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Mileage that Matters

Mileage that Matters

Recently I have been measuring and counting things.  It all started with one of those hand held pedometers that counts steps.  It was a prize in a box of Frosted Flakes and I became slightly consumed with eating fewer bowls of cereal and increasing my footprints on the pavement.

Counting things is a great way to get a realistic picture of how much progress you are making in certain areas of life. The step data I was collecting quickly revealed that I am not moving around nearly as much as I thought I was. I guess my feet hurt from the height of my stilettos rather than actual time on the move.

Instead of switching shoes I abandoned the pedometer and decided to measure how far I was driving.  The change was not initiated out of pure laziness but I began to wonder if I was spending enough time in each part of the region that the Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves.  I thought if I tracked my travel miles I could get a better idea of my outreach in the community.  When I arrived at the Foundation nearly three years ago, the board of trustees asked that I dedicate myself to investing my time in our five-county area.  Their vision was to create an organization that resourced, influenced and supported both community based issues and regional initiatives.

I have always kept mileage records for budgeting purposes but this time I wanted to monitor the odometer in order to make sure I was accurately assessing my time in each of counties we serve.  I wasn’t as interested in raw mileage as I was in right mileage.

This week’s mileage was 176 and included several trips to Collier County, Sanibel Island and Bonita Springs.  Looking at next week’s calendar my number should go way up with trips planned to the counties of Charlotte and Hendry.  I will feel like a real over-achiever over the next several months when we head out on our annual regional road trip to visit the nonprofit organizations we funded this year and our regional Evenings of Gratitude in which we take our event on the road to thank our donors and friends for all their support and generosity.

But the sense of accomplishment is not really in the miles traveled.  Instead it is what happens once I reach those destinations.  Getting out of the office affords me the opportunity to meet and convene with my regional neighbors, learn more about the fantastic work of local nonprofits and connect donors with opportunities to change the world from their backyard.

Although the mileage reports might signal a vast territory to cover and the county lines may sometimes be viewed as invisible barriers, the truth is we are closer than we think and if we spend time connecting with each other and working together, the positive impact we make will be the thing really worth measuring.

If you are doing work you care about in one of the five counties served by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, email me at [email protected] and I will stop by your organization while I am on the road.


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