LGBT logos

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 9, 2015) – Southwest Florida is a rich and varied community, home to people of many different faiths, national backgrounds, races, cultures and ethnicities. It’s also home to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals who work in our businesses, contribute to our civic enterprises and also care for parents, children, friends and family.

During the Tied with Pride Gala, presented by the Davis Thompson Group at Merrill Lynch and the Coconut Point Hyatt, on Friday, Oct. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, it was announced that the LGBT Community Fund of Southwest Florida has been established at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

The fund is a giving circle that engages like-minded individuals and organizations to increase philanthropic support in Southwest Florida for the unique challenges and opportunities facing our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

“This new fund seeks to help existing community organizations and institutions better serve our local LGBT youth, families and elders through focused and researched grants,” said Shawn M. Williams, chairman of the fund’s steering committee. “Understandably, we are better together than individually to build synergy within our community. The goal is to build capacity, knowledge and understanding, so we may respond capably and equally to the needs of all constituents.”

This first multi-donor fund in the Southwest Florida region will allow donors to support the LGBT community by making a gift in honor or a memorial gift in memory of someone special, become an LGBT Community Fund Participant or create a legacy fund as part of one’s estate plan to benefit the LGBT Fund in perpetuity.

There is no minimum donation, but donors with contributions of $250 or more are considered Fund Participants and will have voting privileges on grants selection. Grantmaking from the LGBT Community Fund is research-based. Through research, the Fund’s steering committee will annually identify the greatest needs in the Southwest Florida region for the Fund’s granting focus.

Founding LGBT Community Fund of Southwest Florida Steering Committee Members include Michael Covey Davis, Mary Elizabeth Fletcher, Abbe E. Forman, Arlene Goldberg, Billy Huff, Billy Manley, Ronald E. Penn, Patricia Sala, Marni Sawicki, Julie Thompson and Shawn M. Williams.

The LGBT Community Fund of Southwest Florida is a fund of The Southwest Florida Community Foundation and operates within the Foundation’s structure. The Federal ID # is: 59-6580974.

LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

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 $93 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 on how to become a participant of the LGBT Community Fund, visit