News Releases

Community Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund to hold spring luncheon for contributors

Community Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund to hold spring luncheon for contributors

The Women’s Legacy Fund will host its spring luncheon on Friday, April 7 at 11 a.m. at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club located at 14500 Vista River Drive in Fort Myers. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the luncheon is complimentary and exclusively for WLF contributors and Prima Donors.

A fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Women’s Legacy Fund is a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop the region’s next philanthropic leaders.

The luncheon will include facilitated discussions around the three grant focus areas selected by the WLF grants committee including STEM programs/vocational training for women and girls, micro-lending programs for women and business/market support for women.

In its first 10 years, the WLF has been able to provide $142,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has $638,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and in the future.

In 2016, the WLF presented a grant check of $20,000 to Florida Gulf Coast University’s Whitaker Center for STEM education. The Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) program used the funding to mentor and inspire female FGCU students and middle school girls in Southwest Florida to pursue STEM careers by providing hands-on, inquiry-driven STEM activities via expertise at Whitaker Center for STEM education at FGCU.

In 2015, the WLF granted $22,675.92 to the Happehatchee Center. The grant was used for Happehatchee Center’s Working to Improve with Self Employment (WISE) Women program which focuses on the San Carlos Park neighborhood of South Fort Myers and the Covered Wagon Trailer Park in Estero.

Contributors to the WLF give a minimum of $250 each year ($100 for women younger than 25). The first half of contributions is pooled for the purpose of immediate annual grants, while the second half is pooled into the WLF’s endowment fund which provides additional grants to be made both now and in years to come. Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF endowment and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving.

Luncheon reservations are required by March 28 by calling Sydney Roberts at 239-274-5900 or emailing [email protected]

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.

CAUSE & EFFECT:  Purpose Driven Politics

CAUSE & EFFECT:  Purpose Driven Politics

“Britt Is It” for President is my all-time favorite political slogan.  You won’t be seeing Britt on next week’s ballot but this candidate did make a successful presidential run back in 1996.

After a hard fought 2- week campaign complete with posters, buttons, speeches, and custom cupcakes Britt took the helm as President of Port Orange Elementary School’s study body.  She had been encouraged to run by female mentors in her life and teachers at the school.

I had not thought of my eldest child’s foray into the political scene in years. It was her first and only campaign.   Not even the politics of the day had brought it to mind, until I connected with a friend last week who had made an ultimately unsuccessful run for the US Senate in a highly contested race in another state in 1992.

My friend and I were not talking about national politics, a topic I avoid in my role at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and this year, just avoid in general.  Instead we were talking about the impact of early experiences and the role of mentors in the lives of women and girls.

She had just been asked to present on a national stage, as she often is to discuss her work in politics and women’s equity issues, but this time she would not be alone.   She would be accompanied by her granddaughter. Like my Britt, her granddaughter had campaigned for the presidency of her middle school student council a number of years ago and together they are going to be sharing insights from the US Senate run and the student council campaign.

Of course the opportunity to work alongside her granddaughter to prepare their presentation was a treasured endeavor.  Anytime we can cross generational lines and share common experiences we are more closely knit to each other.  I am certain that this young woman has always been surrounded by encouraging mentors including her grandmother.

My friend shared that as they worked on their speech she was particularly struck by the influence the middle school election had on her granddaughter in terms of her confidence and her place in the world.

Her biggest take away from this early experience was the importance the trust of her peers meant to her when she realized she had won.  In my own daughter’s case, her victory came shortly after we had moved to a new city and the race helped connect her to a new school, new friends and new community.

Exposure to these opportunities stuck with them.  There are many things my adult daughter has forgotten about middle and high school but the campaign is not one of them.  It exposed her the possibilities that were available and in front of her.

Last month, the Women’s Legacy Fund (WLF), a fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, held its annual fall luncheon in which the contributors award their annual grant funding to a local nonprofit that advances issues related to women and girls.

This year’s WLF focus area for the grant selection was early exposure to career exploration for young women and girls.  A key word there is early, meaning the contributors to the fund wanted to make sure that the funded program interacted with girls in middle school in an effort to connect with them during years that shape their future decision making.

The luncheon featured speakers Airline Captain Diane Meyers and IT Program Manager Denise Spence, women who have forged careers in nontraditional roles and special guests included young women from Dunbar High School’s tech and engineering programs.

This year’s grant was awarded to the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) program at Florida Gulf Coast’s Whitaker Center for STEM education.    GEMS matches women in the STEM fields with FGCU students who then mentor girls in local middle schools.

The WLF contributors hope that early exposure to leadership and career opportunities is distributed in an equitable and intentional way, not just for the sake of shaping future career opportunities but also providing the confidence that sticks with them throughout their lives.

And to expand the reach of mentoring in the Southwest Florida, the Women’s Legacy Fund also welcomed a new fund, Impact Dunbar.  Founded by Karen Watson and Tasheekia Perry the fund will provide philanthropic support to programs designed to empower young women and girls in the Dunbar community.

My friend’s granddaughter is about to graduate high school and head out into the world, and the young women we mentor through the WLF funding also have an open canvas in front of them.  My hope is that they feel supported and that we are offering experiences that shape them and inspire them.

My daughter has not pursued a career in politics, but the middle school experience and other mentoring moments did impact her in many other positive ways in her nearly 30 years.

And for the record, I still think Britt is IT! Along with all the other young women who will affect our future.

 

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

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, the Foundation partnered with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, we’ve 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.

 

Community Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund Fall luncheon and Photo Gallery

Community Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund Fall luncheon and Photo Gallery

The Women’s Legacy Fund hosted its Fall luncheon on Thursday, October 22 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.

Yajaida Vasquez, ARNP, served as the keynote speaker and shared her journey from experiencing homelessness to opening a healthcare clinic that serves women and families in Southwest Florida. A Community Foundation scholarship recipient, Vasquez is a first generation college graduate and community change-maker.

The luncheon also featured the 2015 WLF grant check presentation and an Angels Tribute.

$22,675.92 was presented to Dr. Genelle Grant of the Happehatchee Center. The grant will be used for Happehatchee Center’s Working to Improve with Self Employment (WISE) Women program which focuses on the San Carlos Park neighborhood of South Fort Myers and the Covered Wagon Trailer Park in Estero.  Instructors from Happehatchee and the GRACE Project, as well as invited teachers and planned field trips, will provide programs such as personal health, self-exams for cancer detection, infectious diseases information, agencies who provide screening; cake making and decorating, field trips to bakeries and supply stores, sewing and clothing alteration skills, visit to tailors, sewing machine donations; reproductive Health, Family planning; yoga, meditation, visualization, and acupressure for self-healing; financial literacy, budgets, income/expense planning for self-employment; use of public transportation; nutrition and food choices shopping and much more.

Three angel tributes were also announced. Gloria Whitesman, Honey Costa and posthumously Jean and John Hawker are the Legacy Fund’s newest angels. The Angel honorary designation is for mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandchildren, friends, loved ones and community leaders, either living or deceased, who have had a special impact on the lives of those around them. WLF members can make the special women in their lives a WLF Angel with a minimum contribution of $1,000 in their name.

A fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Women’s Legacy Fund is a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop the region’s next philanthropic leaders. In eight years of existence, the WLF has been able to provide $100,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has nearly $400,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and in the future.

Contributors to the WLF give a minimum of $250 each year ($100 for women younger than 25). The first half of contributions is pooled for the purpose of immediate annual grants, while the second half is pooled into the WLF’s endowment fund, which provides additional grants to be made both now and in years to come. Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF endowment and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving.

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 more than $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 also 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.