2013 Senior Advisory Trustees are those who have completed their terms of service as active Trustees and who now hold advisory roles to the Community Foundation board. Senior Advisory Trustees are very valuable to the Community Foundation because they represent an active history of service with us, several of whom have been with us since our very beginnings.
MARIE MALLORY ACKORDMarie Ackord was born in Georgia, and her family moved to Daytona Beach, Florida when she was 4 years old. She graduated from Campbell Street High School as Valedictorian of her class and went on to Bethune-Cookman University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. While at Bethune-Cookman, Marie was named to Who’s Who Among Students at American Universities and Colleges. She then received a Masters of Science degree in Administration and Supervision from Nova Southeastern University. Her career as a mathematics educator and district specialist extended over a period of 43 years (4 years in Collier County, 39 years in Lee County) until retirement from the school district in June 2003 and joined the SWFLCF Board in July 2009. Marie is a widow with one adult daughter, Monique Patrice Campbell.
As a charter member and charter president of the Fort Myers Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Marie is presently serving as 1st Vice President. Since the chartering, she has served as president for five-1 year terms and two-4 year terms as well as secretary, treasurer and chairperson of several committees. Marie was instrumental in starting the chapter’s Delta Life Development Center which focused on assisting students in preparation for entering college. Presently, she serves as Secretary of the DLDC Board of Directors. Previously, she served on the Regional Leadership Team and was elected and appointed to national committees. Presently, she is the Primary Advisor of the Tau Sigma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Committee and organizations both civic and professional Marie has served on are:
Lee County Schools District Advisory Council, Fort Myers Middle Academy School Advisory Committee, Florida State Board of Clinical Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors Probable Cause Chairperson, North Fort Myers High School-School Advisory Committee, Member of State Board of Clinical Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Visitation Committee, Commissioner-Cape Coral Library Advisory Committee, Member-Lee County Arts in Public Places Board, Commissioner-Fort Myers Human Relations Commission, Life Member-National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, SWFLCF Founders Society, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Fraternity, St John First Missionary Baptist Church Board of Directors, Willing Workers Ministry, and Bethune-Cookman University Wildcat Boosters Club.
Marie has been the recipient of many awards:
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Service to Education Award; The Florida Deltas Epitome of Fortitude Award; Who’s Who Among American Teachers; Lee County Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction; Finalist-Lee County Golden Apple Award; Ida S. Baker Distinguished Educator Award (2nd & 3rd Place); Florida Department of Health-Exemplary Service Award; American Legion Post 192-Community Service Award; Certificate of Appreciation from Governor Bob Graham for Distinguished Service to the State of Florida; Who’s Who Among Black Americans; Mary McLeod Bethune Award of Contributions to Education in Lee County; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.-Lee County Minority Woman of the Year.
AUDREA ANDERSONAudrea Anderson, Associate Vice President for Community Relations and Marketing at Florida Gulf Coast University, has served on the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 1997.
In 1993, Audrea was appointed to the State University System Board of Regents by then Gov. Lawton Chiles. She served on the Board throughout the groundbreaking, the building, the opening and the accreditation of Florida Gulf Coast University. She chaired the Board of Regents committee to select the second president of Florida Gulf Coast University. Her term on the Board of Regents ended in 1999.
With a bachelor’s degree in English from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina and a master’s degree from Miami University in Ohio, Audrea has spent her professional career promoting higher education as an instructor and as an administrator.
In addition to her service with the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Audrea is a board member of the Dunbar Improvement Association, a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and attends Trinity United Methodist church where she chairs the Pastor Parish Relations Committee and is a member of the statewide Episcopacy Committee.
She and her late husband, Circuit Judge Isaac Anderson, Jr., have two grown sons.
REP. GARY AUBUCHONServing on the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Board of Trustees since July, 2004, Gary Aubuchon brings much experience and community knowledge of the Cape Coral area to the Foundation.
His career began in real estate in 1984; and by 1992, Gary had entered into the building industry with his brother forming Aubuchon Homes, Inc. His reputation as an industry leader in customer satisfaction and design innovation has earned his company many awards, among them the Small Business of the Year in Cape Coral and Builder of the Year three times. As President of the Aubuchon Team of Companies, Gary oversees three other companies created for all aspects of home building.
