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SWFLCF launches 3-D Project

SWFLCF launches 3-D Project

New project aims to strengthen regional nonprofits’ capacity

FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 13, 2012) –The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has embarked on a unique effort to address the needs of the five-county region to help and enhance local nonprofits.

The Foundation’s 3-D project, which stands for data, dialogue and decisions, will establish a collaborative network and platform that will allow our region to create efficiencies, share resources, openly communicate and make informed decisions to strengthen our nonprofits. The project will give the community the means to identify challenges and opportunities and, as a cohesive unit, work together to mobilize citizens, nonprofits and the government to provide solutions strengthening the region.

“This project is important for our region and our foundation,” said Sarah Owen, CEO of the SWFLCF, which has made an initial investment of $100,000 to the project. “Southwest Florida was one of the hardest hit regions in the recent recession which naturally affected resources for nonprofits. We have found that our nonprofits could have attracted more grants and funds from outside our area if they had more collaboration and were given more support. This is why we are making a significant investment to build knowledge and develop an information tool that will connect our community.”

The data segment of the project will include a nonprofit mapping and assessment process of the five county area, as well as informational seminars, capacity surveys and round table follow-ups. Dialogue will include developing a regional collaboration, determining strategic partnerships and harnessing regional resources. Finally, decision represents the transformational and results-based philanthropy, sustainable and innovative initiatives and new streams of funding that are expected to be developed.

Owen added that enormous stress has been placed on the nonprofit sector, hindering its ability to operate and continue to build its own information infrastructure and organizational capacity. In the last year, prominent nonprofits in Southwest Florida were forced to close their doors, leaving a huge hole in the community for those who are most in need. While some of these organizations have reopened, there is another economic issue on the horizon. As tax bases decline and stimulus money is withdrawn, state budgetary shortfalls have led to diminishing governmental investments in the nonprofits that meet services in the region.

“As a past chair for United Way, the SW Florida Community Foundation and multiple other community service organizations as well as CEO of LMHS, I have experienced the challenge of allocating scarce resources for vital community needs,” said Jim Nathan, president and CEO of Lee Memorial Health System and 3D Advisory Council Member.  “More than just a community needs assessment, the 3-D project will assist with forming community partnerships that will help with grant and other funding opportunities and bring community organizations together to help solve local needs.”

The SWFLCF has contracted HT Group Consulting, LLC and John B. Talmage to facilitate the 3-D project. Talmage is a Senior Research Fellow at The Metropolitan Center at Florida International University and former CEO of Social Compact, a national nonprofit organization that helps underserved urban areas develop accurate economic data needed to attract investment.

The Foundation will begin Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of more than 3,600 501 (c) 3 entities in the region including Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Glades counties.

“GIS allows users to view, understand, question, interpret and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts,” said Talmage.

At the same time, 3-D will be conducting ongoing needs analysis of the nonprofits’ and the region’s resources, challenges, leadership and organizational development and network building. An advisory council of more than 30 leaders from the region’s foundations, government entities, educational institutions and businesses has been assembled to support the project.

“The economic downturn has exacerbated the extreme discrepancy in resources available to the large rural areas east of I-75,” said Dawn-Marie Driscoll, chairman of the board of trustees. “There is one nonprofit for every 250 people in Collier, but just one nonprofit for every 991 people to serve the needs in Glades County. This mapping tool and other data will allow everyone to see what areas and services are underserved.”

The goals of the project are to:

  • Identify the capacity and information needs of the nonprofit sector
  • Strengthen the capacity of the existing nonprofit organizations and allow the nonprofits and citizens of the lower capacity counties access to the higher capacity resources in the other counties
  • Provide data that will enable nonprofit leaders to make more informed decisions regarding their organizations and the allocation of their resources
  • Provide data to enable government funders and individual donors to make more informed decisions regarding their expenditures and philanthropic investments
  • Increase community participation in public policy conversations regarding social issues
  • Expand and deepen public access to nonprofit resources throughout Southwest Florida

According to Owen, the project will take place over a three-year period with the third phase to include a capacity survey to determine how the efforts have improved the civic infrastructure, civil society and lives of citizens across Southwest Florida. “As a regional foundation, our goal is to be the catalyst for social innovation, transformational communities, organizational capacity and needed inspiration,” added Owen.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is celebrating its 35th year of supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry and Collier counties by connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. The community foundation has provided more than $50 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. During its 2011 fiscal year, SWFLCF granted more than $3 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts and human services. For more information, call 239-274-5900.

Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Advisory Council Chair Chair – Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Kevin Anderson Sr. Manager, Headquarter Operations – Chico’s FAS
Carrie Blackwell Hussey Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County
Gregory C. Bobonich, J.D. CEO – Charlotte County Community Foundation
Steve Brettholtz President – Myers Brettholtz
Mei Mei Chan President and Publisher – The News Press
Melissa Congress Charitable Foundation of the Islands
Jillian Fay Community Council Vice President – Junior League of Fort Myers
Todd Foege Executive Director – Naples Children and Education Foundation
John Gamba Gamba Family Foundation
Mary George Acting CEO and VP – Community Foundation of Collier County
Tim Halverson Pastor – Faith Presbyterian Church, Cape Coral
Karen Hawes County Manager – Lee County
Marcia Hobe Clairborne F. Foulds Foundation Trust
Jadira Hoptry Vice President and Community Reinvestment Act Manager – Fifth Third Bank
Alan Isaacs Executive Director – Jewish Federation
Maria Jimenez Grants Director – Naples Children and Education Foundation
Sheldon Kaye Director – Lee County Public Libraries
Debra Kent Faulk Community Affairs Officer Greater Gulf Coast – Wells Fargo Foundation
Rich McDonnell Private Citizen
T. Wayne and Mavis Miller The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation, Inc.
Jim Nathan CEO – Lee Memorial Health System
Dave Neill President and Publisher – Naples Daily News
Steve Pontius Executive Vice President/General Manager – Waterman Broadcasting
Steve Sanderson President and CEO – United Way of Collier County
Beth Sanger Executive Director – Cape Coral Community Foundation
Cliff Smith President – United Way of Lee, Glades and Hendry Counties
Sasha Storsberg Communications Vice President – Junior League of Fort Myers
Karson Turner County Commissioner – Hendry County
Lori Wilson Treasurer – Gulf Coast Society of Fundraising Executives
Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Our ambition is a more vibrant community that will continually address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida. We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!