April 19, 2014

President’s Letter

Dan Dendton, PrsidentWe’re delighted once again to identify and celebrate the area’s top philanthropists (see p. 23) in this year’s Social Register, and we owe many thanks to our insightful collaborators, the Community Foundation of Collier County and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Curious about the future of charitable giving locally, we asked their leaders about trends they foresee—and the roles of their organizations in Southwest Florida’s future.

 

“A New Breed of Young Realists”

—Colleen Murphy, president & CEO, Community Foundation of Collier County

 

Today’s successful young professionals and entrepreneurs like to effect change hands on. Accustomed to implementing innovative solutions in their everyday lives and businesses, they are creating new trends in philanthropy aimed at solving major social issues.

We are seeing a new breed of young realists who are not afraid to plan their legacy now, making bequests that will fulfill their vision in the future. These social entrepreneurs want their work to continue long after they are gone.

Instead of granting to specific programs, many are seeing the strategic value in funding an organization aligned with their vision. Before this type of grant is made, however, both parties should agree to clearly defined outcomes.

As the go-to resource for authoritative information and analysis about local philanthropy, the Community Foundation of Collier County is a knowledge-based organization that collects data on charitable giving, nonprofit organizations, nonprofit leadership and community needs. The Foundation helps donors fulfill their charitable intent and provides leadership for all philanthropic opportunities. Its newest initiative, Collier 211, is an information and referral line that provides citizens, nonprofits, for-profits and government agencies with vital information on the county’s programs and services.

The Community Foundation of Collier County manages more than 450 funds established by charitable individuals and organizations. For more information on our programs, please call the foundation at (239) 649-5000, visit our website at www.cfcollier.org or friend us
on Facebook.

 

“Individual Giving Will Increase”

—Dawn-Marie Driscoll, chairman of the board, Southwest Florida Community Foundation

 

How about some good news for a change? Forget high unemployment and pressure on nonprofits. Thanks to the vision of our founders and donors 35 years ago, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is thriving and helping more people than ever.

Until I joined the board, I hadn’t thought much about the power of endowments and perpetual giving. Yes, I’d given many annual contributions to nonprofits, but that was “money-in-money-spent.” Now, my family has set up a fund at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which will eventually receive a portion of our estate. The Foundation has more than 350 such funds, with many more to come.

Florida has more than 4,000 types of foundations, collectively granting almost $1.4 billion annually. The Florida Philanthropic Collaborative reports that 10 of Florida’s 50 largest grantmakers are community foundations, and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is one of those 10. We know philanthropic individuals are the heart of community foundations and make up 75 to 80 percent of all charitable giving. And according to a study by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, individual giving will increase by three percent this year, which is more good news.

We have wonderfully generous people in Southwest Florida who make a major impact on the quality of life here. This spring, our scholarship application readers helped us to award more than $400,000 to some spectacular, local young people. One reader was so moved by the quality (and hardship) of our applicants that he changed his estate plan to leave a large endowed scholarship fund at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

Thirty-five years after that donor’s death, I like to think that another board chair will be able to say as I do now: “The good news continues, thanks to generous individuals who came before us.”

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