Gary has participated in numerous organizations and serves on various committees, some of which are:
- 2003-2004 Chairman of the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency
- Board Director – Community Bank of Cape Coral
- Lee Building Industry Association Board of Director
- Cape Coral Construction Industry Association Past President & Board of Director
- Horizon Council Board of Directors for CCCIA
- Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral Past Chairman & Board Director
- Board of Directors of the Cape Coral Council for Progress
- Cape Coral Association of Realtors
- 1996 graduate of Leadership Cape Coral
- Lee County Republican Executive Committee, Board of Directors
- Lee Memorial Health Systems Foundation
- Community Foundation of Cape Coral
- American Red Cross of Lee County
- Ronald McDonald House
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Builders Care of Lee County
- Kids With Cancer, Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital
Gary was elected to the House of Representatives District 74 in 2006 and serves as the Chair of the Committee on Roads, Bridges & Ports Policy Committee.
Gary has a Black Belt in Hayashi-Ha Karate and resides with his wife, Andrea, and daughters Julia, Jennifer and Madison.
Jay Brett was admitted to the Florida and Federal Bar Associations in 1973 with a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida and has been in private practice with Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill PA since 1973, where he is currently the senior attorney. When Jay was elected to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation board of trustees in 1999, his experience in the fields of probate trust law, real estate law, and commercial litigation became an immediate asset. In 2007, Jay chaired the Foundation's Strategic Planning Committee, and from July 2009 to June 2011, Jay served a 2 year term as the Foundation's Board Chair.Jay’s professional activities include serving on and chairing the 20th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee; serving on and chairing the 20th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission; and serving as Hearing Officer for the Lee County School Board. Jay has also spoken publicly on estate planning and real estate law for various financial institutions in Lee County.
Jay has been involved with his community by serving as a Director on the Lee County YMCA and on the advisory board of the First Union National Bank. He is also a Founding Director of Florida Gulf Bank.
Being the father of three children, Katie, Brian, and Alli, has afforded him the opportunity to coach youth and YMCA Basketball as well as being a director of Classic Basketball, Inc., the operator of the nationally known "City of Palms Classic."
ROBERT DA FROTABob is native of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. He first came to the United States in 1969 to further his education at The Pennsylvania State University, where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration and obtained his MBA.
In 1981, Bob moved to Fort Myers, Florida, where he worked in accounting for a local corporation until he opened his own consulting firm, Management Accounting, and became involved with insurance and investments as a registered representative with major brokerage companies and a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers. Presently, Bob is President and Owner of RDF Financial Services, which he established in 1995 as an independent, full-service, financial consulting organization.
As he served individuals and the business community in Southwest Florida and worked with a wide range of clients, Bob became active in various civic, community and professional organizations and applied for American citizenship in 1991.
Along with serving on the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Board of Trustees since 1999, he has shown leadership and community service as President of the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President of the Institute of Management Accountants, News-Press Editorial Board, Business Leader Advisory Group to County Commissioners, Voting member to the Horizon Council Lee County, Leadership Lee County, and Cub Master for the Boy Scouts of America.
M. WILLIAM FREY, Ph.DBill Frey has been a resident of Sanibel since 1973, and his history reflects strong civic accomplishments in past and present, all of which have been an asset to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Bill has been on the Board of Trustees since 1996 and is a past Chair and now a Senior Advisor. He played a significant role in the formation of its division, the Good Neighbor Community Foundation of Sanibel-Captiva of which he did serve as a member
Initially, Bill graduated from Penn State and the University of Connecticut with his Bachelor of Science and Masters, respectively, and then went on to Pennsylvania State University for his Ph.D. in business and economics. He taught graduate economics at Penn State and the University of Massachusetts and became interested in home building when assisting a former student. A career change and a move to Sanibel to found Sanibel Homes, which eventually became known as America’s First Home, was the first of many building and development ventures he has undertaken.
He has been a very active voice in his community’s growth as a member of the Below Market Rate Housing Committee on Sanibel, the city’s Code Enforcement Committee, and he served as president of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, and the Advisory Board of Northern Trust of Lee County.
The Sanibel Community Church, where he attends, has an important role in Bill’s schedule; and he has also served as Chairman of the Board of the Island Theater Wing (Pirate’s Playhouse) and was on the founding board of the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Center Bookstore and on the Board of the Sanibel Shell Museum.
