25 Mar 2020 Reconnecting
Our world has changed, collectively and individually. Last week I was walking around Collaboratory and missing the energy of people meeting and connecting in the building. If I am honest, I may have been feeling a little sorry for myself because I get so much joy from being part of a connected community.
Right about the time I was sinking into despair my phone chimed notifying me it was time for a virtual meeting with some of my teammates from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
In an instant they were all there in front of me in what reminded me of the Brady Bunch grid, smiling and ready to connect in a whole new way. I felt the same energy I have come to rely on when the building is full of people and ideas.
Collaboratory was never created as a singular physical location, but rather as a space where connections could happen in a variety of ways, not just in times of disasters or hardships but consistently as a way to create greater access to the space and in support of regional unity.
Facing COVID-19 has challenged all of us to find new ways to connect and reconnect. I am watching with awe as people find new and intriguing ways to combat isolation.
Some instructive words from Rabbi Yosef Kanefesky provide a simple guide to rethinking connectivity:
– “Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place”
– “Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.”
– “Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”
Many of you have reached out to ask the Foundation how you might be able to help your Southwest Florida neighbors in need due to the impact of COVID-19. Non profit organizations are finding creative ways to engage volunteers and they need your financial support more than ever right now as they face unprecedented challenges in serving our most vulnerable residents. We must equip them to carry on with their work.
If you would like to make a financial donation to assist with Coronavirus relief efforts visit floridacommunity.com for information on the Southwest Florida Emergency Relief Fund. In partnership with the the United Way, we will direct the funds raised to those in need. If you are in need of assistance, please reach out and dial 211. If you find asking for help is difficult, please know it is part of our new world and this journey we are taking together, as we explore new ways of connecting
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 $7.7 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $134.9 million, it has provided $85 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