(By Nancy Bouchard) The Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation gave away nearly one million dollars to the community. Within 48 hours after Hurricane Ian struck our beautiful shores, we collaborated with the FMB Woman’s Club.
#WeAreFMB, which started through the efforts of our members to assist people during COVID, transformed into #WeAreFMB Resilient. Combined with the Woman’s Club 33931 Fund, we raised over $800,000 to furnish gift cards to residents of 33931.
On May 2, 2023, the Community Foundation provided another $100,000 to organizations important to our community. We truly appreciate all the donors from across our great nation. Thank you from our members, and from all the residents and groups that make Fort Myers Beach so special.
Education has always been an important effort of the foundation. We increased our endowment at Florida Southwestern State College as well as provided scholarships to members of our community to the schools of their choice.
Our efforts for children included helping various camps and workshops at Friends of Lovers Key ($3,500), Ostego Bay ($13,000), and Bay Oaks ($8,000) to rebuild. We assisted our teachers at Beach Elementary ($5,000) who have had a challenging year to say the least.
The environment is important. In collaboration with Keep Lee County Beautiful ($5,000), we participated in many clean ups. We also supported Turtle Time ($3,000) as they now face new dynamics effecting these giants of the sea. The Marine Task Force Pop-Up ($5,000) educational tent will return to teach all things beachy to neighbors and visitors.
We provided aid to the Bring Music Back to the Beach Fund ($2,000) created by songwriter, Stephen Clarke. It funds free entertainment at events in Times Square and Moss Marina while bringing in local musicians who have lost their jobs and income due to Ian.
We all know our island is changing and are grateful that we have the Estero Island Historic Society ($10,000) to help preserve our past. The library ($12,000) will re-establish itself as the center of our community.
Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation has faced challenges from COVID to Ian. We will continue to fulfill our mission by “responding to the changing and emerging needs of our community by providing support for education, health and welfare, and the preservation of our natural environment, and history.”
Nancy Bouchard is a member of the Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com