NEWS

Community Foundation scholarship application process begins Dec. 19 – More than $450,000 available

More than $450,000 available through 40 scholarships for high-school seniors and 23 for undergraduate and graduate students

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s scholarship application process for the 2015-2016 school year will begin on Friday, Dec. 19. Approximately $450,000 in scholarship money is available through 40 scholarships for local high-school students and through 23 scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students from Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry and Collier counties.

The E-Apply online scholarship application tool can be accessed through the Community Foundation’s website at www.floridacommunity.com/scholarships. Students may review the scholarships available online as well as a tutorial about how to create and submit the online application.

Students may apply for multiple scholarships and have the ability to upload transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation and financial documentation (if required). For need-based scholarships, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The deadline for applications is March 2, 2015.

“We have scholarships for vocational students, not just for attendance at colleges and universities,” said Melanie Holaway, scholarship coordinator for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “We are working hard to educate local students on the various types of funding available.”

According to Holaway, examples of some of the more unique scholarships not as highly sought after include scholarships for students with disabilities, student athletes, students pursuing a specific field of study such as teaching deaf or blind individuals, specific church membership or community service hours in a particular facility such as a Veterans Hospital, adult students going back to school, students from particular schools or communities, and students pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

New scholarships this year include the Dorothy Curtis Brown Scholarship for a student interested in studying early-childhood education in an accredited college or university in Southwest Florida to obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

The Norman Marcus Scholarship is modeled for a student who graduated from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry or Lee County and who can demonstrate financial need. This scholarship is for four years or for such a time as will allow the student to complete a college or graduate degree.

The Former Graduate of Everglades City Scholarship provides high-school seniors who are full-time residents of Everglades City a scholarship renewable up to four years.

The Lee County Library Sciences Scholarship Fund for  $1,250 will provide scholarships for Lee County residents pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in library science. Eligibility requirements call for the student to have completed at least 60 semester hours, have at least a “B” average and to provide 120 hours of service, paid or unpaid, to Lee County Library System while pursuing the degree or immediately following degree completion.

The Community Foundation chose the month of December as the launch date after receiving numerous calls from students who wanted to be able to work on scholarship application submissions during winter break. In 2014, the Community Foundation awarded $450,000 in scholarships.

With a streamlined online application process, students are not required to submit paper applications.

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.

Sarah Owen Nominated for News-Press Person of the Year

Sarah Owen Nominated for News-Press Person of the Year

Thank you to the News-Press for nominating our CEO Sarah Owen as Person of the Year along with one of our trustees Robbie Roepstorff.   We salute all nominees and we are rest assured that our community is in some very good hands.  See the News-Press story from last Sunday here, or click here to read more on the News-Press website.

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Atilus and Southwest Florida Community Foundation announce Community Web Award Grant finalist

Atilus and Southwest Florida Community Foundation announce Community Web Award Grant finalist

Atilus, one of Florida’s leading Internet advertising agencies, in conjunction with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation announced the Community Web Award Grant finalist – the Florida Repertory Theatre.

The Community Web Award Grant, which provided one finalist with a complete web design and Internet marketing overhaul as well as 50 first applicants a year-long license to board of director management software BoardMa, is being awarded to the Florida Repertory Theatre. The new website and Internet marketing overhaul is valued at $20,000. The grant will help the Florida Repertory Theatre strengthen its online reach and increase community awareness of its programs and online donations.

With the support of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Atilus created award criteria, reached out to area nonprofit organizations and held a webinar to further coach the applicants on the criteria the company was seeking in order to find the most suitable recipient.

Atilus’ panel of judges selected the Florida Repertory Theatre because it possessed the raw materials needed from a technical standpoint that make web design and Internet marketing effective, and the theatre is a vibrant organization creating a lot of content for optimization.

“It was challenging to narrow the field to one finalist,” said Zach Katkin, CEO of Atilus, “but we felt the Florida Rep. really demonstrated the ability to make the biggest difference in a short period of time in the Southwest Florida arts and culture community.”

