FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 29, 2015) – The Women’s Legacy Fund (WLF) of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has opened its annual call for grant applications. This year, the WLF will be awarding $20,000 to an organization that increases access to goods and services for women and/or girls in a neighborhood in Southwest Florida.

Examples of programs that increase access to goods and services include, but are not limited to, a plan to distribute reduced cost bus passes to low-income women in the neighborhood to increase their access to goods and services; a series of neighborhood health days with free or low-cost doctors/dentists to increase access to health care; or a youth carnival at a neighborhood park to increase access to recreation.

For this grant cycle, ideas that increase access to food in neighborhoods are not eligible. Additionally, organizations must involve those that they wish to serve in the design of their program idea.

Organizations wishing to apply for the grant must meet the basic eligibility requirements:

  • Nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and units of government are eligible. (501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) agencies are ineligible.)
  • Applicants must be located in and primarily serve residents of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, and Collier counties.
  • Eligible organizations must be governed by a volunteer board of directors with at least five unrelated members.
  • Organizations must conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin or religious affiliation.

Agency leaders interested in receiving a grant through the Women’s Legacy Fund must submit a LOI (Letter of Idea) between June 29 and July 31. This letter is not a full, traditional Request for Proposal (RFP) but a one-page snapshot of the program/project idea.

LOIs will be narrowed based on alignment with the Women’s Legacy Fund priorities, and the top programs/projects will be invited to the Compassionate Shark Tank on Sept. 10. Applicants will be asked to prepare a three-minute presentation for the panel. The panel will ask questions about the organization’s LOI and presentation.

Awards will be announced in October 2015.

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 more than $400,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and in the future.

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