07 Aug 2019 On the Table® Southwest Florida to Create Connections and Conversations Throughout the Region on October 17
Residents sharing meals to connect and discuss community
On Thursday, October 17, 2019, people from across Southwest Florida will take part in a single day of conversation about the community and their role in it during On the Table® Southwest Florida. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is putting a call out to residents to host gatherings in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.
“This is a unique region-wide opportunity to connect in order to make our communities stronger, safer and more equitable by hearing from each other,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “At each table’s conversation, ideas will be shared, people will have formed connections and, guests will have had a voice at the table. A post-survey will also be available to capture thoughts and insights.”
On the Table® gatherings can be mealtime conversations at any point during the day including coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between. While 8 to 12 guests at each table has been found to be an ideal number for everyone to have a chance to speak and be heard, the number of guests a host wants to invite is up to them and can include family, friends, colleagues and neighbors and more. Gatherings can be co-hosted with local churches, businesses or non-profits and everyone is encouraged to bring their friends or network peers.
“Research has proven that when people share a desire to come together, collaborate more, become more civically involved and more committed to our community, everyone gains,” said Marc Collins, a Lee County resident who has signed on to host a meal on October 17. “I am proud to be joining this first On the Table in Southwest Florida to inspire connection and action from others and drive progress across our region.”
Those registered to host gatherings will be provided with tools and resources online and invitation template forms to track RSVPs. The launch team at Southwest Florida Community Foundation will also be holding host training sessions and supplying host kits before the October event date.
“While we know that there’s no quick fix to the issues facing our region, progress will result from residents and organizations making connection and working to make contributions that help unite the place we call home,” said Owen. “Our stories and lived experiences matter – and when we come together as a community to learn from and with each other, we have the power to impact both neighborhoods and lives. That’s what On the Table is all about.”
In 2014, residents in Chicago began an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and inspire collaborative action across the region. Since then, On the Table® has been started in over 30 communities across the country which has brought thousands of people together who have gathered around tables in homes, community centers, schools, libraries and other spaces to discuss issues they believe are important to their own and their communities’ future.
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 www.floridacommunity.com