03 Dec CAUSE & EFFECT: Start Your Engines, But Don’t Forget the Pit Stop
On one of our many corporate transfers, my family found themselves in Daytona Beach for a few years. Anyone who has lived the life of moving every couple of calendar cycles for their career will tell you that immersing yourself into the new city is key to a positive transition. I am fairly certain that a corporate human resources officer coined the phrase, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
So, when in Daytona Beach… We bought a house a couple of blocks from the ocean, drove our car on the world-famous beach as often as possible, braved the boardwalk during spring break, attempted to surf and bought tickets to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race.
As a Florida girl, most of these things felt familiar with the exception of NASCAR. I had never been to a race or watched one on television. But I knew the sport had avid followers and my new Daytona neighbors assured me it was something I didn’t want to miss.
Pre-race I studied up on terms like drafting, drag, driving into the corner, and restrictor plate. But the NASCAR practice that captured most of my attention was the pit stop. I actually enjoyed watching drivers pit more than I did the racing (please don’t tell any of my Daytona friends). From my vantage point managing the pit stop with a skilled crew was a critical part of a winning strategy and one of the only factors that could be controlled. I was fascinated by the idea of short pitting, which meant coming in long before fuel was low and fresh tires were needed to try and gain an advantage.
Many times, drivers that held a lead would wait too long to pit hoping their cars would hold out to the finish line only to find themselves on the wrong side of that bet.
Not sure I learned many life lessons from my short exposure to NASCAR, but short pitting might be one of them. I often think of this strategy during periods of dealing with a pressing community need, stress or leading a team with very full calendars. We all have the tendency to try to make it to the finish line without taking time to pull over and care for ourselves, before we are depleted of resources.
During the holiday season in Southwest Florida there are so many tasks, needs and opportunities vying for our attention. We all understand there are people facing the upcoming months without the resources they need for basic needs much less the extra demands of the holidays. Additionally, as Southwest Floridians we are keenly aware of the climate and water issues that could impact our region for generations to come.
We can’t just jump in our cars and drive around the track at full speed hoping to make it to the finish line on our own. We have to pull over and make a plan to create change, especially this time of the year.
There are plenty of lifestyle tips out there for surviving the holiday season, but the team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is happy to serve as a pit crew for your giving strategy. There is no lack of fantastic non-profit organizations in our community providing services to those in need. If you have partnered with one of them and have a plan, stick with it. Long term relationships between a donor and the organization they support can create incredible results.
But many folks simply know they want giving to be part of their holiday tradition, but are not quite sure where to start. The opportunities to help can seem endless and overwhelming. This is the time to pull over for a pit stop to learn a bit more.
We work with families to create giving vision statements, assist grandparents in engaging their grandchildren in philanthropy and partner with private family foundations in funding good ideas together. We gather information, data and research on emerging community needs that we can share.
We can point you toward non-profit agencies that are focused on the cause you care about and develop short and long- term plans for giving. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation also maintains a file of LOIs (Letters of Ideas) from hundreds of non-profit agencies requesting resources that we can review with you.
In our new space, Collaboratory, we can bring people together that can help you solve problems and create opportunities. If the holiday list just seems too long to make these kinds of big decisions, we have fund structures that allow you to donate in 2018 and then distribute the dollars in the years to come when you have more time to do the homework.
If you own a business of any size and are looking for a way to create impact with your marketing and philanthropic dollars, we can help you create a corporate social responsibility plan with measurable results.
Just pull over. A holiday giving short pit could make all the difference for you and the community.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
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 $6.3 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $79.9 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 satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com