The Florida Repertory Theatre is one of Lee County and Southwest Florida’s most important cultural and educational institutions. With a wide variety of comedies, dramas and musicals, it brings more than 80,000 people to the Fort Myers River District annually.

“We know that helping the Florida Rep. grow its online presence will have a huge impact on the local community. The theatre’s mission, vision and promotion of the arts and culture is perfectly in line with our own core values at Atilus, and we’re so excited to help,” added Katkin.

“We salute Atilus for its thoughtful giving to the nonprofit sector and hope that other businesses will consider following its lead,” said Dr. Dave Fleming, chief strategic officer at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “Atilus thoughtful about the process of choosing a winner that could create the most impact from its web design and Internet marketing programs.”

In addition to the grant, the first 50 applicant organizations will receive a year-long license for BoardMa (valued at $360 per license). BoardMa is a web-based software that provides a central location for boards of directors to most effectively direct and manage their underlying organization.

“We hope all applicants who receive these year-long licenses will see an increase in productivity and help facilitate significant growth” says Atilus co-founder and Director of Operations Harry Casimir.

For more information about the Community Web Award Grant finalist, contact Zach Katkin, at 239-362-1271 or zach@atilus.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 $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.

Angels Aren’t Just Cookie Cutters and Tree Ornaments

Angels Aren’t Just Cookie Cutters and Tree Ornaments

Do you know an angel?

Chances are most people don’t see her halo or her wings like you do.  I have grown to believe that these ethereal creatures have the ability to cloak their kindness, often wearing beige and working behind the scenes.  But some are just so special that the people around them spot their sparkle and do-good ways and can’t help themselves except to stand in awe and point.  We call those people Angel Makers and we know a few of them at the SWFL Community Foundation.  In fact, we know nearly 100 of them.

Angel Makers have found a way to honor a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, or mentor who has everything except a tangible surprise expression of the Maker’s admiration.  Angel Makers give in honor to recognize her essence which will live on long after she is gone from earth and takes her rightful place where all angels fly.

Angels are publicly honored at The Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund luncheons and inducted into the Gallery of Angels at the Foundation and on the website.  The Angel contributions are placed in an endowed fund so that the WLF can provide future grants in our community in perpetuity.  The proceeds from the WLF Fund and Angels endowment this year resulted in a $30,000 grant to support literacy in our region.

Here is one very special angel revealed at our recent WLF luncheon:

Connie McCormick, Angel
Betteann Sherman and Winnie Ballinger, Angel Makers

Winnie Ballinger, Bettann Sherman, David McCormick, and WLF 'Angel' Connie McCormick with family

Winnie Ballinger, Betteann Sherman, David McCormick,
Connie McCormick and family

Connie McCormick was born in Greenville, Ohio and came to Fort Myers with her family in 1974. She was an office, hospital, and home health nurse, patient care coordinator, children’s’ book co- author, charter/ board of directors member of the Uncommon Friends Foundation, Lifetime Achievement Laureate, organizer/ administrator of UFF scholarship program, lifetime member of FGCU Town and Gown, and board of directors member of Moral Re-Armament/Initiatives of Change in Washington, DC.

Connie has been a loyal, steadfast, nurturing friend, a model parent, and loving partner while facing her share of life’s trials and tribulations with faith, grace, a smile, and a sense of determination to always be there for her precious family. Her seven extraordinary children are Cathy Knapp, Englewood, FL, RN, John McHugh Dennis, computer manager, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Douglas Dennis, Attorney, Cincinnati, Ohio, Ann McHugh Brinson, teacher, Fort Myers, FL, Dr. Julie McHugh Persellin, assistant professor of accounting, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, Judge Michael McHugh, 21st District Court, Fort Myers, FL, and Dr. Danielle Dennis, associate professor, USF, Tampa, FL. Connie taught her children to be there for one another, but she showed them, by example, how to serve their community and humanity.

Connie’s husband and friend, Dr. David McCormick, summarized it best when he said, “Connie is a true angel, a thoroughly good person who has devoted her life to helping others.”

