2017-05-17 / Arts & Entertainment News

It’s personal and personalized

sarah OWEN
President and CEO, Southwest Florida Community Foundation

My latest coffee shop order is an iced grande cinnamon almond milk macchiato with sugar free cinnamon dolce, hold the caramel drizzle. I practice saying it in my head before I stand in line and try not to listen to all the other people ahead of me, as it can throw me off my game.

If you hang around the barista stand long enough, you might be shocked to learn how many different ways there are to order coffee.

Recently I was buying a cup of joe for a friend and when she said she wanted “a small coffee, black” I was in shock, and I think the person behind the register was, as well.

My companion wondered out loud when coffee had become so imaginative. I blew her mind when I explained she could order a frappuccino that changed colors and flavors during consumption.

Our world has become hypercustomized. A couple of years ago, our team reached out to a national chain to discover the number of ways there were to order a caffeinated concoction and were shocked to learn it was 170,000 options — for coffee!

We’ve all honed our personal preferences in many aspects of our lives. Companies of all sorts stand at the ready to meet our desires.

It is the same in philanthropy. Gone are the days for one-size-fits-all giving. Generosity comes in all shapes and sizes and there are endless ways to connect with your passion and make a difference in the lives of others.

At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, our days are filled with customizing and personalizing philanthropy. Just last week we directed a quarter of a million dollars from individual donors to local nonprofits that impacted their personal giving strategy and passions. They didn’t need our help in identifying what they cared about — that was deeply personal. Instead, they were looking for the right organizations and projects that fit what they were committed to achieving. We felt like the match-dot-com of philanthropy when we saw the grantors and grantees connect. We feel equally fulfilled.

Our matchmaking extends beyond what a donor funds to how they make it happen. A generation ago, giving primarily happened via cash, check or for the ultra-wealthy a private foundation. In our customized philanthropy culture there is online giving, crowd funding via text message, virtual endowments, giving challenges and philanthropy mortgages.

Many times we meet with families and individuals who know they want to change the world but are not quite sure how to make it happen. That’s when we become the baristas of giving.

Step up, tell us what you want and we will help you create something special. The options are endless.

I am ready to take your order at iamlistening@floridacommunity.com. ¦

— The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. With assets of $93 million, the foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception.

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