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Guest Commentary: Community foundations ‘set the table’ for On the Table SWFL March 30

By Ashley Maher, Eileen Connelly-Keesler, and Sarah Owen - | Mar 16, 2023

On Thursday, March 30, the community is invited to host or participate in community and regional conversations helping to formulate priorities and ideas to build a better, stronger Southwest Florida. On that one day, hundreds of individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government entities will open their homes or workplaces, or gather at restaurants or community centers to host a conversation over a meal or beverage for “On the Table SWFL”.

What is important to you? What are your big ideas to solve challenges facing our community? What needs to happen to improve the quality of life and well-being of our friends, family, and neighbors?

The Charlotte Community Foundation, Collier Community Foundation, and Collaboratory (formerly known as the Southwest Florida Community Foundation) have been helping donors and residents work together to address and solve the most pressing community needs facing our region. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ian, our common challenges are clear to see, from widespread mental health issues to lack of stable and attainable housing. Every one of the region’s five counties is affected by these challenges, and because the problems don’t stop at any county line or city limit, solutions to these and other challenges are more likely to succeed if all of us work together.

We know the power of a good idea — now imagine how much better off we would all be if we could tap into hundreds of good ideas, all at once and everywhere? We want to hear directly from each of you about what matters most for you, your family, and your community.

In partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University, we will document conversation themes and identify region-wide social priorities that will be shared with everyone who participates in On the Table SWFL. The foundations pledge to work together on issues identified to create a more sustainable and vibrant Southwest Florida for our fellow residents and the places we cherish.

To join us, register at onthetableswfl.com. We hope you do. Your voice matters.

— Ashley Maher, Chief Executive Officer, Charlotte Community Foundation

— Eileen Connelly-Keesler, President and CEO, Collier Community Foundation

— Sarah Owen, President and CEO, Collaboratory