Southwest Florida Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder has various grant opportunities in the areas of community development, capacity building, arts and culture, women, LGBT, and more. The Southwest Florida counties of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades are in focus.

FUNDING AREAS: Community development, capacity building, arts and culture, women and girls, LGBT issues

IP TAKE: This is a great community funder to know if you work in the arts or have a demographic specialty, like women or the LGBT community.

PROFILE: Founded in 1976, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation (SFCF) is located in Fort Myers, Florida, and serves community needs in the Florida counties of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades. It manages over 400 philanthropic funds, and maintains around $115 million in assets. The SFCF has awarded over $71 million in total grants and scholarships. In an average year, SFCF awards around $5 million in community grants and programs.

SFCF grants are awarded by invitation, with foundation leadership choosing groups to work with. It also awards grants by proposal through an RFP process. Grant opportunities here include the Community Impact Grants, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fund Grants, Capacity Grants, Good Samaritan Fund, and Arts and Attractions. Grants are also awarded through the Arts and Culture Grant Cycle, Women’s Legacy Fund, LGBT Community Fund, and Bonita Springs Community Fund. Each of these funds has its own specifications, so be sure to review them. For example, arts and culture grants up to $2,500 are available to individual artists in Fort Myers, up to $10,000 for arts organizations for operating support, and up to $5,000 for program support.

SWCF's Grants Calendar and Grants Process application are available online. Past grantees include the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Barrier Island Parks Society, Amigos en Cristo, AMI Kids Southwest Florida, Caloosa Humane Society, and the Bonita Bay Veterans Council.

SFCF also awards college scholarships to Southwest Florida students. They awarded over $800,000 to 150 individual college scholarships in a recent year. SFCF is also involved in research related to making Southwest Florida more sustainable. It works with nonprofits in a learning network called “Tribes” to provide coaching and group sessions to nonprofit leaders.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 239-274-5900 or via online form. Grant-related questions can be sent to Sarah Owen is the foundation president and CEO; current staff members’ direct contact information can be viewed on the website.

The address is 8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201, Fort Myers, Florida 33919. They have satellite offices in Sanibel Island and LaBelle. You can sign up to receive news updates from the foundation on its website. Recent foundation news can also be viewed here.


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