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





Spring 2016 issue

Have you hugged the earth lately?

In the month of April the world celebrates the planet.
Here in Southwest Florida, our natural environment gives us so much unique beauty.  It is the region’s value proposition; it sets us apart from the rest of Florida, the nation, and the world.  
At the community hub, we plan to celebrate the planet along with you.  Each of us can do something to honor, celebrate, and protect the planet and our amazing part of it.  
Engage with us on social media or email me to let us know how you will celebrate Earth Day at iamlistening.  We will be using these hashtags: #EarthDay2016  #StartWith1ThingSWFL  #YouMakeYourCommunity

And if you really want to do something local,GIVE to our Fund for the Environment in Southwest Florida, the first of its kind where you can give now and we will grant it all out this year. Give now or learn more by clicking here.  
In Gratitude,

Women’s Legacy Fund 
Spring Contributors Luncheon to Explore Needs of Women & Girls in our Region May 12th

We have once again planned a more intimate gathering for this year’s Spring Luncheon. This “working lunch” format allows Contributors to explore and discuss this year’s cause areas for the annual WLF grant as a group of collective philanthropists.

Thursday, May 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Registration starts at 11 a.m.

The spring luncheon is complimentary and will be open exclusively to our active Contributors and Prima Donors. We will begin with facilitated discussions around the research we performed and the grant focus areas selected by the 2016 WLF grants committee:

  • Intergenerational Activities for Women & Girls
  • Career Exploration for Young Women & Girls
  • Youth Activities for Disconnected Young Women & Girls

We invite you to renew or become a 2016 Contributor (note: the WLF calendar is from the fall luncheon through May 1).  To “have a voice in the choice” vote and/or attend the luncheon, you must be a Contributor ($250 or $100 for 25 years or younger), or a Prima Donor by May 1. 
Please watch your email and mailboxes for the appeal letter or click here to learn more or here to contribute online now.

Some Special Someones
Foundation leaders receive awards

Jay Brett and Dawn Marie Driscoll will receive the prestigious John W. Sheppard Award
Jay Brett and Dawn-Marie Driscoll will be presented with the 2016 John W. Sheppard Award by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation board of trustees at the Foundation’s board meeting and 40th anniversary celebration on April 12.

Named after a founder of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the John W. Sheppard Award is given to outstanding trustees who have given selfless dedication to humanity and made significant contributions to the Community Foundation. Past recipients include John Sheppard, David Lucas, Peter Kleist, Arnold Sarlo, Frank Bireley, Jim Nathan, Sam Galloway, Jr., Tom Smoot, David G. Robinson, Bill Frey and Gene Solomon.  

Sarah Owen receives a hug from her son Samuel when named News-Press 2016 Person of the Year

photo by Amanda Inscore, 

News-Press Person of Year

She may be the News-Press’ Person of the Year, but Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the SWFL Community Foundation is our person of the day, week, month, and always.  She was selected for her vision and leadership of the FutureMakers Coalition to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 to 40% by 2025, according to News-Press Publisher Mike Jung.  Owen credits the Foundation board and the hundreds of FutureMakers working together toward the goal.

To learn more about FutureMakers or to become one, please visit
Celebrating 40 Years of Philanthropy

As part of the Foundation’s 40th Anniversary celebration, a special photo exhibit donated by commercial photographer Brian Tietz called “Faces of Philanthropy” will be on display at the Community Hub, (the Foundation office).

The exhibit celebrates outstanding philanthropy from the region and honors those passionate about our community and who give back through their time, talent and treasure.

More than 65 photos are part of the exhibit and include faces from all walks of life and individuals as young as 8 years of age up to 90. Subjects, who were nominated for their philanthropy, include a judge, retired teachers, business owners, attorneys, entrepreneurs, community volunteers, donors, Community Foundation fund holders, those who plan to leave a legacy gift in their estates, and more.

“My goal with shooting the Faces of Philanthropy portraits was to try and capture an unguarded moment with each subject, capturing just them as themselves and not a public persona that people, especially those well known in their community, sometimes feel they have to project,” said Tietz. “I also wanted to give back on my terms producing unique authentic and original images that fulfilled me as an artist and photographer.” 

The exhibit will run and be open to the public from April 15 through the summer months during regular Community Foundation Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some photos 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.
Scholarship Reviewers Unite
Reviewers, save the date June 6 for special 
CEO Roundtable
It’s that time of year when scholarship reviewers from the community take to the tough ta sk with our Scholarship Committee to review over 1,200 applications. When the tallies are in and interviews complete, the Community Foundation will award over $550,000 through over 90 scholarship funds with the help of nearly 100 volunteers

These special reviewers are invited to join us for a thank you “sneak peak” at the winners, and a roundtable discussion on removing barriers to education to improve SWFL’s workforce with President & CEO Sarah Owen. After all, being a reviewer has its privileges. Invitations are forthcoming, if you are a volunteer reviewer, please save the date of June 6. The future is indeed very bright in Southwest Florida!
Sustainability is at the Center of Everything We Do:
Sustainability Plan Draft on Website
As leaders for regional change, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is addressing the quality of life for those who live, learn, work, and play in our region.

In 2015, Lee County Board of County Commissioners transferred the CompleteLee Sustainability Plan to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. We understand this plan to be a road map for driving continuous improvement. Our goal is to use the plan’s framework to measure the collective impact of regional initiatives that indicate the strength of our community.  You can get more information by clicking here.

Our plan is a regional one, though.  So we will use this direction laid by Lee County to establish similar tools for the region.  We can’t wait to see what’s next!  For more information, please visit our website

To read our winter newsletter, Our (Sustainable) Community, click here.

Freedom Riders from Dunbar See the South with Grant from Community Foundation



The I Will Mentorship Foundation opened the

eyes of 56 students last week. 


While their friends were enjoying down time, these students spent their spring break visiting colleges and educational historic Civil Rights sites in the South.  Funded by a recent grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the group was awarded for their innovation and focus on providing positive experiences for the teens of Dunbar. 


For more information on I Will Mentorship and to see their journey, visit their Facebook page by clicking here.


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!