FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2014) – Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, will serve as a panelist at the City Leaders Forum, to be held in Tampa on Oct. 15.

Owen’s panel discussions is called “The Power of Collaboration: Local College Access Networks” and includes Councilman Mike Suarez, City of Tampa as moderator and other panelists including Caroline Altman Smith, senior program officer, The Kresge Foundation, Jeanna Keller Berdel, senior strategy officer, Lumina Foundation, and Stacy Carlson, Ph.D., vice president and program director, Florida Transition Years, Helios Education Foundation.

The Florida City Leaders Forum on College Access and Success includes local, state and national leaders discussing successful strategies and initiatives to partner effectively with leaders in education, business, nonprofits, philanthropy and other government agencies to increase opportunities for post-secondary education, particularly for low-income constituents, and to strengthen local workforces. By collaborating across sectors to boost college and career readiness, access and completion, city leaders can help boost economic development and with it, the quality of life and well-being of the communities they serve.

“We believe that effective partnerships and cross sector collaborations are key to boosting the quality of life in Southwest Florida,” said Owen. “I am so pleased to be part of a panel at the Summit that highlights successful collaborations between education, business, nonprofits and government agencies both in our region and nationwide. Our region’s work around college and career readiness, through our FutureMakers initiative, would not be possible without dynamic partnerships across all sectors. Working together through collective impact is what creates success for our region, and I look forward to having this conversation with city leaders from across the state.”

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 SWFLCF, call 239-274-5900 or visit