Giving Opportunities

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Fresh Hot Community Pie

Fresh Hot Community Pie


Over the holidays a friend stopped by with a fresh baked cherry pie – so fresh it was still steaming from her oven. Standing there on our doorstep three days before Christmas my friend wanted to share some holiday cheer. It was the nicest gift we received, and the biggest surprise. Afterall, who bakes homemade pies and delivers them piping hot just in time for our house full of guests expected in the coming days?

My friend was running around making these sweet deliveries and couldn’t stay long, just long enough to say Happy Holidays and off she went. It left me reminded that the best things in life are often homemade topped with a personal heartfelt visit. The overwhelming sense of neighborly love and community was wrapped up in that pie, and possibly its most delicious ingredient. Mrs. Smith has nothing on my friend.

This exchange brought back memories for my mother who was visiting. She told my friend it’s her favorite pie from when she was a little girl.

My son who is studying communication at FGCU is enamored with all things vintage. He has learned in his studies that anything which brings back memories is often used in marketing campaigns because the past is most often remembered better than it actually was, and many prefer it to the long and sometimes scary look to the future.

Memories bring good times to mind by evoking familiar scents, visuals and warm feelings. People crave it. That’s why we’ve seen trends throughout history of “what’s old is new again.” Vintage concert t-shirts, sweaters that look hand knit, polaroid cameras, dark horn-rimmed glasses, mid-century modern interior design, antique roadshows and pickers. You may have noticed that peace signs are back with a vengeance.

While many of us at the Foundation can only hope the bell bottom days are past, the hope for a better tomorrow remains the focus. By staying relevant with changing times, the Community Foundation works to create change using resources provided by donors today as well as those passed on.

In fact, we’re pretty sure that the Foundation’s first major donor Leonard Santini, a local farmer in the mid 1900s, could not have known what he was about to do for his community when he chose to give some of his assets to the Foundation upon his death. Thanks to his attorney who is still an advisor on our board today, Mr. Santini left his legacy for the future giving us funding to provide support for today’s challenges. While there is certainly something vintage about the gift, it’s making some of the most important impacts in our community today.

In 1978 the Foundation received a shopping center on Fort Myers Beach from Mr. Santini’s estate providing an estate tax solution for his heirs and satisfying his philanthropic desire to help others. As part of the plan, the Foundation sold the property and put the proceeds, $2.5 million, into Mr. Santini’s endowed fund at the Foundation. Today that endowment is still worth nearly the same value. Yet, over the last 40 years the Foundation has distributed nearly $7 million from his fund into our community to the causes Mr. Santini cared about.  Mr. Santini’s legacy lives on in numerous projects throughout our region that have addressed homelessness, hunger, unwed mothers, healthcare for children, children with autism, education, scouting, literacy, and the list goes on and on and will continue on and on in perpetuity….

Gifts come in many forms, the Foundation is here to help you figure out how you may want to change your corner of the world and with what gifts or assets you may have. If we can help, please reach out to us. It all starts with a dream, a solution, but most of all, a conversation.


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





Carolyn Rogers
Carolyn Rogers