FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 22, 2015) – The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Southwest Florida Community Foundation announced today that six local nonprofits will receive support through their new granting partnership. The two foundations have collaborated to create a vibrant grant program that will enable and support critical social innovation in the region of
 Southwest Florida.

Awards include $46,350 to the Laboratory Theater of Florida for its Give Youth the Stage program, $48,800 to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation for its Combining Arts and Sciences to Improve Water Quality in Southwest Florida, $46,325 to Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. for its Community-Based Bicycle and Walking Audit program, $32,000 to the Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, Inc. to enhance its ARTREACH program, and $26,500 to Jewish Family Community Services for its Music Makes Memories program. The Alliance for the Arts was also awarded a $50,000 challenge grant for its Campus Enrichment Plan.

“The Rauschenberg Foundation grant allows Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to broaden its reach for informing people about the critical nature of water quality in the Caloosahatchee, the estuary and around the islands,” said Kristie Anders, education director of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. “By using a multi-modal approach integrating the arts and science, we will attract an audience that may not currently be reached by SCCF’s standard communications. Using music, community art and brief talks in a more festive atmosphere and in a variety of venues, we hope to increase people’s desire to engage in conversation with one another and decision makers regarding one thing that brought many of us to Southwest Florida: the water, and at the interface of land and sea, the beaches.”

Projects and programs of particular interest were those led by nonprofits that are collaborating to address the region’s pressing issues, from youth development to climate change and environmental stewardship to equitable access to public services. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation facilitated the granting process, which culminated in a portfolio of projects submitted to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation for its consideration.

“Since its founding in 1990, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has been committed to supporting the Southwest Florida area,” said Christy MacLear, executive director of the Rauschenberg Foundation. “Our goal was to deepen that support as well as encourage the most progressive ideas and high-impact organizations within the region.”

Since 2012, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has invested approximately $3.5 million into the local economies of Southwest Florida and its surrounding environs. The collaboration with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation was introduced to make the grants competitive and cross a wide range of services of need to the local population.

“This collaboration is a great example of funders working together to bring resources to our community, and we feel honored to work with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation as it continues its legacy of giving in Southwest Florida,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “We are looking forward to continuing to work alongside the foundation as it brings both a focus on innovative solutions and critical funding to our region.”

Nonprofit organizations interested in applying for support through this new grant program were first required to participate in a daylong workshop open to anyone wanting to learn more about collaborative program design called iLAB. The event was developed to prepare nonprofits to be more competitive for this and other grant opportunities, and to expose regional leaders to great ideas and best practices. Participants learned how to design a collaborative project with peer institutions as well as how this collaborative approach can lead to both additional funding and community change.

“Kids have powerful things to say about human trafficking and with targeted art instruction, students will have more tools and skills to get their messages across,” said Nola Theiss, executive director of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, Inc. “The Rauschenberg grant will strengthen the ARTREACH program, increasing the impact of the young artists’ work. We look forward to putting the talent and insight of many local artists and instructors to work toward the empowerment of the young people we serve.”

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, it 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.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of the artist’s life, work and philosophy that art can change the world. The foundation supports initiatives at the intersection of arts and issues that embody the fearlessness, innovation and multidisciplinary approach that Robert Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. Since 2012, the foundation has broadened its philanthropic efforts including making grants to 170 organizations across the U.S., loaning more than 100 Rauschenberg artworks to 26 exhibitions globally and converting Rauschenberg’s home and studio on Captiva Island into a dynamic residency program for emerging and established artists.

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