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2012 Annual Meeting Recap

Hundreds take pledge to give at Southwest Florida Community Foundation Annual Meeting

Event coincided with National Philanthropy Day and Community Foundation

Hundreds of donors and supporters attending this year’s Southwest Florida Community Foundation annual meeting took a pledge promising to give their time, and/or a portion of their wealth to the local community. This year’s reception was held on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers and coincided with National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 15, which is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The week also coincided with Community Foundation Week Nov. 12 to 18, a week aimed at showing foundation’s critical roles in supporting thriving local communities.

“Community foundations invest in our communities to impact lives, solve problems and improve futures,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “We are overwhelmed that so many stepped up to our call and theme of ‘give differently’ and plan to make a real difference in our community.”

Modeled after many of the nation’s billionaires including Bill and Melinda Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s move in 2010 to pledge at least half of their net work to charity during their lifetimes or upon death, Owen called on attendees to make their own pledge to give something back to the Southwest Florida community.

“While many of us don’t think of ourselves as philanthropists or even wealthy, let alone billionaires, the fact is that there are ways we can all give that will help others in our community without affecting our current income or charitable commitments,” Owen said. “Taking the pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. We are inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously and often at great personal sacrifice to make the world a better place.”

During the event, local CPA Gene Solomon was presented with the 2012 John W. Sheppard Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding individual who has given selfless dedication to humanity and made significant contributions to the SWFLCF. He joined the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Board in 1982 and has served on many committees as well as vice president and president of the foundation’s board. He currently serves as a senior advisor. Past recipients include John Sheppard, David Lucas, Peter Kleist, Arnold Sarlo, Frank Bireley, Jim Nathan, Sam Galloway, Jr., Tom Smoot, David G. Robinson and Bill Frey.

The SWFLCF is celebrating its 36th year of supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties by connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $64 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $52 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. During its 2012 fiscal year, the SWFLCF granted more than $3 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts and human services.

Check out the News-Press Article, Southwest Florida Community Foundation honors 30-year volunteer, Gene Solomon earns John W. Sheppard Award for his service.

A Year in Review by Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Chair of the Board

Dawn Marie-DriscollPresented at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Annual Meeting, November 15, 2012, Harborside Event Center, Fort Myers, FL

Tonight, I would like to review some of the things the Foundation has accomplished in the past year:

  • Increased our overall assets by $8 million
  • Nine new funds totaling $4 million
  • Kept our foundation expenses $46,000 under operating budget
  • Unqualified audit report and no management comments
  • 18% return on our invested assets
  • Completed renewal for National Standards certification
  • Transitioned our back office data system to a new vendor
  • Developed a new strategic plan and process with the board
  • Launched exploration into a new business plan to build revenue
  • Expanded our assistance in new areas, especially in Hendry, Glades and Charlotte
  • Completed our important “3D Project” by which we collected data on our 3500 nonprofits in 5 counties to guide our future work
  • Changed our major competitive grant cycle to a community impact grant cycle
  • Conducted regional workshops to educate non-profits about our new grant process and Foundation mission
  • Became a hub for community convening
  • Awarded $2.5 million dollars in grants and scholarships
  • Established a coaching program to increase non-profit leadership and organizational capacity
  • Launched our first juried art exhibit to promote the arts in SW Florida and reach new donor group
  • Established a new fund for the Arts of Southwest Florida
  • Continued to grow our women’s legacy fund with new prima donors and more contributors, and collaborated with other groups
  • Developed an outsourcing plan to utilize professionals and reduce our costs
  • Developed a technical advisory business model for nonprofits or donors who want to use our services
  • Implemented a volunteer program for staff
  • Increased the foundation’s visibility in the press
  • Launched a social media plan
  • Increased board participation by use of short term task forces
  • Developed a field of interest fund model
  • Heightened the focus on customer service from all staff members
  • Changed our operational policies for increased public accessibility
  • Improved our Website, with increased use of PDFs, which reduced unnecessary printing
  • And Listened to over 450 donors and community stakeholders

Annual Meeting Photos

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