03 Apr It’s Time
Floridians learn to be creative in marking the seasons. Since nature does not provide the obvious clues in the form of fall foliage, snow days and cherry blossom blooms, we find other ways to signal the changes in the calendar.
This year the mild temperatures have helped me usher in Spring, but I also rely on other cues. Two of my kids’ birthdays, my gardenia bushes forming buds, spring training games, Earth Day, friends visiting from colder places, April 15, and a calendar filled with seasonal fundraising events all remind me that Spring is in the air.
In Southwest Florida, the weeks between the official start of Spring and Easter are critical for nonprofits to celebrate, connect with and inspire their seasonal volunteers, supporters and donors before they head back to their summer homes and travel.
Many Southwest Florida Community Foundation donors reach out before they leave their winter homes to make contributions from their Donor Advised Funds, their charitable checkbook, in order to support the causes they care about through the summer months. Many of our supporters open new funds this time of year as they are wrapping up meetings with their professional estate and tax advisors, and charitable giving solutions are top of mind.
Spring is the perfect time to help give the nonprofits you support that extra boost for the season around the corner that we associate with vacations, beach days, and easier access to our favorite restaurants. Summer also signals a greater need at nonprofits that support school-aged kids while they are out of school and all organizations can use extra volunteer support when many of their regular champions have headed for cooler weather.
It’s time to make those commitments. If you are leaving there is time to catch a number of upcoming April fundraisers like those hosted this month by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, Our Mother’s Home, the American Heart Association of Southwest Florida, Sanibel Sea School, Florida Repertory Theatre and the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Check out their websites for more information, and every edition of Florida Weekly is filled with information on events to support our community.
If you are a year-round resident, it’s time to connect with nonprofits that could really use the extra volunteers this summer. Many times, companies step up with teams of employees that help carry the load in delivering meals to the home bound or helping out at summer camps. If you are looking for summer volunteer opportunities, the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties keep a running list. Check out their Facebook Volunteer page or their website www.United way Lee.org
The possibilities are endless. It’s time.
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 www.floridacommunity.com.