Giving Opportunities

Click the button below to see a list of funds at the SWFL Community Foundation that you can donate to. DONATE TO A FUND





May 2019 issue

It’s officially summer, or is it?

It feels like summer because things are heating up outside and inside Collaboratory.

Last week alone we attended a cocktail party for the LGBT Community Fund of Southwest Florida, hosted a Scholarship Appreciation Reception, both at Collaboratory, and we were invited to a gathering in the home of a generous Cape Coral leader. We met passionate people working hard for the things they care about.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, our community cares. In this issue you will learn more about what’s happening and what is upcoming. We hope to see you around, and to hear from our seasonal friends who are leaving for a few months.

In Gratitude,


Sarah Owen, President & CEO, Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Veteran entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of supportive judges in April at FGCU 

WWII Veteran Frank Stern

Frank Stern Compassionate Shark Tank for Veterans at FGCU

12 Veteran entrepreneurs competed for start-up funding in April

The Frank Stern Compassionate Shark Tank caps off the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program each spring and fall. In partnership with FGCU and Veterans Florida, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Far-Mar Fund provides start-up funding for the winning vets’ ideas.

The fund was established by WWII Veteran Frank Stern who served our country and was an entrepreneur after the service working mostly in real estate.

“We love our veterans,” said Dr. Sandra Kauanui, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at FGCU. “This program helps our vets with ways to create businesses that will thrive in our community.”

Nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans want to open and operate their own business. Ideas presented this spring ranged from a dance club, car services for seasonal residents, a maintenance company, custom jeans for plus-sized women, a brewery, an ice cream truck business, home based businesses, and more. For more information on this program, click here.

Scholarships celebrated at appreciation reception & recipients announced

$739,676 Awarded

Several of our scholarship donors, reviewers and recipients gathered last week to celebrate $739,676 and 128 scholarships awarded to students from Southwest Florida.

“We’ve all heard that ‘it takes a village,’ and we think that fits perfectly when referring to the scholarship program here,” said Sarah Owen, president & CEO. “Hundreds of generous donors over the years have established scholarship funds for local students, and hundreds of volunteers review the applications each year.”

We are delighted to present the 2019 roster of scholarship funds and the student recipients.

Scholar athlete and scholarship recipient Nyre Handy (center) with his parents Bill and Amal Bernal  Kibler and NFL’s Tommy Bohanon and Katie Bohanon.

Story about scholarship student featured on NBC

The lede to the story read like this:

A teenager who was born in prison and spent the first 14 years of his life bouncing from care home to care home before finally being adopted has won a $40,000 scholarship to study at Florida Tech.

scholarship recipient

Nyre Handy’s story was featured on NBC-2. Click here to watch.

Check out this beautiful clip about a very determined Nyre Handy, the recipient of the Patricia Means Scholarship, one of the largest awarded by the Community Foundation which will provide $10,000 a year renewable up to 4 years, a total of $40,000 if the student provides satisfactory documentation annually of meeting the criteria.

Mrs. Means and her husband Dick moved to Cape Coral in 1982 where they enjoyed golfing and boating. After Dick’s passing in 1987, Pat became involved in the Southwest Florida Orchid Society and was a member of the Palmetto Pine Country Club of Cape Coral and a club in North Carolina. Her passion for golf continued when she moved to Shell Point in 2002. She passed away in 2014 and her legacy continues through her five children and her generous scholarships for Southwest Florida students.

If you’d like to be like Mrs. Means, consider a scholarship fund. It’s easy, all you need to do is determine your criteria and fund it either annually as a non-endowed fund or in perpetuity through endowment. The minimum scholarship grant is $1,000. Our team can work with you on how to make it happen. For more information, click here.

Look What’s Happening at

Cybersecurity Seminar will help protect you and your data

Complimentary Seminar for All

Are you properly educated & armed to protect yourself in cyberspace?
In an “always connected” society, the perils of those who choose to not educate and protect themselves are far too prevalent. Join Entech and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for this 60-minute session on how to turn-the-table on the criminals and avoid being their next victim.

Topics we’ll cover include current credit fraud trends:
3 ways to identify a scam
Credit freeze best-practices
Password management must-knows
Caller-ID spoofing tactics

Presented by
Carrie Kerskie,
President, Griffon Force, LLC

Sponsored by Entech

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Training- 9:30-10:30 am

Stop by a little early, and enjoy light refreshments and coffee with our
Cyber Security experts from 8:30 to 9:30 am.


2031 Jackson St., Fort Myers FL 33901

Competitive grants cycle opens

Nonprofit leaders take note!

The annual Community Impact Grant cycle will open June 3 through midnight July 31st. Be sure to check out the grants process and the grants calendar to learn more. Everything you need to know is right here.

For our current grantees, don’t forget the interim grant reports are due July 1.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation 2019-20 Community Impact Grant season opens with a call for idea, projects, and programs–both established and new—that are designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians. We hope to see a Letter of Idea from your nonprofit! Whether you are funded or not through this cycle, your application lets us get a more in depth awareness of what you are up to in your work when donors inquire about community needs. Please apply!

IRA Charitable Rollovers are one of the great ways to give to what you care about

The IRA Charitable Rollover was signed into permanent law by the President in 2015 allowing taxpayers age 70 ½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 annually from their IRA accounts directly to charity without first having to recognize the distribution as income.

We can help you support the things you care about with other alternative giving options like this such as Charitable Gift Annuities, gifts of property, and more. Let us know how we can help by clicking here or give us call at 239-274-5900.

A short introduction about the Foundation is featured at receptions for the guests.

In-home receptions introduce Foundation to friends

We recently enjoyed an evening with old friends and new at the home of Foundation friends Bob and JoAnn Elardo in Cape Coral as part of a series of in-home receptions “Cocktails, Causes & Conversations” hosted by donors and friends to encourage conversation and to share information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Collaboratory.

This winter, one of our fundholders and supporters skipped the in-home reception and instead invited their friends to join us all at Collaboratory for a tour and a cocktail reception.

The parties aren’t about us but focused on what we can do for people in our community who have resources and want to give and get involved. If you’d like to host a reception or attend one, let us know. We’d love to meet up with you

The Foundation In the News

Sarah, Kappy, Carolyn, John

Mrs. King Saw Everything
as seen in Florida Weekly

by Sarah Owen

Recently I had the honor and privilege to say a few words of love and remembrance at the Celebration of Life for Kappy King, a beloved wife, mother, friend, philanthropist…



CAUSE & EFFECT: One, Two, Three-Drop In!
as seen in The News-Press

by Sarah Owen

The thirty-something skateboarders served as a Venice Beach Boardwalk choir of sorts. Their cathedral was the small skate park just a few hundred feet away from the famous Venice Muscle…




Such a great group gathered at Collaboratory last week, thank you everyone for a fun interactive game show-style Q&A on the LGBT Community Fund grants!


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!