Sarah Owen & Mary Silverstein

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 19, 2015) – More than 60 Women’s Legacy Fund contributors gathered at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club on May 14 to discuss causes involving local women and girls.

A fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Women’s Legacy Fund is a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop the region’s next philanthropic leaders. In just eight years of existence, the WLF has been able to provide $100,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has nearly $400,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and in the future.

Open exclusively to WLF contributors and Prima Donors, this year’s spring luncheon included facilitated discussions around the grant focus areas selected by the WLF grants committee, focusing more on the causes and specific needs. The causes included youth programs for girls, safety for women and girls, and improved access to goods and services in neighborhoods.

“We prepared for this grant cycle conversation by going to the end users, women and girls in Southwest Florida to hear directly from them the barriers they face in our community,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “This close-up research will allow the contributors to the fund to discern greatest need and then help us to inspire nonprofits to design programs to work toward creating change based on this research.”

Contributors to the WLF give a minimum of $250 each year ($100 for women under 25 years of age). The first half of contributions is pooled for the purpose of immediate annual grants, while the second half is pooled into the WLF’s endowment fund, which provides additional grants to be made both now and in years to come. Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF endowment and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving.

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 $88 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 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

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