05 Aug 2019 CAUSE & EFFECT: We should do this more often
These six words have become a theme in my life. This summer I have tried to be more intentional about taking the time to get together with friends and colleagues to talk and listen. Sometimes it’s over a cup of coffee first thing in the morning or meeting after work for dinner. These aren’t formal gatherings with a set agenda, rather opportunities to let the conversation take its own pace and direction. Without fail I end our time together proclaiming, “we should do this more often” and I mean it.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I had dinner with friends we have been trying to connect with for over a year. Each time we would see them in passing, one of us would utter the phrase. “We really need to get together for dinner….sometime.” It took twelve months, but my husband finally reached out to them and put a date on the calendar.
How many times have you let those parting words roll off your tongue as you say goodbye to a friend? The intention is pure, but execution falls short. Our lives are so full of obligations and responsibilities we run the risk of never setting aside time to gather at a table to share a meal and our lives with others.
I have become more aware of how often I hear people around me express a sincere desire to connect in more intentional ways. When we host an event at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Collaboratory we find people want to stay around after the meeting and grab a cup of coffee together to continue a conversation or make plans for a future meet up.
Our team at the Foundation realizes we can help facilitate people gathering and connecting in many different ways. Sure, there are plenty of meetings to go around but how could we arrange the opportunity for people across the 5-county region to get together over a meal and share their thoughts on our community?
It takes me a year to get together with friends, so this seemed like a daunting task. Then I remembered that the key to getting people together is to invite them, put it on the calendar, and make sure there is food.
So that’s exactly what we are going to do. Consider this your official invite to On the Table® Southwest Florida. On the Table® invites Southwest Floridians from all backgrounds, neighborhoods and perspectives to gather over mealtime conversations and build personal connections to explore how we can make our communities stronger.
Why? The Foundation and partners from throughout the region are launching On the Table® Southwest Florida to unite people from all backgrounds and explore how we can improve the quality of life in our region. We believe the best ideas and greatest impact come from the people who live, work, learn and play in our neighborhoods and communities.
When? (Remember the calendar is the key!) On the Table® Southwest Florida will take place on Thursday, October 17, 2019
Where? (Of course we can’t host everyone on our own, we need your help). The conversations are held in person hosted by On the Table® hosts in places like parks, churches, restaurants, office break rooms, coffee shops or around your kitchen table. Hold your discussion wherever you can gather, talk and brainstorm with a group of people.
Who? (We are hoping YOU) and people who live in Southwest Florida and from all walks of life host and attend On the Table conversations.
We set the date, and if you host a conversation, we will supply you with all you need to get the conversation going and a short survey for your guests to take at the end so we can hear from everyone.
If you have been meaning to get together with a group of friends or colleagues, find out more about hosting an On the Table. I have a feeling at the end of the day you will all say, we should do this more often.
To sign up to become a host and join thousands of other Southwest Floridian’s for On the Table® visit floridacommunity.com/on-the-table/ and go to “host a conversation.”
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.