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



Half Packed for the Journey

Half Packed for the Journey

When I picked up my daughter at RSW over the holidays after a long flight from her home in Amsterdam, I was shocked when I lifted her suitcase off of the baggage carousel.

I have long been amazed by how much one small young woman can pack and haul across the ocean. She takes the art of the 50 lb. weight limit to a whole new level. I have even seen her wearing several winter coats on board an aircraft after a showdown at ticketing due to the weight of her bag.

But this trip I was shocked in a whole new way when I hoisted the bag and it was so light it almost flew out of my hands. I had to check the name tag to make sure we had the correct baggage.

I wondered if half of her load might have been left in customs.

But when I ask her what was up a zen-like expression came over her and she said, ” I just wanted to leave room for something exciting to take back with me. If I am already over the limit I don’t leave any room for adventure.”

I almost sat down at baggage claim and cried. It gave a whole new perspective to the idea of “you can’t take it with you,” and for the 3 weeks she was visiting we focused on what she could take back to share with friends and loved ones instead of how many sweaters she could physically wear at one time to pass the weight test.

This experience caused me to reflect on how much “stuff” both physical and mental I carry around with me from one place to the next or one conversation to the next instead of looking for new perspectives and insights.

As I begin my journey into 2015 I want to be sure I am examining the weight of my baggage. Now that I have been in my role at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for 3 years, I want to be sure that I don’t lose my focus on listening to new ideas, learning from donors, advocates, nonprofits and my neighbors in Southwest Florida.

Recently the Foundation hosted an Idea Lab that brought nonprofits together from across the region to consider new ways they could partner and work together to solve southwest Florida’s most pressing issues. Some of them worked together after the Lab to design projects for an upcoming funding cycle.

As I spent some time just reading over their ideas, I realized how much our community would miss out on if the Foundation didn’t create a space for this kind of design thinking.

I have no idea what will come of some of these ideas- but it’s ok because I have left plenty of room in my bag for this journey.

In the months to come I will try and keep you posted on what I discover. I would love to hear from you at [email protected]

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