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Close Your Eyes and Make a Wish

Close Your Eyes and Make a Wish

When it comes to wish making there is no more iconic image than a child standing over a birthday cake, closing his or her eyes and blowing out the candles with much childhood might.

The child’s breathe is not directed at making sure he or she gets all the candles extinguished, but rather the pure desire to have a wish granted.

One of my greatest parenting mistakes was topping a birthday cake with trick candles that won’t blow out.  What I thought would delight one of my more mischievous children actually brought him to tears.  He was certain that I had foiled any potential for his wish to come true.

It took a lot of convincing to assure him that his hopes were not dashed and that wishes have many ways of coming true.  I explained that we had to work at them but just imagining them was the first important step.

As we get older, we tend to shy away from candles on a cake.  The blaze can sometimes get a bit too overwhelming.  But even sans the candles we should never stop dreaming or making wishes for the future.

At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we are taking part in a national celebration that marks the 100th year anniversary of community foundations.  Our foundation is a youngster at 38 years, but we are happy to join foundations of all ages in this party.  There is a lot to learn in looking back from a centennial perspective.  We realize that much of what is happening in philanthropy and giving today has been shaped by the wishes and dreams created by others decades ago.

So while we are celebrating the past we wanted to cast our wishes for the future.  What does our community dream or desire for the next hundred years?

To capture what Southwest Floridians wishes we hung a banner in our office and asked them to take up their sharpies and share their thoughts.  We have been astonished, inspired and energized by their responses.  Our neighbors from different generations, and circumstances have shared their vision for next hundred years in Southwest Florida and I want to share some of them with you:

-Health care for everyone

-End hunger

-Love is everywhere

-End cancer

-Children with full bellies everyday

-A safe home for all animals

-Respect for the environment

-Raised awareness of Melanoma in honor of my mother who was recently diagnosed

-Mental Illness will be treated like a physical illness

-A cure for Alzheimer’s

-99% of high school students will graduate

Someone who recently wrote on our wall asked me if I thought that any of these wishes could actually come true.  I assured him that there are no trick candles here and gave him the same assurance that I gave my son.

If we all work together, there are many ways for our wishes for our region to be realized.

So let’s close our eyes tight, make our wish and then get to work on creating the next 100 years.  Thanks to all of us they can throw quite a party in 2114.

I would love to hear your wishes for the next hundred years.  Email me at [email protected] or stop in and write on our wall, share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter.  And please be sure to use the hashtag #CF100


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, and Collier counties since 1976. With assets over $75 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $57 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. For more information, please call 274-5900, or visit our web site at

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