On the Table® invites Southwest Floridians from all backgrounds, neighborhoods and perspectives to gather over mealtime conversations and build personal connections to explore how we can work together and make our communities stronger.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation and partner organizations from throughout the region are launching On the Table® Southwest Florida to unite people from all backgrounds and explore how we can improve the quality of life in our region. We believe the best ideas and greatest impact come from the people who live, work, learn and play in our neighborhoods and communities.
On the Table® Southwest Florida will take place on October 17, 2019.
The conversations are held in person hosted by OTT hosts in places that will inspire action–this may be your parks, churches, neighborhood restaurants, office break rooms, coffee shops or around your kitchen table. Hold your discussion wherever you can gather, talk and brainstorm with a group of people.
People who live in Southwest Florida and from all walks of life host and attend On the Table® conversations.
Choose to be the person who gets good things started. Register to host an On the Table. You’ll be among thousands of people who have lent their vision, imagination and energy to shaping conversations with friends old and new, all around a meal and a topic. Hosting is the first step to doing something great in the community, and it’s made easy with guidance from our Conversation and Action Guide, and other media.
You’re in good company—hundreds of Southwest Florida residents are going to participate in On the Table which will lead to new relationships, elevated civic conversations and genuine pathways toward collaborative action. Your participation will make our communities more connected, resilient and resourceful. We’re happy that you’re joining us as a host on this journey for greater civic engagement. Find tips here on hosting an On the Table discussion and inspiring action to improve our communities. Get more insights and motivation by joining our new Facebook group for hosts. Then, get ready to bring people together!
In August, organizers from the On The Table launch team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will be in touch to arrange a date and time to do a fun Host Training session in your county and will bring Host Kits and EVERYTHING you need to invite your guests and engage them.
By hosting a mealtime conversation as part of On the Table on October 17, 2019, you’ll be part of an exciting initiative to discuss not only what’s great about our community, but also ways to make it even better — more sustainable, just, safe, strong and vibrant.
At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we know big ideas can spring from small conversations and that people invest in what they help create. When we come together as a community to listen to and learn from each other, we have the power to impact neighborhoods, communities and lives. That’s what On the Table is all about.
On the Table is an opportunity to gather around a table with friends, neighbors, colleagues and maybe even a few people we are meeting for the first time to talk about the issues, big and small, that impact our quality of life. When we talk about our experiences and listen to others, we connect and learn about what matters to all of us.
On the Table invites residents of Southwest Florida to come together to talk, collaborate, and become more civically involved and committed to our community. The issues we face today don’t often offer quick fixes. On the contrary, progress will only result when residents, organizations, businesses and government work together to make contributions that add up to a greater solution than we can achieve on our own. On the Table is a starting place for meaningful conversation. What happens next is up to you.
This area is full of people who love our community and each other. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to feel welcome “at the table” because people don’t know where the table is. They might have a hard time finding a way to be heard – or believing that their voice matters. On the Table is designed to better connect people to each other and to make all voices heard. It’s been hugely successful in Chicago – tens of thousands of residents have participated in On the Table over the past five years! – and has inspired a number of community improvements. We know that our future depends on more collaboration, more civic engagement and more coming together. We hope you will join us!
Right now, our partners are in the process of recruiting hosts and participants from across Southwest Florida to be part of On the Table.
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 over 400 philanthropic funds and/or have contributed to one of the foundation’s funds to be part of the foundation’s mission. Thanks to them, last year, the Foundation invested $6.8 million to the community. As part of our mission, the Foundation serves as the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.
New and updated information will be posted regularly on the On the Table website. You can also join the Facebook group and follow us on Instagram . Additionally, you can send us an e-mail at [email protected] to have one of our team members contact you with more information.
It’s really pretty simple: You determine a location for folks to meet on October 17, 2019, for a mealtime conversation to discuss not only what’s great about our community, but also ways to make it even better — more sustainable, just, safe, strong and vibrant. You can have your breakfast, lunch or dinner wherever you want and serve whatever you like – from a catered or home-cooked meal to a picnic, barbecue or soup-and-salad meal.
Simply complete the Host A Conversation Form to register your event.
The invite list is up to you. If you’re unsure, start with people you know – friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. You may consider reaching out to a larger community by co-hosting your event with a local church or nonprofit. Consider asking your guests to bring a friend, or invite people from your network that don’t already know each other.
Eight-to-twelve guests per table is ideal. On the Table is about giving everyone a chance to speak and be heard. If you want to host a larger gathering, consider breaking into smaller groups and allowing time for each to discuss and report out to the larger group.
Hosts are encouraged to be creative. The priority is to create an atmosphere conducive to meaningful conversation – a potluck in your dining room, a picnic in a nearby park, a gathering at a neighborhood restaurant or a backyard barbecue are just some of the many possibilities.
We look forward to hearing about the stories and commitments discussed at your gathering. We encourage all participants to share insights, photos and videos on social media throughout the day, using #OTTSWFL.
At the conclusion of the On the Table events on October 17, 2019, we’ll send every participant (hosts and guests) a short e-mail survey to learn more about their experiences and their commitments. You may also be asked to participate in a more in-depth post-event interview, where we hope to dive even deeper into some of the experiences, thoughts and ideas that arose from these conversations.
All On the Table participants can opt-in to receive a copy of an electronic copy of the summary report detailing the impact and outcomes of this initiative. You will also be invited to future civic engagement programs, initiatives and events sponsored by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
An important component of On the Table is gathering data and information so that all voices are heard. A short survey will be offered after each On the Table gathering to gain the feedback and insights. The research will be available to everyone in Southwest Florida and we hope people and organizations will use the data for insights, and to fuel decisions.
Results will be released here in December 2019
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