FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 17, 2013) –Contributors of the Women’s Legacy Fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation recently voted to select mentoring high-school seniors for post-secondary opportunities and career planning as its next focus area.

A cornerstone of the WLF is contributors taking an active and engaged role in choosing their annual grant focus area each year. At the annual spring luncheon held in May, contributors 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 to funding high-school STEM initiatives.

“The role of our mentors can be as changing as the students they are working with,” said Marshall Bower, president and CEO of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. “They listen to the students’ needs while providing guidance and input, allowing the students to make well-informed decisions on who they want to be, where they want to be and how to get there.”

“We all realize there are many issues facing our region, and sometimes deciding where to put our efforts to affect change can be challenging,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “This year’s WLF focus area of mentoring high-school seniors has the potential to change the lives of many Southwest Florida students. We are doing more together than we could ever do alone.”

According Owen, through the WLF’s collective contributions and the endowed fund, they will be able to distribute nearly $20,000 in grants to local agencies that are developing innovative programs to impact mentoring for high-school seniors.

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 continue to 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.

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