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The Right Fit

The Right Fit

I have a great pair of shoes that I never wear.  I bought them the night before a special event and did not have much time to decide.  When I saw them it was love at first sight and they were perfect for the occasion.  My shopping companion gave them the friend seal of approval and I was on my way to the register.  Mission accomplished.

The only problem is they were a half size too small and I knew it.  I jammed my feet into them in the store, took a few spins around the displays and convinced myself of a couple of possible scenarios. 1.  They will stretch.  2. My feet were a little swollen at the end of the day and/or 3.  I used to wear a size 7 a few years ago and everything would be fine.  Anyone who has great shoes they never wear sitting in their closet at this very moment knows exactly how this happened.

I like to call this magical thinking.  It defies logic and can be powerful in the right situations.  When it happens with shoes it’s pretty harmless except for 5 to 8 hours of agony that bursts the bubble, but I have also seen it reveal itself with career moves, relationships and business decisions.

We know what the right choice looks and feels like but for a variety of reasons we persuade ourselves that the figurative half size too small will end up being a good fit in the end.

In my role at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, I have seen this happen with charitable giving.  It might be hard to believe that there is a bad fit when it comes to generosity as any act of kindness can produce a positive benefit.

But when you are looking for a nonprofit partner that is going to impact a cause you care about fit does matter.

Sometimes donors find themselves giving to organizations because everyone in their circle of friends is passionate about the cause or they just are not sure how and where to research the right partnerships.  Businesses can confuse marketing dollars with philanthropic dollars and then wonder why their brand is not linked to creating positive change in a community and their employees struggle finding the culture of purpose in the work.   This is all about the right fit.

At the Foundation, we have created tools and conversations that help individuals, families and businesses match their values and interests with nonprofits and initiatives that create powerful, measurable and impactful partnerships and that is where magical thinking is transformed into effective giving. Recently we worked a senior leadership team at a local company matching their personal passions to organizations in the community which creates engaged and motivated volunteers.

A few weeks ago, I saw a colleague in the same pair of shoes that sit idly in my closet.  They looked great on her, and when I asked how they fit…she said “perfect, I love them.”  I am going to donate mine to someone who can enjoy them and find a pair that works for me.

If we can help you do the same with your giving send me an email at [email protected]  Life is too short for a bad fit.


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 $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 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