Spending time with his wife, Lorraine, three successful sons: Eric Frey, Ph.D., Roger Frey, M.D., and Barry Frey, President of America’s First Home, is a priority for Bill.
CHRIS A. GAIRBeing one of the most respected trust professionals in Southwest Florida for over thirty years and having a broad network of professional relationships within the community, allowed Chris Gair the skills needed to serve as Chair of the Board of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation from 2005-2007. He has also served the Foundation since 1992 in many other positions.
With a BSA in economics from Ohio University, Chris served in the U.S. military for two years and began his trust career at Cape Coral Bank and Trust Company, which later became SunTrust Bank. He remained with SunTrust for thirty-one years, during which time he graduated from the ABA National Graduate Trust School CTFA and the Florida Trust School. Presently, Chris is Executive Vice President and Senior Trust Officer with the Investors’ Security Trust Company.
Over the years, Chris has been actively involved as a lay person representative of the National Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. During the mid 1980’s, he spearheaded the effort to establish public television in Southwest Florida through legislation and numerous fundraising events and has actively participated by appearing and hosting a PR series on Florida estate planning aired locally.
Chris resides in Fort Myers with his wife, Barbara; they are the parents of son, Derek.
SAM GALLOWAY, JRSam Galloway, Jr., his various car dealerships and his good reputation are well known in the Lee County area and across the state. As President of the Galloway Family of Dealerships, he heads one of the oldest and most respected organizations in this area, which was started by his father in 1927. Sam has been honored for his work by being nominated to the Ford Motor Company’s Salute to Dealers Program.
His affiliation with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation began in 1992 as a Trustee, where he served as Vice President and President of the Board and now is a Senior Advisor.
As a Fort Myers native and graduate of Fort Myers High School, Sam Galloway puts back into his community by working for numerous charitable causes and with many civic organizations. He is particularly interested in those that promote harmony and goodwill within the community, businesses and the government.
Besides the Foundation, other non-profits that have benefited from his know-how and skills are:
- President of Edison-Ford Winter Estates Foundation
- Past President Edison Festival of Light
- Community Cooperative Ministries – The Soup Kitchen
- Salvation Army Board
- American Cancer Society
- Lee County Sheriff’s Office “Walkie-Talkie” Walk
- Holiday Sing-a-Long
Sam Galloway received Southwest Florida’s First Altruist of the Year Award in 2000 given by Lee Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers for service to his community.
FRANCIS L. HOWINGTON, M.D.Lee Howington became involved with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in 1984 as a Trustee; and since that time, has seen the Foundation grow and develop from less than $3 million to the present $50 million. Being the only physician on the Board, has brought a different point of view, input and ideas to the various committees he has volunteered on. Most recently, he has been a part of the Scholarship Committee and has assisted in interviewing prospective candidates.
A Florida native from Daytona Beach, Lee was in the military for three years before receiving his graduate and postgraduate education at the University of Florida. He went on to go into private practice specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in the Fort Myers area until he retired in 2000.
Presently, Lee works as a part-time Veterans Administration Physician and is actively involved with community charitable organizations.
Lee and his wife, Connie, enjoy traveling to visit children, grandchildren and long-time friends and family.
CHARLES K. IDELSONWhen Charles joined the Board of Trustees of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in 2003, he brought with him a wealth of banking and financial knowledge from his thirty-five years in the industry. Presently, he is also a member of the Finance Committee, which he has chaired in past years, and is Chair of the Audit Committee.
Charles is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BA in Finance and Accounting and has his banking certificate from LSU Graduate School of Banking. Among his community accomplishments, are the Golden Rule Finalist given by the J.C. Penney Volunteer Annual Awards; the Distinguished Leadership Award from Leadership Lee County, 1998 Man of the Year Award from Gulfshore Life Magazine; and in 2001, the Clara Barton Humanitarian Award presented by the American Red Cross.
Before joining Investors’ Security Trust as President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles was with the SunTrust Bank serving as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer overseeing $1.5 billion in assets and 450 employees. While banking is his main occupation, he has found time to be involved with his community in some of the following positions:
- Chairman, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County, Inc.
- Chairman, Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation
- Chairman, American Heart Walk 2002, Co-Chair of 2001 Heart Walk
- Director, American Heart Association
- Director Edison/Ford Winter Estates Foundation
- Director, and Past Chair, Public School Foundation for Lee County
- Director, Hope Hospice
- Director, YMCA
- Director, Boy Scouts of America
- Director, Kleist Health Education Foundation
- Past Chair, United Way of Lee County, Inc.
