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Doing Well or Doing Good

Doing Well or Doing Good

For nearly 30 years a woman I never met has been whispering in my ear every time I sit down to write.  Sometimes she shows up in everyday conversations as well.

Mrs. Crowder was my 96-year-old father-in-law’s high school English teacher.  From the moment I joined the Owen clan, I heard her name mentioned regularly at family gatherings.  Early on I thought she was a distant relative or close friend, but quickly learned although no one other than my father-in-law had ever met her, she had been part of my husband and his three siblings’ lives from the start.

Whenever one of the Owen kids would use improper grammar, their dad wouldn’t correct them, but rather channel Mrs. Crowder.  If one of the children let a “me and John are going to the movies” fly, Mr. Owen would simply explain that Mrs. Crowder would prefer, “John and I are going to the movies.”

I can assure you the entire Owen family has a fantastic grasp on the use of language.  I often think how genius it was of Mr. Owen to call on his memories of Mrs. Crowder.  The kids never felt he was correcting them, it was always his tough as nails English teacher.

Recently someone ask me if I was “doing good” and I had to pause for a moment and consider Mrs. Crowder.  I wasn’t sure if they wondered if I was up to good deeds or physically, mentally and financially sound.

So I decided to cover all bases with I am doing well and doing good.

Both are correct in my life right now.  I am grateful for my physical and spiritual wellbeing which allows me to do some good in world.

I realize if I am struggling in my doing well, my doing good also suffers.  Often times when I meet with donors of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, they come to see me because things are going well in their lives and they want to take the opportunity to do good.

We all go through different chapters in our journey and donors who have come through hardship are all the more passionate about seizing an opportunity to do good in our community.

I also see this with a new breed of entrepreneurs, who are establishing their business with a double or triple bottom line.  They want their businesses to do well not just for the financial gains, but also what good the company can create for their employees and the community.  Research indicates that our new generation of workforce is more likely to stay at a company who is able to communicate and live out  their purpose in the social and economic realm.

Recently the Foundation partnered with one of our fundholders, Ensite, Inc., on the release of their inaugural corporate social responsibility report.  It’s a great example of a small business that focuses on doing well and doing good.  If you would like to review the report, you can find it at this link.:

Mrs. Crowder, I apologize to you for any and all grammatical errors in this column and I am happy to report that I believe I can be both be doing well and doing good, as long as I use it correctly.

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 $6.8 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

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