Zack Dobbins, Sarah Owen and  Yasuhiko Fukuoka

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 26, 2013) – As part of its annual celebration, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation expressed thanks to more than 400 of its supporters and friends during a series of three-night Evening of Gratitude events held Nov. 12 to 14. To emphasize the foundation’s regional reach, the events were held at different locations during subsequent nights including the Heights Center in Fort Myers, the Big Arts Herb Strauss Theater on Sanibel Island and the Hilliard Cottage in Clewiston.

With a theme based on cause and effect mirroring the 2013 annual report, which was launched on the foundation’s website last week (, the events included a cocktail reception where attendees were asked to choose which of the foundation’s five areas of philanthropy they’re most passionate about—animals, education, people (human services), the environment and the arts. Guests later learned about the positive effects they create in each of these causes during a complimentary concert featuring singer and part-time Fort Myers resident Zack Dobbins and pianist Yasuhiko Fukuoka, both of New York City, as the foundation’s gift of thanks.

“These three nights of gratitude were a way for us to reach out and express thanks to our many supporters in Southwest Florida who continue to give in so many ways to make our region stronger,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “Because of their philanthropy for their favorite causes, they are creating a ripple effect where the smallest action can lead to a thousand possibilities.”

During its 2013 fiscal year, the SWFLCF granted $4.1 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting animal welfare, education, human services, the environment and the arts.

Examples of cause and effect that donors have established during the past year include the Aubuchon family of Cape Coral starting a donor advised fund at the foundation, Scott Fischer Enterprises team’s strategic philanthropy approach to support their causes and the Hynden Family Charitable Fund created to continue the family’s lifelong mission of helping others after they’re gone.

“It is clear that one well-meaning person’s actions can create an effect that impacts the community profoundly now and in the future thanks to the horsepower and the magic of endowed funds,” said Owen. “Cause-and-effect is a concept that the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is embracing as we move into the future of philanthropy in our region. What actions can we take individually, corporately and collectively to create regional change for common good?”

Owen added that the possibilities are endless.

“What begins with a single idea, passion or fire burning inside someone can grow into a movement, initiative or vehicle for change,” she said. “For those who are considering, visioning and dreaming of how their lives could create positive change in our community, we invite you join with us in creating a beautiful story of giving.”

Founded in 1976, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation supports 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 $70 million, the SWFLCF has provided more than $56 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves.

The event was complementary and by invitation only.

For more information about the SWFLCF or to view the 2013 annual report, visit or call 239-274-5900.

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