, the students are working in three of our nonprofit grantee organizations this summer for an 8-week paid fellowship. For more information on the SWFL Community Foundation, its grants processes or to be part of the change that the grantees are working toward in the region, contact us at info@floridacommunity.com, or call us, we’d love to have a conversation, 239-274-5900.

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