April is upon us and that means a couple of things are top of mind in my household. First, it’s that time of year when the weather starts to shift to a more summer-like pattern and our part-time seasonal Southwest Floridians begin to make their trek somewhere north of here. It’s an interesting thing to have watched over the years, as our part of the world and economy shifts to become more local.
The other thing that occupies our minds in April is Earth Day. We love our northern, part-time residents and visitors, but April brings the months with fewer people. It creates an opportunity to experience Southwest Florida’s sharp but fragile, wet, bird- and reptile-filled ecosystem that so many call paradise and we call home. While unlike anywhere else, the region’s ecosystem is well-connected to others and those to the rest of the planet’s ecosystems; that’s what Earth Day, April 22nd, is all about.
While our part of this beautiful planet is not for the faint of heart, we wouldn’t stay here if we didn’t love it. Since we love it and depend on it in so many ways, April is the perfect time to think about how each of us can help ensure Southwest Florida maintains this magnet that makes it the perfect place to live, learn, work, and play.
A year ago, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation created the Fund for the Environment of Southwest Florida, which is as unique as the ecosystem it is intended to protect because it is crowdfunded. The environment is something we all have in common. It is always near the top of the list of reasons people choose to visit and often decide to move their families and businesses here.
This shared love for a cause created the perfect opportunity to crowdfund our first Fund for the Environment. Crowdfunding lets us all be philanthropists and what better cause to rally around than one we all need. The environment belongs to us and the responsibility to protect it is each of ours. Regardless of what is happening with politics or policies near and far, you can make a difference. You make your community.
This April, we’re doing it again.
The Foundation is taking up this shared cause and creating a new opportunity to let everyone help protect this incredible resource that promotes beauty, peace, the economy, life, and memories to last a lifetime.
As summer approaches, my kids and I will be making memories and plans to take advantage of these things that make our hometown unique. We’ll hit Fort Myers Beach, enjoy an airboat tour of Lake Okeechobee, ride bikes through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, paddle the Charlotte Harbor, and maybe even brave a Swamp Walk at the Big Cypress National Preserve. How about you?
As you venture out into Southwest Florida’s environment this April and start to make your summer plans, please take a moment to consider joining the crowd that will fund, through contributions big and small, projects that support something we all love, Southwest Florida’s environment.
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.