Giving Opportunities

Click the button below to see a list of funds at the SWFL Community Foundation that you can donate to. DONATE TO A FUND




Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes we refer to ourselves as “money launderers for good,” but what we do is much more than that, and it’s all very legal! Recognized as a 501c3 organization, we work with donors to satisfy their philanthropic wishes, and we then grant out their funds and invest them back into the community through initiatives with partners ranging from nonprofit organizations, community agencies, business, and government.

Here are some other questions we get a lot, feel free to poke around. And if you still have questions, we’d love to answer them, just contact us any time.

How can I give to the Community Foundation?

Making a gift to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation can be as simple as writing a check or as sophisticated as crafting a new fund. We can help you to develop a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to estate planning or giving.

Just give us a call at 239-274-5900 or go to our Contact Us page.

How is the Community Foundation different from other nonprofits?

Although the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, we differ from other nonprofit organizations in several ways.

First, we are not a provider of services. Other nonprofits specialize in providing certain services or supporting specific causes. Community foundations, however, identify community needs and provide financial and other support to those nonprofits through grant programs.

Second, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is unlike nonprofit organizations that engage in “pass through” funding. An example of this would be the United Way, which, through its various campaigns, raises money and passes it quickly to other nonprofits. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation does not typically do this, but rather helps donors to establish endowed funds that provide grants not just for immediate needs, but also for needs in the future. Endowed funds see to the sustainability of a community well into the future. While there is definitely a need for immediate giving, there is also a need to plan for future needs. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation does both, but our emphasis is on the establishment of endowed funds. (Incidentally, we have partnered with the local United Way on many community projects. Whereas we are different in our approaches, we share some common goals in supporting our local nonprofit sector.)

Finally, as a funder of local nonprofits, the Community Foundation maintains close ties with them, which helps us to “keep our finger on the pulse of” current and future issues that impact our community. We share that information with others and encourage collaboration among organizations to deal with those issues. Our position in the community, then, allows us to serve on a much wider scope than other types on nonprofits.

Why give to the Community Foundation rather than directly to a nonprofit or cause?

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation uses the power of endowed funds to meet both immediate needs in the community as well as future needs.  By establishing an endowed fund with us or supporting an existing fund, you are being strategic with your giving and ensuring that the causes about which you care most can be provided for tomorrow as well as today.  Because funds are permanent, sometimes we find that years or decades later, some nonprofits merge or go out of business, the foundation funds have the flexibility to honor donor wishes and yet change with the times.

Where do the grants go?

Grants are made from the funds that donors have established with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and we strictly follow the intent of the donor to ensure that their funds are being used in the areas that they want/wanted to support . We provide grants to local nonprofits that work in the areas of the arts, environment, animal welfare, healthcare, human services, preservation, and education. We have different annual grant cycles that have been designed to meet all kinds of needs.

For a list of recent grant awards, visit our Recent Grants page. You might also like to view our Grant Application Guidelines to see qualifications for receiving grants.

Is there a cost involved in meeting with someone at the Community Foundation?

No. There is never a cost to meet with us. Whether you are a donor who is interested in receiving more information about establishing a fund, a community member looking for information about a local nonprofit, or a nonprofit staff member who needs to use our library of resources, we offer these services to you for free.

Can I trust the Community Foundation?

Yes. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been serving the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, and Collier counties since 1976. We have a long history in Southwest Florida as a local organization that was founded by local people to serve the needs of local people. We are overseen by a volunteer board of community leaders and run by professionals with expertise in identifying their communities’ needs.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is confirmed in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. These National Standards guide sound policies and accountability practices, distinguish the field from others, and build the capacity of community foundations to carry out their missions. Community foundations use standards to promote self-regulation in a manner viewed positively by the Internal Revenue Service, which has increased its scrutiny of charities offering donor-advised funds.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation prioritizes our organizational accountability and transparency because we value your trust and honor your privacy. Abiding by National Standards keeps us on our toes. We like that, because we know that it ultimately gives you the confidence you need to entrust us with your philanthropic passions.

How do I set up a fund?

Setting up a fund is actually very easy, but you should first come in to meet with us so that we can help you to develop your philanthropic plans and goals. Everyone has a passion. We like to start by finding out all about yours. From there, we can provide you with the tools that you need to begin your own philanthropic plan.

Are you ready? Give us a call at 239-274-5900.