04 Nov 2019 CAUSE & EFFECT: Locally Sourced Giving Sustains Our Community
Raise your hand with me if you love Fall in Southwest Florida! It’s such a wonderful time of year, not only because family and friends ramp up the number of outdoor get-togethers as temperatures ease, but because it’s also the time of year when new and long-time residents begin laying out the welcome mats for seasonal neighbors, many of whom have become treasured friends.
November is also the time of year our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, a time to gather and reflect on our many blessings. One of those is a bounty of locally produced foods we serve on our holiday tables, a rich abundance that’s a cherished part of our seasonal celebrations.
With farmer’s markets sprinkled throughout the region, this plentifulness is made possible because our growers have developed the ability to produce not only nourishing foods that help sustain our community, but they’ve also cultivated an essential understanding of unique local conditions, from soil qualities to pinpoint crop-scheduling to seasonal weather patterns. From this localized knowledge sprouts the expertise required to nurture the most from their harvests.
As I reflect on my own gratitude for a community whose vital generosity underpins our efforts at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, I realize it’s that crucial homegrown support, full-time and seasonal residents working side-by-side, that has similarly sowed in us a localized and deep-rooted understanding of the five-county region we serve: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades.
It is our donors’ inspiring philanthropic support and the passionate commitment of our community partners and residents over the past 43 years that have empowered us to serve as the essential backbone of a collective effort to elevate lives and foster economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Working together, we have generated exciting ideas, met difficult challenges and devised innovative local solutions that transform our communities by coordinating the efforts of those who aspire to help elevate lives. Scholarships for deserving students who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to further their education. Community grants to help nonprofit partners meet the needs of those they serve. Donor-advised funds that significantly impact the causes our benefactors care deeply about.
All of this and more is made possible by locally sourced giving. Possible to think big. Possible to transform ideas into action. Possible to draw people together in a spirit of can-do collaboration. We are humbled by the community’s embrace and its desire to have a lasting impact through its extraordinary support over the past four decades.
Of course, the future holds the solutions to the challenges we strive to address today. If you are a new full-time or seasonal resident, we appreciate that it often can be difficult to understand the needs of a new or adopted hometown. Through the years, Southwest Florida has grown stronger because of newcomers just like you who joined together to support the common good. And we would welcome the chance to connect you with your new community so that you too can have a lasting impact.
In fact, cultivating such connections is so crucial to our mission, we created Collaboratory, which is both a campus in the midtown section of downtown Fort Myers and a mindset that we extend throughout the region through programming, partnerships with local businesses, government, education and nonprofits and meaningful technology. And our recently launched On the Table® Southwest Florida initiative is designed to gather information from partners and residents on the front lines of their communities in order to help inform and guide our decision-making as we continue to move forward.
If you have yet to visit Collaboratory, please come discover why the community has rallied around this game-changing regional resource and how we can work with you to customize giving solutions that match your generosity with the causes you care about.
Because our history and ongoing efforts are wholly interwoven into the fabric of Southwest Florida, we have developed the specialized knowledge that can help you align your philanthropic interests with opportunities throughout the region with a strategy specially tailored to your charitable-giving goals.
We believe there is power in numbers and invite you to join with us, to engage with neighbors who are making a difference, to build relationships and make connections that strengthen our community, your community, through collective positive impact in this special place we all live, work, play, learn and visit.
Like our growers whose special connection to the region provides locally sourced foods that nourish us, your locally sourced generosity will help grow and sustain a thriving Southwest Florida.
Let’s connect! Please reach out anytime by email at [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. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 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. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.