- Past Chair, Southwest Florida Chamber of Commerce
- And with many more organizations
DONNA KAYEDonna has been a resident of Fort Myers, Florida, since 1970, and became a member of the Southwest Florida Board of Trustees in 1999. She has served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Board, Vice Chair and as Chair of the Board. In addition, she enthusiastically serves as the Chair of the Grantmaking and Community Leadership Committee.
Active in civic affairs, Donna has been Treasurer of the Nature Center, President of Capital Investors, and a board member of the Edison Community College Foundation, and the Imaginarium. Presently, she is the Treasurer of the Fort Myers Community Concert Association.
For years, Donna and her husband, Bob, were owners and operators of a commercial printing company in Fort Myers, where they printed color brochures, magazines, newsletters, and annual reports for large businesses. The Kayes also owned and published HOMES Magazine, the first real estate magazine of its kind in Lee County.
DAVID LUCASDavid Lucas has been associated with Bonita Bay Group since 1984 and is presently the Chairman of the Board. A commitment to the principles of business integrity, community responsibility, environmental stewardship and exceptional customer service are hallmarks he lives by. These principles are steadfastly applied to every commercial project and master-planned community Bonita Bay is involved in developing. He brings these same principles and leadership qualities to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, where he has served as trustee since 1992. During this time, he has given his support to the Finance and Audit Committees and also served as a Board member of the Bonita Springs Community Foundation division from 1997 to 2001.
Mr. Lucas is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management and minors in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science. He received his MBA from Harvard in 1971 with a marketing concentration and now has more than 32 years of management, marketing and financial experience. Before joining The Bonita Bay Group, he served as president of Margo’s, a chain of 84 women’s specialty stores.
David Lucas’ reputation as a philanthropic leader and supporter of many worthy community organizations is well known in southwest Florida. With his leadership, The Bonita Bay Group established a school grant program providing over $350,000 to fund school-based programs and also developed a successful yearly fundraising event for Florida Gulf Coast University. Other areas of community service that Mr. Lucas has been involved with are:
- United Way of Lee County Board of Directors since 1990.
- Established the local Alexis de Tocqueville Society for major donors to the United Way. Contributions to date are in excess of $9 million.
- The Reformed Theological Seminary Board of Directors and Executive Committee
- Canterbury School Board of Trustees, past Treasurer, President and Chairman. Member of Finance Committee
- Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees and Chairman of Finance Committee
- Elder and Treasurer of Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Public School Foundation Board member
- Health Education Center Board of Directors
- General Nutrition Corporation Board of Directors and Executive Committee
- FineMark National Bank and Trust Company Chairman of the Board
David and his wife, Linda, are the parents of three children: Brian, Kevin, and Megan.
JACQUELINE "JACKE" McCURDYJacke McCurdy is a retired Vice President of Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc. During her tenure at Seagram, she oversaw all state government activities within the 50 states, working closely with state legislatures, administrators, and industry colleagues at the international, national, state, and local levels. Jacke held many leadership positions with various industry associations during her time with Seagram.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland and a graduate of Hood College, Jacke also graduated from the University of Maryland Law School with a law degree. She was the first woman admitted to the Baltimore County Bar Association, first woman Assistant State Attorney for Baltimore County, and a delegate to the Maryland legislature. She was also the first woman to hold the position of Vice President with Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Chairman of the Distilled Spirits Council, and the National Association of Beverage Importers.
Since retiring in 1994, Jacke has served on the board of directors of the Committee of 200 (an international association of preeminent female business owners and corporate executives) and served as chair of its foundation; was the founding director and former charter board member of the Bonita Springs Speakers Assembly; was a Director and Chairman of the Board of the Guadalupe Center; has been on the board of United Way of Bonita Bay and the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce; served as Chairman of the Charter Review Committee of Bonita Springs City Government; served on the SCORE Foundation board and was a former board member of SCORE; was on the SunTrust Bank-Southwest Florida board of directors and the Philharmonic Center of the Arts board of directors.
Jacke was a founding member and chair (1996-2003) of the Bonita Springs Community Fund and was honored as 2004 Citizen of the Year by the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce. She is an active participant and supporter of the Art League of Bonita Springs and the Sugden Theater.
