More than $5 million granted to community


FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2017) –The Southwest Florida Community Foundation released its 2016-2017 Annual Report online at


Since its inception 41 years ago, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $71 million in direct support to the community.


Last year, the foundation granted a record $4.3 million through endowed funds, scholarships, community impact grants and other donor-funded sources. It also provided $750,000 in resources to the community through initiatives, programs and other services bringing the total investment in the region to $5.4 million.


“Through the generosity, guidance and hard work of our donors, board and nonprofit partners, amazing things happen in our community,” said Sarah Owen, president & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “The theme of the annual report says it all We’ve Got Your Back, Southwest Florida which reflects the Foundation’s partnerships to help create change in our region.”


Highlights from the past year include:

  • Awarding $800,000 in scholarships to help 150 students,
  • Surpassing $100 million in assets including the establishment of the first endowed fund created by living donors for $5 million to support the work of the Foundation in the new Collaboratory & Tech Hub.
  • Granting more money to nonprofits to help them create change in the region. More than $4.3 million and a total of 745 of grants were funded through donor advised funds, specialty funds including the Women’s Legacy Fund of SWFL, LGBT Fund of SWFL, Bonita Springs Community Fund and the Fund for the Environment of SWFL, Field of Interest Funds, Nonprofit Agency Funds, Donor Designated Agency Funds, and Scholarship Funds.
  • Serving as the backbone of the FutureMakers Coalition which exceeded the goal of the number of students filling out the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA);  increased the number of nonprofits experimenting with new innovative programs resulting in 29 percent more FutureMakers Coalition projects; decreased the number of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) openings in businesses in the region by 72 percent in persistent openings and adding additional partners stepping up with support for the coalition to nearly $250,000.


The Foundation invested in sustainable improvements to the community including a $10 million New Market Tax Credit deal closed for the Collaboratory and the Foundation’s new home; State and local disasters with funds were established for Pulse Nightclub, Together Fort Myers Fund – Club Blu shooting, Wildfire Relief Fund, Lee County/Bonita Springs Floods Fund and Hurricane Irma Relief Fund; established the Land of Opportunity Fund focused on immigration legal services; partnered on collective leadership projects for Affordable Housing and Children’s Behavorial Health; and connected donors to help support the United Way 211 line for veterans.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit