Giving Opportunities

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The end can be a new beginning

The end can be a new beginning

As the year comes to an end, we thought it would be a good time to share some stories of local donors (whose names have been changed to protect the generous) who represent a growing segment of philanthropists in Southwest Florida.

There are numerous ways donors can realize their personal wishes to support the causes and the specific organizations they care about. There are gift planning solutions to help now as well an in the future that can jumpstart donors on a new journey as philanthropists.

At this time of the year, we are working with donors on several options such as giving appreciated securities, establishing donor advised funds while they think about where they want to direct their donations, rolling IRA Charitable contributions to a fund so donors do not have to pay the tax on their RMD, to the option of virtual endowments so donors can enjoy the giving and see the results now while alive.

Here’s a little story about Jack and Diane

Jack and Diane recently relocated to Southwest Florida after retiring from successful careers. He was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; she owned a local business. The couple is enjoying the good life, island-hopping aboard their new boat, hitting the links as often as they can and discovering so much about their new hometown.

“We’re busier now than we were when we were working,” Jack likes to joke.

Through their involvement on the boards of several nonprofit agencies, they’ve discovered the vulnerability of Southwest Florida’s coastal and inland ecosystems and have learned about the barriers to post-secondary education facing many children in the region.

Jack and Diane are long-time philanthropists who started giving on a smaller scale, writing checks to a variety of nonprofit groups supporting causes near and dear to their hearts.

“We often wondered if it was enough, giving $500 here, $1,000 there,” says Diane. “We had no way of knowing the impact our donations were making.”

“We’ve been very fortunate in our lives and want to make a difference,” adds Jack. “We decided that when we retired we were going to step up our giving.

The couple heard about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and turned to the organization to discuss their options for making the most impactful donations. They were impressed by the number of organizations and causes being supported and the smart giving options available to them – many providing a more personalized approach to philanthropy and reduced tax liabilities

“We firmly believe education is the great equalizer and we’re dedicated to helping first-generation students go to college,” Diane says. “We also want to ensure our grandchildren and great-grandchildren see the same Southwest Florida we fell in love with – the beaches, the wildlife preserves and the Everglades – so we’re supporting the community foundation’s environmental and sustainability initiatives.”

Jack and Diane planned a significant donation and we helped them find their philanthropic fit. Of the four strategies we explored together, donating stock proved ideal for their personal situation and it gained the nod from their financial advisor.

“Giving stocks instead of cash helped us, and the community foundation received the full value – $10,000 more than if we’d sold it and donated the proceeds because of the appreciation which is taxable,” Diane says.

“It was the perfect way for us to give. To us, the $10,000 was a bonus and we designated it for a four-year scholarship for a student studying business and finance,” says Jack.

If you wish to optimize your giving and tax benefits, reach out to us as your concierge of philanthropy. It’s our favorite thing to do.


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 $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 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. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit




Carolyn Rogers
Carolyn Rogers