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Southwest Florida Community Foundation Announces Regional Community Impact Grants

Twelve agencies in the five-county area receive $350,000

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation announces that 12 nonprofit agencies in the region have been awarded $350,000 in funding. These grant awards are the first of the Foundation’s newly-enhanced grants process designed to simplify the granting process for the nonprofits, and to include more potential collaborations and additional funders for projects.

The Foundation currently administers more than 350 endowed funds that were created through the generosity of local donors who planned for the future through establishing an endowed fund at the SWFLCF. Through the power of endowment, the funds are invested and a portion is granted annually by the Foundation honoring the donors’ guidelines.

With a focus on creating meaningful change and affecting issues in Southwest Florida, the SWFLCF works closely with nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders such as business, education, government, and end-users of services to efficiently and effectively fund nonprofit partners.

A few of the ways the recipient nonprofits are using the grants to strengthen our region include helping abused women with immigration services, providing assistance for unemployed women, providing therapeutic programs for special needs students and adults living with Alzheimers, facilitating music appreciation to underserved students, opening economic develop opportunities to adults with special needs, offering vision services for small children and enhancing services for animal treatment.

The agencies receiving funds include: Amigos en Cristo, Inc., Hendry County Library System, Redlands Christian Migrant Association, Naples Botanical Garden, Grace Community Center, Children’s Home Society of Florida, Lighthouse of SWFL, Gulf Coast Humane Society, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, Gulf Coast Symphony and the Quality of Life Center.

The newly revised grants process invites nonprofits in the region to submit a preview of their big idea. The Foundation received 85 submissions, and 24 were invited to pitch their idea at the first “compassionate shark tank,” attended by donors and funders in addition to the grants-review committee. The nonprofits selected were then required to provide a more detailed letter of idea and budget.

“This is the first time we have had funders who either have a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation, or their own private foundation, sitting with us to actively fund projects,” said Chief Strategic Officer Dave Fleming. “Because a few of these funders have joined us, we can more fully fund the nonprofits’ requests of us and thus be more effective by working together.”

Another important part of the funding includes the Foundation’s endeavor aimed at strengthening nonprofits across the region by providing ongoing collaboration and group meetings of the grantees, coined as “tribes” based their common mission to bring regional change for common good.

“We want to walk alongside the organizations, be a resource and connect them with other opportunities,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

Here are a few comments from grant recipients:

“The SWFLCF grant enabled the Exceptional Entrepreneur program to begin a job training program serving more than 60 special-needs individuals in our community by hiring a professional program coordinator, enhancing our Lee County School Partnership and employing three special-needs individuals. The Foundation’s continued support will enable us to increase the employability as well as raise awareness and impact self-worth of special-needs individuals in our community,” said Patti Nemazie, director of Reach and Send Ministries at Cape Coral Campus and Grace Community Center.

“Our therapeutic horticulture programs connect people with plants in a deeply profound way. Whether it is a class field trip or pre-vocational program for students with special needs, or a sensory program for adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, the Garden provides an extraordinary setting for transformative programs that improve quality of life through learning, growing and healing,” said Chad Washburn, director of conservation and education at Naples Botanical Garden.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, has more than $80 million in assets, and has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $4 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the SWFLCF, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bonita Springs Community Fund presents $20,000 in grants

bscf-prThree local nonprofit organizations in Bonita Springs will be getting some additional assistance thanks to grants from the Bonita Springs Community Fund, a fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

“This year, we held a Bonita Springs-centered call to all Bonita-centric nonprofits for grant requests and a “Compassionate Shark Tank” modeled after the popular TV show to allow local nonprofits to make grant request presentations to a panel of our Advisory Board members,” said Debi Braendle, a Bonita Springs business owner who chairs the Bonita Springs Community Fund. “This format allowed the nonprofits to really engage with our board and leaders to show the great need in our community.”

According to Braendle, following the Shark Tank, three nonprofits were ultimately awarded funds to support their causes. In partnership with the Bonita Springs Assistance Office, New Horizons’ Emergency Fund was awarded $5,000 to support helping at-risk children and teens who are growing up in an environment of poverty, academic failure and hopelessness.

The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ Youth Arts Program received $5,000 to support its work enhancing youth development to reduce juvenile delinquency and related problem behaviors through visual and performing-arts programs.

The Literacy Council Gulf Coast’s Mom & Tots Program was awarded $10,000 for technology upgrades and iPads to give mothers and their pre-school aged children the opportunity to learn basic English language skills to improve their situations.

The Bonita Springs Community Fund was established at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in 1997 to promote philanthropy and enhance the spirit and quality of life for all citizens in the greater Bonita Springs area, now and for generations to come through stewardship of permanently endowed funds. The BSCF has provided more then $1.6 million in grants and scholarships through endowed funds set up by community donors. For more information, call the Southwest Florida Community Foundation at 239-274-7736.

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leon joins Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Luis LeonLuis Leon has joined the Southwest Florida Community Foundation as controller.

Leon graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012 with a degree in finance and served as the executive team leader for Target prior to joining the Community Foundation. He is the current president of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s FGCU Alumni Chapter.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation is celebrating its 39th year of connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $4 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation forms granting partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

$250,000 in grants to support critical community programs in Southwest Florida

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation announces it has formed a granting partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

This fall, working in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will infuse $250,000 into the region through a set of grants focused on social innovation.

