Robbie Roepstorff, Stephanie Davis, Melinda Isley & Liz Abbott

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 15, 2012) –The Women’s Legacy Fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation held its 6th annual spring luncheon on Thursday, May 9 at Fiddlesticks Country Club for more than 125 contributors to the fund and women who are interested in making a difference in their community.

A cornerstone of the WLF is contributors taking an active and engaged role in choosing their annual grant focus area each year. At the spring luncheon, contributors also voted for the next focus area from the issues of mentoring high school seniors for post-secondary opportunities and career planning, funding a regional online scholarship and financial aid hub and funding high school STEM initiatives.

Local philanthropist Betty Bireley was announced as the foundation’s newest Prima Donor.

Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving. Prima Donors meet twice a year for educational dinners with good food and great conversation about issues that affect Southwest Florida.

The newest WLF Angel was also announced during the event. Robbie Roepstorff, Liz Abbott and Melinda Isley honored Nicki Davis, mother of local freelance writer and Florida Weekly columnist Stephanie Davis, posthumously.

The Angel honorary designation is for mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandchildren, friends, loved ones and community leaders, either living or deceased, who have had a special impact on the lives of those around them. WLF members can make the special women in their lives a WLF Angel with a minimum contribution of $1,000 in their name.

Before moving from Fort Myers Beach to Tipp City, Ohio, Nicki Davis had a long career in banking on Fort Myers Beach, where she also owned the gift shop, The Crazy Lady.

“I had the pleasure of working with Nicki and seeing her through the eyes of her co-workers,” said Roepstorff who worked with Davis in the 1980s at First Independence Bank. “Nicki always had a sense of humor and was known for her spunk, and if you only spoke with Nicki on the phone, you would think she were 10 feet tall; yet, she was all of 4’10”. Nicki was just the type of person who would do anything you asked her to do, and if you were her friend or co-worker, you wouldn’t even have to ask her to do it…it would already be done.”

In just five years of existence, the WLF has been able to provide $75,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has more than $225,000 in endowed funds that will help fund local issues now and in the future.

The Women’s Legacy Fund is a fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, created to enable women in Southwest Florida to direct their giving in focused, strategic ways. The Fund’s mission is to engage women in affecting change in our community through collective philanthropy.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation 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 $69 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $55 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.

The event was open to the public.

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

Sarah Owen & Jacqueline Ehlers

Ruth Condit, Elly Hagen & Betty Bireley

Stacey Cannington, Phyllis Ershowsky & Kate Walter

Lizbeth Benacquisto, Stefanie Ink, Judy Williams & Gail Markham

Lynn Shink with Ellen & John Sheppard

Liz Kinsey & Ann Smoot

Madeleine Taeni & Tracey Galloway