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Signing Off for Summer

Signing Off for Summer

When I was a kid it was always a really big deal to stay up late enough to watch network television sign off for the night.  I don’t remember exactly what time it happened, but I distinctly recall the image of the American flag waving in the wind while the national anthem played, and then the TV screen would shift to static.

Making it to that moment felt as if I accomplished something reserved for adults.  I would turn off the set and head off to bed with the assurance that programming would resume by the time I awoke the next day.

In this 24/7 television and streaming services day-in-age, it is hard to imagine there was a time that media ever slept.  I remember how my kids would react if the cable went out or the internet went down while they were in the middle of something.  They would freak out, and I would smile remembering the days of three channels the late-night sign-off.

This column marks a sign-off of sorts. Not forever, just for the summer as I relinquish my writing space to people telling stories I can’t wait to read.  Each year, Florida Weekly and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation partner to provide this space to local non-profits to share their work.

These summer columns are penned by talented nonprofit partners and grantees working on a variety of causes.  Through the generous support of donors, the organizations are funded to continue the great work they do in the community through the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants.

As part of this grant making process, many of the non-profits travel to the University of Florida’s School of Journalism to participate in a strategic communications training program designed to assist them in telling their stories.  To kick off the summer series, the UF team will share how they engage our grantee tribe in storytelling that inspires and creates change.

Over the next few months we will all know more about rescuing wildlife, creating a vibrant workforce, mentoring students, the arts scene, water quality, healthcare, children’s services and other issues facing our region.

One of the highlights of my summer is reading the columns written by these non-profit superheroes.

So I may be signing off, but join me in learning from the inspiring content that will be waiting for us when we tune in to this channel.


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




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