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We Need Each Other

We Need Each Other

I love a good theme.  I am one of those people who picks a theme song, word or phrase to carry me through a year.  I am a motivational quote junkie and look for ways to frame things to help ignite myself and the teams I serve.  This is not an issue for me but I can tell you I also encourage people around me to embrace my love for this exercise and that is not always readily welcomed.

So as the calendar begins to wind down I reflect on the year that has passed and begin my quest for a theme for the upcoming year.  My friends and family know it is coming and start avoiding any conversations that may lead to me asking about their word or theme song for the upcoming year.  This year I have vowed not to bring it up.  Except in this column.

I will not indulge in my personal theme, but instead the theme I have taken away from the amazing work done by individuals and organizations I have the pleasure of working alongside at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

In 2014 I witnessed so much progress and success as a result of people working together collectively to solve issues and create positive change.  Believe me, I know that working together is not a new theme by any stretch of the imagination, but talking about it and witnessing it in action are two different things.

It seemed as a region, we acknowledged that we need each other.  Nonprofit organizations funded by the SWFLCF gathered monthly to share ideas and best practices, donors and funders gathered to leverage funding for new ideas, regional coalitions developed to move the needle on economic development and workforce development took shape and made progress, and through our FutureMakers Initiative, we joined forces across county lines to help our high school seniors have greater access to financial aid needed to go to college or technical school.

At the SWFLCF we expanded our role as conveners’ and humble brokers of ideas to include a wider cross section of the community.  No longer is our table limited to donors and nonprofits, but now include policy makers, business leaders and national funders coming to the table.  More people means more perspectives and a greater chance for success.

Ok, I can’t resist launching a theme for 2015.  We. Need. More. Of. Each. Other.  I will let those words guide me as the Foundation moves into 2015.  Our team will commit to bringing more diverse groups to the table, we will listen to the residents who need the services we are funding and we will find ways to make greater strides around creating regional change for the common good.  But we can’t do it alone, because we need each other more than ever to create the change we want to see in our corner of the world.

If you share my passion for themes, I would love to hear what you are striving for in 2015.  Email me at [email protected]


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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