MELVIN MORGANThough she has retired as an educator in the Lee County School District, Melvin continues to give of her time and talents to help others and spends time involved with her church, Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, and as a Trustee on the Board of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Melvin joined the Board in 1992 and has held positions as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Chair while serving on various committees. As a teacher, she has been most involved with the Scholarship Committee in awarding scholarships to deserving students.
Mrs. Morgan is a Fort Myers, Florida, native attending Dunbar High School where she was Class President and Class Salutatorian. Then, she graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude from Allen University with her BS degree and went on to get her Masters degree in education from Florida A & M again graduating as an honor student and Kappa Delta Pi. Her teaching career began in South Carolina and then Oklahoma as a physical education teacher until she moved back to Lee County where she later became a school teacher/social worker in that district.
She has been a strong presence in the community and served as the first and only black Lee County Commissioner. Many others organizations have been associated with her over the years, including the Opti-Mars of the Florida District as their President, as a Board member of the Edison Ford Estates Foundation, Juvenile Justice Board, Children’s Services Council, Executive Board of the Southwest Florida Council of Boy Scouts, Southwest Florida Symphony, United Way of Lee County, Drug Free Lee County, Private Industry Council, Florida Committee on Aging, and numerous others. Numerous prestigious awards have been presented to Melvin, some of the more notable are:
- Kappa Alpha Psi Humanitarian Service Award and Community Service Award
- Ida S. Baker Minority Educator of the Year
- American Legion Community Service Award
- School Social Worker of the Year
- Private Industry Council Award
- Zonta Club Woman of Achievement Award
- Lee County Woman of the Year—Fort Myers Junior Woman’s Club
Melvin and her husband Frederick are the proud parents of two children: Frederick II and Felicia.
WILLIAM T. PRATHERWill Prather is the Executive Producer and Owner of the largest chain of dinner theaters in the United States. The Prather Family Theaters include the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers, Florida; The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and the Broadway Palm West Theatre in Mesa, Arizona. A native of Pennsylvania, Will attended the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and was active in Hotel Ezra Cornell, a student-operated hotel, and Alpha Delta Phi and graduated in 1991. After graduation, he spent a year working as a restaurant manager for the Harvey Hotel Company in Dallas, Texas, and then returned to the Dutch Apple Theatre as Food and Beverage Director and eventually took over running the company from his parents. In 1993, Will opened the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers, which remains the corporate headquarters for his operation.
Will lists family, business and volunteering as the important parts of his life. Joining the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Board in 1998, Will also believes in giving back to the community. The dinner theater is often the site for numerous non-profit organizations to hold functions, among them the Scholarship Awards Banquet for the Community Foundation.
Though he is often traveling between theaters, Will still remains community conscious and has been involved in the Lee County Alliance of the Arts as past President, the Board of Directors for the Leukemia Society, the YMCA of Fort Myers, the Lee County AIDS Task Force, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Board of Candlelighters of Southwest Florida, and on the Executive Committee of the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Foundation. Other organizations he has served on are the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the selection committee for the Golden Apple Teacher, the Tourist Development Council, the Children’s Hospital Development Board, and he is an active Rotarian. Will has been the recipient of the Clara Barton Humanitarian Award presented by the Red Cross of Lee County, and The City of Fort Myers presented the theater with the prestigious Horizon Award in 2000 for its role in economic development.
Will has a strong commitment to community involvement in Southwest Florida and makes his home here along with his wife, Andrea, and son.
DAVID G. ROBINSON, Ph.D.As one of the earliest members of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in 1977, David has served on many committees and as Vice President and President of the Board as well. Presently, he has taken the position of Senior Advisor to the Board.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, David’s education began at Wilson Junior College and then onto Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, for his Bachelor of Science degree. He attended Indiana University for his Master’s Degree and received his Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education from Florida State University in Tallahassee.
With his experience in education, Dr. Robinson has worked in various positions beginning as a residence counselor at Indiana University and on the staff as Dean of Men at Florida State University then as Director of the evening division at Manatee Junior College. During these years, he was proud to be honored as the first recipient of the Kellogg Fellowship in Junior College Administration. When David and his family moved to Fort Myers, he was associated with Edison Junior College as Academic Dean and then was appointed President of Edison Community College at which he served for 26 years.
