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Beware the Allure of the Golden Egg

Beware the Allure of the Golden Egg

No doubt many of you are recovering from the recent Easter egg hunting season.  Spring is in the air and for weeks leading up to the Easter Bunny’s annual pilgrimage there were a plethora of opportunities to hide and hunt the colorful plastic orbs.

There are a wide variety of egg hunting strategies.  In some cases, organizers strew thousands of eggs across an open field in plain sight and kids dash to gather as many as possible. In others, serious consideration is given to age and hunting ability with treasures artfully placed in a range of locations.

My daughter was first exposed to the Easter egg hunt in a private home setting.  The family had a long tradition of massive hunts and the annual party featured a highly sought after golden egg.  It was considered the bounty of the day and was coveted by young and old alike.

In an effort to get her pumped up for the festivities, I oversold the importance of the prize egg.  I was trying to create fun, but my daughter took it on as a major challenge.

She showed up for the day in a fancy Easter dress with one thing on her mind.  Finding that Golden Egg.  When the hunt started she passed by every single other brightly colored egg she encountered.

I was worried and tried to coax her into enjoying the process and all the opportunities to collect a variety of eggs.  I felt she was heading toward an empty basket and disappointment.  I knew there would be crying and a learning opportunity in all of this and I began crafting all that I would say about this experience. But then-

She found it.  The golden egg was hers.   In her mind, mission accomplished.

That was the last time she ever captured the elusive prize and it tainted her egg hunting for years to come.  For several years after, no matter the hunting ground, she always went only seeking the golden egg and she never got lucky again.

The allure of a golden egg can impact nonprofit organizations as well.  Sometimes we are so busy looking for the next big donor, idea or board member that we lose sight of all smaller equally valuable treasures along the way.

Just like a well -hidden egg, there are many in our community who might be hiding in plain sight and are very willing to help in creating the vision of our organizations.    The key to successful engagement is finding ways to include a diverse group of people in our causes and missions.  We can’t do that with a tunnel vision approach. We need to seek out others who may not be right in front of us.

There is no doubt that Southwest Florida is blessed with volunteers, business leaders and philanthropists who have taken front facing leadership roles and are sought out for advice, board seats and funding.

But we have to caution ourselves from being blinded by the golden egg mentality, and find ways to fill our proverbial resource baskets with people who are inspired by our work and have a willingness to share something of themselves with us.  People of diverse backgrounds, ages and viewpoints. Non-profits need many resources to be healthy, not just financial.

There is nothing wrong with the golden egg moments and when they happen should be celebrated.  Just don’t miss out on the full experience of the hunt.


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 more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 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. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit

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

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More