Check out the angels among us on our website and information on how you can honor someone who is special to you.  Your community will also benefit.  I’d love to hear about your special angel, please contact me at crogers@floridacommunity.com or call me at 239-274-5900.

 

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Making a List and Checking it Twice

In the course of raising three kids I have seen my share of holiday wish lists. Crayon scrawled letters to Santa Claus have now been replaced with text messages and links to the coveted items on websites but the lists have all left a narrative of what captured my family’s attention over the decades.

Lists have a way of capturing our thoughts and intentions, and in the case of holiday gift lists our wishes and desires.

Most kids update their lists annually. What they couldn’t live without the prior year is a distant memory as they craft the fantastical world of new possibilities.

In a desire to cultivate the spirit of generosity in my kids as they were growing up I would ask them to make one wish list for themselves and another list for what they wanted to give to others. At this point in the column I wish I had a heartwarming story of how my young charges spent hours crafting their giving list and selflessly put their own wishes to the side. But this list activity never seemed to get the results I had hoped.

In retrospect I think I may have found the answer. (Why we figure these things out after our children have left the house is a mystery to me!) I didn’t spend enough time including them in my own giving list. Sending off end of the year donations was just one more thing on my to-do list. My intentions were good but my execution was rushed.

40% of all charitable giving in the United States happens in December- when most Americans are busy checking off lots of lists. With over a million charities in the US and over 3,000 right here in Southwest Florida there are a lot of opportunities to give.

I always told my kids that they wouldn’t get everything on their lists-and the same thing rings true for my end of the year giving. There are so many great causes and organizations and I can never give to them all.

Intellectually I realize that when I decide to give to one organization I am in the same moment deciding not to give to another, but in the end of the year rush, I have to be careful not to make these decisions in haste.

I wish my children had seen me take as much time with the giving lists as I did with all the other holiday preparations.

One strategy I have learned since I joined the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is establishing a Donor Advised Fund. Last year I contributed a portion of my charitable dollars into a Fund at the end of the year and that gave me plenty of time to devote to my giving decisions.

I have also learned that I am not alone in trying to develop a list or find the information I need to make decisions I feel good about long after the holidays are over. Team members at the Foundation, armed with data on community need, information on nonprofits and opportunities to get involved in our region, are getting calls from caring donors seeking the most effective ways to fulfill their personal philanthropic wishes.

The team also arranges tours at local organizations, and roundtables on issues to help shape a charitable list.

All of my kids will be home for the holidays this year and I plan to revisit their youth by asking them to craft two lists. But this time I will be checking the giving lists twice.

If you would like any help crafting your end of the year giving lists please email me at iamlistening@floridacommunity.com

 

image courtesy of cachevolunteercenter.org

 

 

 

Cause Fest Photos

Cause Fest Photos

As part of its annual celebration, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation expressed thanks to its supporters and friends during a series of three-night Cause Fest events held Nov. 10 to 13. To emphasize the Foundation’s regional reach, the events were held at different locations during subsequent nights including the Big Arts Herb Strauss Theater on Sanibel Island, the new Harley Davidson Six Bends in Fort Myers and Shangri-La Hotel in Bonita Springs.

CAUSE FEST BONITA

CAUSE FEST SANIBEL

CUASE FEST FORT MYERS

Cause Fest Bonita

Cause Fest Bonita

As part of its annual celebration, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation expressed thanks to its supporters and friends during a series of three-night Cause Fest events held Nov. 10 to 13. To emphasize the Foundation’s regional reach, the events were held at different locations during subsequent nights including the Big Arts Herb Strauss Theater on Sanibel Island, the new Harley Davidson Six Bends in Fort Myers and Shangri-La Hotel in Bonita Springs.

Cause Fest Sanibel

Cause Fest Sanibel

As part of its annual celebration, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation expressed thanks to its supporters and friends during a series of three-night Cause Fest events held Nov. 10 to 13. To emphasize the Foundation’s regional reach, the events were held at different locations during subsequent nights including the Big Arts Herb Strauss Theater on Sanibel Island, the new Harley Davidson Six Bends in Fort Myers and Shangri-La Hotel in Bonita Springs.