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Fitzenhagen named executive director of Uncommon Friends Foundation

By Staff | May 5, 2021

Heather D. Fitzenhagen

The Uncommon Friends Foundation has hired Heather D. Fitzenhagen as their new executive director. Fitzenhagen took over for Jennifer Nelson, a Cape Coral City council member, on April 1.

Fitzenhagen has a long career in law and politics in Florida, representing Fort Myers and the 78th District in the House of Representatives for eight years. She also brings with her a wealth of experience from her law career and in the volunteer sector. She has served on the board of directors of her alma mater, Hollins University, the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking, Lee County Association of Women Lawyers, and the PACE Center for Girls, among many others.

As executive director of the Uncommon Friends Foundation, Heather will lead the mission and values of the foundation under the guidance of the board of directors.

President Brian Rist is excited for the future of the Foundation under Heather’s leadership.

“It’s a new day at the Uncommon Friends Foundation. The board is looking forward to the future under Heather’s guidance and confident that she will lead us to the next level of success,” Rist said.

“Her experience will greatly benefit the dynamic team at the Uncommon Friends Foundation as it strives to celebrate the unique talents and gifts inspired by Fort Myers resident Jim Newton and ‘Uncommon Friends’ Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Harvey Firestone and Dr. Alexis Carrel,” a release from Common Friends state. “The character and ethics of these dynamic and history-making individuals allowed them to build, grow and sustain important friendships despite their different backgrounds and experiences, a tradition the Foundation wants to keep alive in the Southwest Florida community.”

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is also responsible for awarding scholarships to students who reflect the characteristics of the “Uncommon Friends,” while also providing ongoing character and business ethics education to the community.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is headquartered in the historic Burroughs Home which also houses memorabilia and research on the “Uncommon Friends.”

Fitzenhagen said she is excited to grow in her new role and bring her expertise to the Foundation.

“Both the Burroughs Home and Uncommon Friends Foundation are Southwest Florida treasures. I look forward to sharing these treasures with a broader audience, enhancing educational programming and expanding our scholarship program,” Fitzenhagen said.

About Uncommon Friends Foundation

Founded in 1993 to carry out the generational values of Fort Myers, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is dedicated to lifelong character-building among today’s youth and business leaders, as it inspires future leaders toward excellence of character, a spirit of innovation and a sense of purpose. It is located at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens on the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers, offering a sheltered pavilion and dazzling water views for public and private events as well as year-round tours. For more information, call 239-337-9503 or visit https://uncommonfriends.org.