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Pumpkin Spiced Philanthropy

Pumpkin Spiced Philanthropy

There was a time when the calendar turned to October and I sought out ways to bring a little fall into my South Florida life.  Years ago I would seek out pumpkins and multi colored gourds in the grocery store and sprinkle some faux fall leaves around my dining room table to set the stage for a change in seasons.

As time has passed the options for “falling” up my world even in 85-degree weather have expanded exponentially.  The food and beverage industry has grabbed hold of fall with a vengeance and I think it may be starting to get out of hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of counting the days for the release of pumpkin spice lattes.  And to date I believe I have consumed more PSLs than days in October and we are only half way through the hallmark month of autumn.

But now every time I turn around, someone has pumpkin spiced something.  A google search on the topic revealed the top 40 pumpkin spice products for 2017.  Pumpkin beer, pumpkin Oreos and Milano’s, pumpkin English muffins, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin protein bars all made the list.  This morning at my favorite breakfast spot they were featuring pumpkin oatmeal.  We are taking tried and true favorites and adding pumpkin spice.

So why not Pumpkin Spiced Philanthropy?  Maybe it’s not a product, but a state of mind.  Something we look forward to with anticipation in the same way we wait in line at the pumpkin patch.  We know it’s coming and we ready ourselves.

In Southwest Florida we do have a time when both permanent and seasonal residents focus on giving and supporting causes across the region.  Veterans of this time of year just refer to is as “season” and fellow philanthropists know what they mean.

But the pumpkin spice movement has a bigger reach and comes in a wide variety of opportunities.  Where are these opportunities for philanthropy in our everyday lives?   How could we do more of that to inspire generosity, kindness and giving in our region?  Where could we find some unexpected chances to do more?

If you are ready to spice up your philanthropy this season, we are here to help, you can email me at iamlistening.  Each day we see local generous people finding new ways to create change and we are happy to lead the pumpkin spice philanthropy movement…someone has to do it.

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 over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community.  With assets of $111 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $69 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.  Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.  For more information, visit or call 239-274-5900.


















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