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You’re Invited! On the Table to be held October 17

You’re Invited! On the Table to be held October 17

by the team of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Nearly 8 years ago, Sarah Owen initiated her own personal listening tour when she took the helm of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation as its president and CEO. She spent her first year getting out into the community to learn more, to listen to what members of our region had to say about their community – its glory and its opportunities. And she’s still listening.

What Sarah heard has helped to guide our work in creating impactful programs, capturing data, building capacity, investing in infrastructure and so much more that we as a  team work together to execute every day.

This year that listening has been amplified. On October 17, our team, trustees, friends, supporters and numerous community partners will host conversations as part of On the Table Southwest Florida, and you are invited!

A big undertaking for the Foundation, Sarah engaged all of us on the Foundation team to play a lead role in coordinating On the Table. Last year we divided into 5 cross-operational teams consisting of those of us from different foundation departments, then each team chose a county as our focus. We even color coordinated with the dots in our logo which represent each of the counties we serve: Lee, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, Collier.

We then set out to find partners in each corner of the Southwest Florida map because we knew that those who lived and worked locally had the best beat on their communities and could be most effective in helping On the Table reach a broad and diverse group of people to host these conversations.

We hope for a minimum of 250 On the Table conversations this year on one day throughout the region. We are well on our way and we want EVERYONE to be involved. It’s easy to be a host! There are only two simple rules, you lead a conversation and facilitate breaking bread together.

“Breaking bread” is an expression that means more than just eating together; it is about sharing a sense of brother/sisterhood with someone or some group of people. It fosters meaningful connection and cooperation.

It doesn’t have to be a meal, it could be coffee, muffins, a potluck, pizza, a community or civic organization meeting…. conversations can last an hour, or longer depending on the host organizer. On the Table is casual, it can be as simple or as involved as you wish.

As our Sarah often says to us, “talking doesn’t cook the rice.” So we built a feedback tool into the design of On the Table — a simple survey to capture the essence of the conversations, ideas and energy shared by thousands of Southwest Floridians at tables on October 17.

Working together with students at FGCU, the surveys will be calculated and analyzed, then presented in a report for the entire community to access. It is our greatest hope that the results will inform Southwest Florida community leaders, elected officials, foundations, donors, employers, educators, and all who are making decisions that affect the future of this special place we all call home.

On the Table was started 5 years ago by the Chicago Trust and has since been adopted by over 30 more communities nationwide. We hope you will be part and become a host, or an attendee.

Everything you need is available to you. For more information, please visit , reach out to any of us at the Foundation, or email us at [email protected] We are taking the next month to prepare the hosts for the big day, October 17.  Will we see you at the table?


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



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!