As a well known member of the community and academia, service to others has been an integral part of his career. He has served as President of the Boy Scout Council of Southwest Florida and has been active in his church and also chaired the Voluntary Leadership Development Program which is the sponsor of the Executive Leadership Program.
Other positions David was associated with are as Chairman of the Miami Branch of the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta and President of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities. During the years, he has spoken and written in the fields of development, ethics, and boardmanship.
David and his wife, Suzanne, are parents to three sons and three daughters.
JOHN W. SHEPPARD - Founding FatherJohn Sheppard was instrumental in founding the Southwest Florida Community Foundation along with a small group of civic leaders in 1976 and has been a trustee for almost 31 years, serving in the position of President twice and on many committees. Presently, he sits on the Executive Committee and lends his knowledge to many others. Along with being deeply involved with the Foundation at one time giving pro-bono counsel on everything from legal and financial issues to leadership and charitable intent, he is well-known in the community as a humanitarian who devotes his life to helping others.
John’s family roots in Florida go all the way back three generations to the 1880's. Born in Lee County, Florida, he attended Fort Myers High School and went on to the University of Florida in Gainesville to earn his bachelors and law degrees. After graduation, John served in the U.S. Army for two years and then joined his father and uncle in their downtown Fort Myers law firm where he became one of Southwest Florida’s foremost estate planning attorneys by completing Board Certification and Examination with First Class and becoming Board Certified by the Florida Bar Association in Estate Planning and Probate.
Over the years, while in private practice, his professional career saw him involved as President of the Lee County Bar Association and as Chairman of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, Chairman of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee and a member of the Second District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commissions as well as designated “A-V” (highest rating) by International Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, 1965-1992. Volunteering extensively for many, many years, John has been involved in these different roles and in receiving numerous awards:
- President, American Cancer Society
- President, Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
- Elder and Chairman, Ministerial Relations Committee, First Presbyterian Church
- Elder at the Covenant Presbyterian Church
- Elder at the Pilgrims Church
- American Red Cross of Lee County Humanitarian Award (2000)
- Samaritan Lifeline Program at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
- Blood donor giving over 30 gallons since 1951
J. TOM SMOOT, JR. - Founding FatherAs early as 1969, J. Tom Smoot together with representatives of the three local banks with trust departments began the task of creating a community foundation for the Southwest Florida area. Because the I.R.S. regulations affecting community foundations had not been promulgated, the Foundation would not come into formal existence until 1976.
Born in Fort Myers, where he attended school and graduated from Fort Myers Senior High, Tom attended the University of Florida where he obtained his BSBA followed by a law degree. He returned to Fort Myers to begin his career in law.
Though practicing law full-time for 46 years, Tom served as one of the Foundation’s early Chairman; and he has been a director until 2008 when he moved to Senior Advisory status. Elsewhere in the Fort Myers area he has served in various capacities:
- Chamber of Commerce – Director and past president.
- Salvation Army Advisory Board member - past chairman and now life member.
- Edison Ford Winter Estates – board member and past chairman.
- Lee County Bar Association – past president.
- First United Methodist Church –
- Charles Edison Fund – Trustee
GENE SOLOMONGene Solomon has spent 35 years as a practicing C.P.A. with work in the areas of income, gift and estate tax along with working with clients preparing financial statements and related services. His expertise has led the Lee County Circuit Court to use him as an expert witness on cases involved in various types of litigation such as personal injury, job costing on construction of homes, and testifying as to Federal estate tax consequences of charitable bequests.
With a B.S. degree in Major Accountancy, Economics, from Stetson University in Deland, Florida, Gene went to Northwestern School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, for his J.D. Degree and began work in the tax department of Arthur Anderson and Company in Tampa, Florida. Later, upon moving to the Fort Myers area, Gene spent twelve years employed as a tax partner at Coopers and Lybrand and then formed his own company at which he still presides.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation welcomed Gene and his financial knowledge when he joined the Board in 1982. Serving as Vice President and President of the Board and on many committees, his leadership has been invaluable. Gene now serves as a Senior Advisor.
Other organizations and Board positions where Gene has volunteered are: Edison Community College Foundation, Inc., American Institute of CPA’s, Florida Institute of CPA’s, Florida Bar Association, and Southwest Florida Estate Planning.