“Since its founding in 1990, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has been committed to supporting the Southwest Florida area,” said Christy MacLear, executive director. "Our goal is to deepen that support as well as encourage the most progressive ideas and impactful organizations within the region. We are committed to Southwest Florida, as the Rauschenberg Residency is located on Captiva Island, and we look forward to continuing to give back."

Since 2012, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has invested approximately $3.2 million into the local economies of Southwest Florida and its surrounding environs. This investment is separate from the foundation’s history of grantmaking in the region, which has enabled local nonprofits to provide a wide spectrum of services, from making arts and culture more accessible to helping survivors of domestic violence.

“The Southwest Florida region was my father’s primary residence for more than 30 years, and this collaboration with the Community Foundation helps grow our support in this place that he loved,” said Christopher Rauschenberg, board chair of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. “By opening our investment to a competitive field, we hope to foster innovation as well as launch ideas which might have otherwise been unrealizable.”

As part of the partnership, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will oversee and execute a granting process that culminates in a portfolio of projects and programs primarily serving the residents of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. This process will begin with a full-day Social Innovation Lab in which interested nonprofit organizations will have the opportunity to learn about and practice collaborative program design. The Community Foundation has designed the Lab to prepare nonprofits to be more competitive for this and other grant opportunities.

Projects and programs of particular interest are those working to address the region’s most pressing issues, from youth development and post-secondary education to climate change and environmental stewardship to economic development and equitable services and access.

“We are looking forward to working alongside the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation as it brings both a focus on innovative solutions and critical funding to our region,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “Our collaboration is a great example of funders working together to bring resources to our community, and we feel honored to work with the foundation as it continues their legacy of giving in Southwest Florida.”

Grant applications will open in late October, and a formal call to nonprofit organizations will be forthcoming. For more information, contact Jacqueline Ehlers at 239-274-5900 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation is celebrating its 39th year of connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $4 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and $450,000 in scholarship grants.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of the artist’s life, work and philosophy that art can change the world. The foundation supports initiatives at the intersection of arts and issues that embody the fearlessness, innovation and multidisciplinary approach that Robert Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. In the last year alone, the foundation has broadened its philanthropic efforts from seven legacy grantees to 95 across the U.S., loaned more than 100 Rauschenberg artworks to 20 exhibitions globally, and converted Rauschenberg’s home and studio on Captiva Island into a dynamic residency program for emerging and recognized artists.

For more information, visit www.rauschenbergfoundation.org or www.floridacommunity.com. Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southwest Florida Community Foundation welcomes new board members

 

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation welcomes Li-Su Huang Javedan, D. Hugh Kinsey Jr., Alan Mandel and Karson Turner to its Board of Trustees.

Former director of governmental affairs and policy for Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, Li-Su Huang Javedan spent more than a decade in the healthcare industry, particularly in health finance and management. She received her Master of Health Science and Bachelor of Arts in Biology at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Javedan has an extensive background in community involvement serving as past president of the Parents Association of Canterbury School, where she currently sits on the school’s Board of Trustees and has played an active role for almost 10 years. She is also the current secretary of the Parents Advisory Council at The Learning Tree Preschool, member of the Local Spirit Assembly at Baha’i Community of Fort Myers and member of the Lee County Medical Society Alliance.

Hugh Kinsey is a Fort Myers native and an attorney and partner at Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill, P.A. in Fort Myers. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida and has practiced law in his hometown for more than 20 years. Kinsey focuses his practice on real estate, estate planning, estate and trust administration, guardianship, and real estate and probate litigation. He has worked closely with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation during his career and has personally assisted clients in the funding of gifts to the Foundation. In addition, he has served in various Grants Advisory capacities and currently is a member of a Grants Advisory Board.

Alan Mandel is the CEO and president of Good Wheels, Inc., a nonprofit corporation providing transportation to the disadvantaged residents of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. Formerly serving 27 years with Jacobson Stores as its vice president of operation and group manager, Mandel was responsible for strategic and tactical planning, developing and meeting operating budgets, and managing 10 direct reports and 1,500 associates. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alfred University. A long-time volunteer, Mandel is currently completing his second term as the Town of Fort Myers Beach council member and was former mayor. His concern for and commitment to the present and future of Fort Myers Beach’s quality of life was demonstrated by his service on the Land Planning Agency, the Management and Planning Committee, and as chair of both the Ad Hoc Water Utility and Fertilizer Ordinance committees. Mandel continues to be an advocate for maintaining the quality of the Caloosahatchee River, Gulf of Mexico and bay waters, providing viable flood insurance rates for our community and state, and meeting the transportation needs of the disadvantaged as well as the community at large.

Karson Turner is the vice president at Quality Electric Contracting and currently serves as District 5 County Commissioner of Hendry County and current chair of the board. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and early-childhood studies from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. Turner is the current chair of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council has won the 2014 Legislative Award for Presidential Advocates from the Florida Association of Counties.  

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation is celebrating its 37th year of connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $57 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $4 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and $450,000 in scholarship grants.

Li-Su Huag JavedanD. Hugh Kinsey JrAlan MandelKarson Turner

For more information, visit the Community Foundation’s website at www.floridacommunity.com  or call 239-274-5900

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736 , cell: 239-565-1630This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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