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Costume Shop of Causes

Costume Shop of Causes

At 9 and 6 years old, my kids are fully engaged in Halloween.  They imagine their costumes well in advance, constructing a long list of all the things they could be that one sugar-filled day each year.  For some, choosing is a quick and painless.  In other cases, deciding from the list of what to be for Halloween can be a tough decision.  This is especially true when you love a lot things, and there’s only one day to celebrate.

My oldest always knows exactly what she wants to be months ahead of October. My son, on the other hand, struggles.  Imagine him, 6 years-old, in one of the costume stores, or even a costume aisle, and trying to stick to something that was on the list he dreamt up.  I watch him become easily distracted by all the cool costumes.

Seeing all of the options in front of him in a store has resulted in us leaving with a costume that wasn’t on the list in the first place.  Being there and seeing them in person makes it easier for him to envision himself as something he hadn’t otherwise considered.  In his case, it’s easier to be decisive with more information about the options.

There is something about the fact that it’s Halloween.  It only comes once a year.  There is a lot of anticipation, so it feels like a big decision.  In reality, my kids dress up all the time.  They tend to save their costumes, adding them to their wardrobe of clothes for imaginative play year-round.  They’ve been mummies, Sonic the Hedgehog, garden gnomes, all-things Harry Potter, Batman, and a zombie to name a few memorable choices.  In fact, he was in her mummy costume from two years ago just last month.

This scenario of feeling indecisive around a big decision, like where to put your time or money to make an impact in your community, plays out for some as they try to imagine what their cause is – the area for change they are most passionate about.  Philanthropists, those who give resources to a cause, come in all shapes and sizes because there are so many ways and areas in which they can make change.  But, like a line-up of costumes, it’s not unusual to want to change them all.

In some cases, like with my 9-year-old, decisions about giving are simple.  These philanthropists just know education is the cause that takes all their time.  Others, know they want to give their money to behavioral health programs. Sometimes, philanthropists even join together to support projects that address inequities, like those for women and girls or the LGBT community.

For those of you who find it difficult to pick just one cause and want to hone your passion to make a big impact, we’d love to talk to you.  We can help you identify your cause area.  Who knows? You might leave realizing that your passion lies with workforce, immigration, housing, or maybe our environment.  The possibilities are endless and the impact may be beyond what you imagined.

This year, my kids left the costume shop as a pink-sprinkled donut and Mario of Super Mario Brothers.  Not sure what you want to be yet?  Come visit our costume shop of causes at  Unlike Halloween, we’re hear year-round.


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 over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community.  With assets of $111 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $69 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.  Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.  For more information, visit or call 239-274-5900.








Tessa Lesage
Tessa Lesage