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Hope Floats

ad for Face of Hope Mental Health Luncheon

Hope Floats

I am a data geek and believe that a commitment to measuring and evaluating progress is key to a strong strategic business plan.  I am always filled with hope and anticipation that things will go well in our work at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation but remind myself that hope is not a strategy.

But that doesn’t mean that hope is not a powerful tool that empowers us to face the toughest of times. Hope is the belief that circumstances will improve-not a wish but the actual belief, the knowledge that things will get better no matter how big or small.  In the world of community change making this is a critical factor.

Hope is often the only thing that bridges the gap between us and the abyss of an unimaginable circumstance.

I am always inspired to read stories of hope, because it springs from the heart not from the brain. It can lay silent until we need to call upon it to help us persevere and overcome obstacles.  It can turn us from being victims to survivors in most any situation.

Much of the work that happens in our nonprofit community is designed to couple a strong strategy with the power of hope.  If you spend time with a cancer survivor, a first-generation college student, a single mother looking for employment, or a family who rebuilds their life after the devastation of a natural disaster, there is no doubt that hope will enter the conversation. Our region’s nonprofits are equipped to deliver the critical services that provide fuel for the much-needed hope equation.

Last week I had the opportunity to see hope in action, at the aptly named, Hope Clubhouse.  The organization provides a community of support for adults living with a mental illness which provides opportunities for paid employment and access to education, housing and wellness. The Clubhouse is a healing and mentoring environment for persons who have had their lives drastically disrupted by mental illness and need the support of others that believe that recovery is possible.

Hope is a critical ingredient in any type of recovery, and when you step inside the Clubhouse you believe anything is possible.  In order to share their message of hope and inspire others to become involved they hosted a kickoff meeting for their up coming Faces of Hope Who Give Luncheon.

The purpose of the luncheon is to provide citizens the opportunity to learn about some of the personal struggles of members of our community, while inviting everyone to become a champion and financial supporter of the cause.  I see it as an opportunity to become a community hope broker.

If you are looking for a healthy dose of hope or would like to provide encouragement and support to Hope Clubhouse, there are a few tickets left for the October 28th luncheon.  Just visit

If I don’t see you there please send me your stories of hope at [email protected]


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