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Change Making and the Soufflés of Life

Change Making and the Soufflés of Life

I have never eaten a soufflé.  In the scheme of things, it is not a big deal but recently I saw the offering on a menu and began to consider why I had never tried this culinary classic.

I’ve had opportunities in restaurants and even own a few cookbooks that lay out the steps to create the delicacy at home.

In studying the menu, a simple line of fine print jumped out at me and solved the no soufflé mystery.  “Please allow one-hour advanced notice in ordering our dessert soufflé.”

It wasn’t an access to a soufflé issue, but a patience problem.  I don’t want to wait that long for the end result.

Once I arrived home I searched my cookbooks and the internet to see what was involved in creating a soufflé and found it had a reputation of intimidation.

The iconic, fearless chef, Julia Child, explains in her book The Way to Cook,

“A reasonably well-assembled soufflé can be an automatic happenstance: a flavor base into which stiffly beaten egg whites are incorporated. When the mixture is baked, the heat of the oven expands the air bubbles in the egg whites and the whole mass rises. It stays puffed the few minutes needed to serve it; then, as it cools, the air bubbles deflate and the soufflé collapses. Soufflés are not difficult when you have mastered the beating of egg whites and the folding of them into the soufflé base.”

She makes it sound so easy, but a more intensive Google search on soufflé failures revealed the real story.  This automatic “happenstance,” is not quite as simple as it sounds.

Again, it all comes down to patience.  Ordering or creating a soufflé takes time, and apparently it is worth the wait, much like many beautiful things in life.

I like the Julia Child explanation as it lays out a process and a sound explanation for good results.  This is much the same as designing solutions for change.

At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we are keenly aware of the issues and challenges facing our region.  No one wants to see a quick fix any more than our team who shares my impatience in seeing results.  But we have all learned that creating the change we would like to see takes passion, time, and a commitment to a process.

We have seen partnerships and collaborations that have patiently evolved over a period of years to show remarkable results.

The Foundation is proud to be a partner in the the FutureMakers Coalition working to transform the workforce by increasing the number of working age adults in Southwest Florida with postsecondary degrees, certifications and other high-quality credentials to 55% by 2025.  We are also part of the Lee County Attainable Housing Coalition which has a goal by 2030 that 75% of Lee County’s households will pay no more than 45% of their income for housing and transportation.

These are challenges that require a sustained focus and commitment and experience failures along the way- they are the soufflés of change making.  When we get them right, they are works of art and things of beauty to be enjoyed by all.

In an effort to really experience the theme of this column I was going to attempt to make a soufflé, but on second thought I think I will just order one the next time I see it on a menu.

Would love to hear your recipe for long-term change that you are trying to create at [email protected].


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 $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 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. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit



Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More