John King, Sarah Owen and Kathryne King

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2014) – The Southwest Florida Community Foundation recently established a new fund for donors to support mental illness in our community.

Donors Kappy and John King established the $1.1 million John S. and Kathryne A. King Fund for Mental Illness with the Foundation.

Mental illness is a cause that’s near and dear to the Fort Myers Beach couple. Through their family fund, they’re committed to erasing the stigma associated with mental illness and helping Southwest Florida improve its services. The state currently ranks 49th nationally in mental health spending per capita.

“We hope by giving through the Community Foundation, it will raise awareness for the need for more money for mental illness,” said Mrs. King. “There are thousands of people out there who need help. It’s so difficult to raise money to support mental illness as opposed to mental health. We hope our fund will lead to additional contributions.”

The Kings worked with the Foundation to customize their fund, creating a family legacy that will ensure continued support of Hope Clubhouse, a Fort Myers agency offering work, education, friendship and access to housing for those with mental illness.

“It’s a wonderful organization, as it gives people a sense of life and purpose,” said Mrs. King. “We know if anything should happen to the Clubhouse, the money will continue to help people living with mental illness. It will carry on after we’re gone.”

The Kings participated in the creative exchange of ideas during the Foundation-hosted iLab with local nonprofits. By participating in the iLab, the Kings and other donors had the opportunity to see the work the Community Foundation is doing to partner with nonprofits.

“We got to watch and ask questions and share our insights,” recalled Mrs. King. “We knew about the Community Foundation and have watched them grow during the past few years. We love what they’re doing – carrying it further and seeking solutions.”

The Foundation has also introduced new programs to empower donors with ownership on the issues they care deeply about. Donors with donor-advised funds can choose their investment strategy, from conservative to more aggressive, and they can continue to work with their investment advisors through the Foundation.

“We’ve made it even more convenient for donors to become vested in their giving, launching a Donor View portal on our new website that provides 24/7 internet access to their funds,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “Here, they can track the history of their giving, create reports and receipts, and conveniently make grants.”

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, founded in 1976, connects 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 $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit