I enjoy the challenge of navigating a new city, particularly as a solo traveler. I feel empowered when I am able to get from point A to point B on my own in a place that is foreign to me.
I even give myself bonus points if I don’t speak the language and use public transit. But this type of adventure lends itself to mishaps. In Washington DC I once took a train that landed me in a residential part of Virginia and in Berlin I ended up on a subway that came to a stop, everyone exited and I found myself sitting alone in an unknown station. Finally, a kindhearted person came and tapped me on the shoulder and signaled that this was the end of the line on that route and guided me toward a new train.
Just last week I was in Philadelphia and found myself making about 10 laps in a roundabout until I figured out which way I was headed. All in the name of exploration.
Several times on this most recent trip I threw in the self-navigation towel and called a cab or summoned an Uber. Normally the drivers know their city like a human GPS but not this trip. I found myself backseat driving on more than one occasion and late to a few meetings.
I was struck by how much I trusted them to get me to my destination. I assumed if I said I was going to the Liberty Bell they would know exactly how to get there. I eventually found a driver who knew every inch of the city and I stuck with him for the rest of the trip.
Sometimes in life we are ready for exploration and sometimes we need a trusted advisor.
I see this with our donors at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation when they are making decisions about funding organizations or causes. Many times they know exactly where they would like to see their dollars directed. They have a long, positive relationship with a
non-profit and have committed to sustaining operational and program support. Other times they are exploring possibilities on their own, researching websites, attending events and volunteering to get a sense of where they are going with their support. And then there are times they are looking for direction and ask our team to help connect them with a cause or nonprofit that offers opportunities and solutions for their particular passion.
Since many of our neighbors are seasonal residents or have moved to our community from somewhere else, navigating giving can feel just like finding your way through unfamiliar streets and we are happy to share information, guides to giving (http://floridacommunity.com/guide-to-giving/) and make introductions to local non-profits. Often we share the letters of ideas for projects that have been submitted by local non-profits through our own grant making process and we learn about new initiatives and organizations throughout the year. With nearly 2,000 non-profits in our region there are fantastic opportunities to get involved, adventures awaiting and guidance when you need it most.
If you are on a giving journey, reach out to us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help every step of the way, I promise we won’t get you lost!
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.