News Releases

Southwest Florida Community Foundation grantees’ reports 2016 results

The 18 local nonprofits granted $551,500 in 2016 from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s available Field of Interest funds as well as individual and corporate donations, have reported their annual outcomes.

The established and new programs funded by last year’s grants were designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians.

The nonprofits included Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association – Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Champions for Learning, Charlotte County Homeless Coalition Inc., the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW), Family Initiative Incorporated, Glades County Board of County Commissioners, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc., Gulf Coast Symphony, Gulfshore Opera, Hendry County Library System, I Will Mentorship Foundation, Lee County Alliance for the Arts, Naples Botanical Garden, New Mission Systems International, RCMA, The Heights Center, The Immokalee Foundation and Gulf Coast Humane Society.

Of the funded reporting nonprofits, nearly 90 percent of the tribe programs demonstrated progress toward the changes nonprofits desired in the region because of their program.

The increase in the amount of collaboration between Foundation-funded nonprofits is 650 percent resulting in 13 collaborative projects between the nonprofit grantees. Examples of these collaborations include Gulf Coast Symphony and the Heights Center’s MusicWorks! program for the after-school children along with Family Initiative and the Alliance for the Arts’ Art for Autism program.

In Lee County, Gulf Coast Symphony’s free Music Works! program at the Heights Center provides an innovative education and social initiative that creates opportunities for personal development in children (grades K-2) through the study of music.

Foundation-funded nonprofits saw an increase from 22.5 to 28.9 percent in knowledge and ability in evaluation skills such as data collection, analysis and reporting.

“Awarding the funding was just the beginning of our partnership with the regional mix of nonprofits,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Staying connected with them all year through their ‘tribes’ provided a learning community where they shared information and built their capacity to strengthen them and their leadership.”

Learn more about the results of the work of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Tribes through the video featuring the Tribes at work at http://floridacommunity.com/tribes/

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, it partnered with individuals, families and corporations that have created more than 400 philanthropic funds over the last 40 years. Thanks to them, the Foundation’s invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $93 million, it has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Community Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers.

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

I’m Back

I’m Back

I’m back. Not that I have been gone on an extended holiday but over the summer months the team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation turned over this column to local nonprofits so we could all learn more about their work in our region.

If you are a regular reader of this column then you know it is a place where stories are told and conversations are started about issues in Southwest Florida.

At the Foundation we walk alongside nonprofit grantees all year long and have the opportunity to hear many amazing stories about their work and the change they are creating in our communities. But sometimes I worry that not enough people are hearing what we’re hearing.

Good stories about good work need a platform. A few months ago I heard that “doing good is the new cool,” and if that is the case we have some of the coolest people ever in Southwest Florida.

This summer we wanted to be sure some of these cool customers had the opportunity to share their stories with you. If you missed some of the summer narratives penned by local nonprofit leaders in this space you can find them all on our website at www.floridacommunity.com/news. They are a great read anytime of the year.

But because my name and little square photo have not been in the byline for the past several months, a few people have asked where I’ve been. They weren’t asking about my personal whereabouts but rather about the Foundation’s column. I realized that both longtime Foundation stakeholders as well as people hearing about us for the first time connect with the community through this column. Not to mention I tell some pretty embarrassing stories about myself in this space. My family is continually mortified at the lengths I will go to in order to tell the story.

Storytelling is a big part of the way organizations can share the impact of their work and inspire others to get involved. It is a vehicle to engage and inspire people to create change. The private sector has used this form of communication around branding and marketing very effectively and in the social sector we are beginning to see a greater focus on effectively telling a story to create more effective change.

At the Foundation we want to support and equip our local non-profits to be great storytellers about their work and help them discover the best platforms for those stories. Last year we worked with the organizations we funded to provide training at the University of Florida in public interest communication (that’s the buzzword for what I am talking about here) and several SWFL nonprofits hosted interns from UF over the summer to develop a more vibrant communications strategy that included storytelling.

So yes, I’m back to tell stories, which is the easiest job in the world when you have so many incredible subjects. What I write about here are the community stories that each of you create through community philanthropy and a giving spirit.

You keep doing amazing things, cool people, and we will keep using this space to tell your stories and sometime in the coming year we will let you tell them yourselves.

In the meantime, if you want to share a special story with me, please contact me at [email protected]

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.