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CAUSE & EFFECT: March 2017 issue

CAUSE & EFFECT: March 2017 issue

March 2017 issue
Milestones like these make us smile
Sarah Owen, Pres & CEO
Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Women’s Legacy Fund is celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary this year.  That’s 10 years of grants to nonprofits providing education, inspiration and empowerment to women and girls.

By working together, WLF contributors have funded programs designed to improve literacy, employment skills, neighborhood services, career planning, mentoring and suicide prevention.

The 10 year anniversary will mark over $150,000 in grants a $642,000.00 endowment fund, 46 Prima Donors, hundreds of contributors and dozens of Angels. (see our website to learn more about these special women)

We also celebrate the recent addition of Impact Dunbar, a fund focused on the women and girls in the Dunbar community.

We invite you to celebrate with us. If you’re not yet a contributor, it’s not too late – give today (information is featured below) then join us at our WLF Contributors Luncheon on Friday, April 7th.

We will review the latest research and face-to-face conversations with women and girls
 in the region. All contributors will then have a “voice in the choice” on the cause area we as a group of collective philanthropists will address this year. And of course, we will celebrate 10 great years together.  I hope to see you there!

In Gratitude,
Women’s Legacy Fund Contributors Luncheon – April 7
It’s not too late to RSVP

Don’t miss the spring WLF Contributors 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 complimentary luncheon is 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
  • Business/market support for women.
Contributors to WLF contribute 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.
RSVP and/or Contribute Here
If you are a contributor, luncheon reservations are required by March 28 by calling Sydney Roberts at 239-274-5900 or click here to RSVP.

If you’d like to become a Contributor, click here. Please call us with any questions about becoming part of the Women’s Legacy Fund at 239-274-5900.

Spring art exhibit “Fresh Aire” to electrify the Community Hub
Join us for the opening reception – April 5

Aglow by Artist Judi Ekholm

Beginning April 6, “Fresh Aire” will feature an adventure in color through the paintings inspired by artist Judi Ekholm’s road journey through 11 national parks and 21 states.
Ekholm focuses on different vantage points, and her technique is similar the Old Masters with many layers of fine paint and glazing. Her images of landscapes and gardens are both romantic and bold. She creates all sizes and scales of paintings, and each one makes its own original and unique statement. Her impressionistic paintings can be found in more than 700 international collections.
The exhibit is open to the public and will run through May during regular Community Foundation business hours: Monday through Friday. Some paintings are located in meeting rooms, so those interested in seeing the exhibit are asked to call before arriving to make sure all areas are accessible. The Community Hub at the Foundation is located at 8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201 in Fort Myers. 

Meet the Artist and Preview the Exhibit – RSVP here

Please join us for the Fresh Aire Art Reception on Wednesday, April 5, 5 to 7 p.m. at The Community Hub.  Click here to RSVP

2016 Grantees Outcome Report
Video outlines work of 2016 “Tribes” 

Tribes Report on video
“Because if you can measure it,
you can move it”

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.
  • 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. 
Learn more about the results of the work of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Tribes through the video featuring the Tribes at work at
Kresge Foundation grants FutureMakers $50,000 challenge — PASS IT ALONG!

The FutureMakers Coalition was recently awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation as part of its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI). A $10,000 grant was also awarded for administration costs and backbone support.
The grant will be awarded after the Coalition raises $50,000 in additional private donations by 
Jan. 31, 2018. Anyone interested in learning more about the grant or investing in the FutureMakers Coalition may visit
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials by the year 2025. The Coalition plans to use the challenge grant funding to continue to advance regional outcomes and efforts that support the Florida Higher Education Coordination Council’s statewide goal of 55 percent higher education attainment.

Florida Repertory Theatre establishes endowment fund 

The Florida Repertory Theatre’s board of directors recently established a nonprofit agency endowment fund with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. 

Established by nonprofit organizations, Nonprofit Agency Endowment Funds are long-term funds that allow an agency to plan for the future needs of the organization.

Because the funds are endowed, agencies like Florida Rep can take advantage of the Community Foundation’s financial management, administrative resources and expertise on planned giving. The fund provides a simple and effective way for charities to build endowment and therefore sustainability. Agencies can opt to receive annual payout based on the balance of the fund as a source of income for operations and programs or roll over the amount to increase future endowment.

Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Our ambition is a more vibrant community that will continually address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida. We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!