A welcome message from Dennis Gingerich

Generosity is paradoxical.  Those who give, receive.  When we spend ourselves for others, we gain well-being.  In letting go of what we own, we better secure our own lives. Bottom line: Giving we receive. Grasping we lose. Interesting enough, this isn’t just a philosophical or religious teaching; it is a sociological fact. I recently started reading Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson’s book, “The Paradox of Generosity.”  I am discovering that their empirical-based sociological research has revealed that the more generous Americans are, the more happiness, health and purpose in life they enjoy.
Having served on the board of Cape Coral Community Foundation, I’m delighted that I get to spend my final year of my second term as the board chair.  I love the new energy and fresh vision that is gaining momentum in our community through the leadership of our new CEO/President Michael Chatman and his staff, Beth Rivera and Patt Moskal. As we begin our new 2017-18 fiscal year, the foundation is definitely beginning to live out its mission of stimulating philanthropy that enriches our community’s quality of life, through lasting and meaningful giving.
Our staff and board have identified three inspiring initiatives that we will be centering on over the next year. The first one—Increase Community-Grantmaking Through Giving Circles. Giving Circles are emerging as an increasingly personalized way for affinity groups to challenge each other to greater generosity. For example, our foundation has Giving Circles such as: Giving Alliance of Women, Next Generation Philanthropy Grantmaking, Awesome Grandparenting and more!
Secondly, we are aiming toward Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity during the next 12 months. This encompasses workshops, seminars and a fundraising institute to improve nonprofit effectiveness and strategies in raising dollars for their exceptionally important work in our community.
And finally, we are focusing on empowering Generous Companies to leverage their leadership and financial resources to amplify their effect in our community.
As the Cape Coral Community Foundation carries out it’s mission of building community endowments, meeting needs through grantmaking, providing leadership and promoting collaboration on community issues, we can create a global center for generosity right here in Southwest Florida, and everyone benefits.  When we become generous, our satisfaction and sense of significance goes up and to the right.  Also, those to whom our generosity is directed are ultimately given a hand-up, needs are met, education is obtained, poverty cycles are broken, and forthcoming generations can be the generosity leaders of their era.
I’ve been blessed to serve this community as a spiritual leader for over 31 years. I’ve never been more enthusiastic about the future.  It is a privilege to invest my energies during this next year to serve alongside many other talented and big-hearted community leaders to grow the Cape Coral Community Foundation into achieving its mission of becoming a global center of generosity.
With Gratitude,
Dennis Gingerich
Board Chair 2017-2018

In Search of the Most Amazing Philanthropists in Lee County

Nominations are now open throughout Lee County for the Cape Coral Community Foundation’s (CCCF) philanthropy award-the Tabor Generosity Award.

Nominees may be full or part-time residents of Lee County who have demonstrated generosity through their actions as well as financial commitments.  “Philanthropy is about more than writing a check for a good cause,” says CCCF President & CEO Michael Chatman.  “It’s about fully giving of yourself, your time, talent and treasures, in a way that has meaningful impact.  We are blessed to have many true philanthropists in Lee County.”

Nominations may be submitted by an individual, a group or through self-nomination.  All nominations will require an essay of up to 300 words describing why the nominee should be elected and explaining how the nominee has demonstrated generosity. One or two letters of recommendation are also requested. Suggestions for a strong nomination:

  • Show excitement and enthusiasm for your nominee
  • Describe how their efforts have encouraged others
  • Explain how the individual serves the mission of the CCCF
  • Impact matters

The award is named after its first recipient, Elmer Tabor, who was presented this honor in 2007.  The deadline to submit nominations is close of business on Thursday, February 28th. The nomination form can be filled out online at: www.capecoralcf.org/tabor-awards.html; for other options, feel free to call the CCCF offices at 239.542.5594.

Michael Chatman
President & CEO


Growing Our Scholarships–The Kai Fuhrmann College Scholarship Focuses on Cape Students

Kai Fuhrmann was extremely dedicated to helping area youth to achieve success in school and on the soccer field.

Our Community Foundation has at least a dozen scholarships available to students seeking higher education. Behind each scholarship is a story of passion, not only for our youth, but also for the precious gift that education can provide. Kai Fuhrmann, who passed away from cancer in 2011, embodied this spirit of giving.

Kai not only believed in the power of education, but he also put it to practice through mentoring high school students and through volunteering as a soccer coach for the Cape Coral Soccer Association. Both of Kai’s daughters, Kari and Kelly, played under his guidance.

Kai graduated from the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany as a Diploma Engineer specializing in Architecture. He relocated to Miami and became a registered Architect. In 1998, Kai, his wife and two daughters moved to Cape Coral, where he worked as a registered Architect and Certified Building Contractor as Vice President of HKS, Inc.

“When it came to education, Kai’s motto was that there is no option for failure,” recalls Kai’s wife Donna Fuhrmann. “Education always came first in our house.”

For his daughters, that meant taking homework on soccer trips, taking time to study before competing on the field. Donna is convinced that Kai was able to fight colon cancer for an unprecedented 10 years because he absolutely wanted to see his daughters finish high school and go off to college.

Both girls attended Ida Baker High School in the Cape. 27-year old Kari excelled in college, graduating from the University of Tampa with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, working as an adjunct professor at Hillsborough Community College and also working at the University of South Florida.

Kelly, now 24, played varsity soccer for all four years at Ida Baker High School and earned an academic and athletic scholarship to Wingate University in North Carolina as a result of her hard work. She is now almost finished studying for her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

The Fuhrmann Scholarship fund awarded its first $500 scholarship in 2012, upping its generosity to give scholarships to two students in 2015 and one in 2016. One key component of the application process asks Cape Coral high school students to write an essay describing a hardship that the student has faced and how they worked to overcome the difficulty. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is April 1st.

Donations to help grow this important fund are also encouraged.

For more information and to apply for the Kai Fuhrmann scholarship, visit: http://www.capecoralcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Kai-Fuhrmann-College-Scholarship-Application-Form2016.pdf

To contribute to the Kai Fuhrmann scholarship fund to help in making more scholarships possible, go to: http://www.capecoralcf.org/donation-type-and-how-much.html. Once on this page, click on the arrow at the far right under “Donations to Endowed Funds” and select Kai Fuhrmann College Scholarship Fund from the drop-down menu. Then enter the donation amount, your email address and any special instructions before making payment. Checks to this scholarship fund are also welcome, care of Cape Coral Community Foundation, 1405 SE 47 St., Unit 2, Cape Coral, FL 33904. Questions? Call 239.542.5594.

To see an overview of scholarships available through our Foundation, visit: http://www.capecoralcf.org/grants-scholarships.html

It has been a pleasure serving you with occasional posts about some of the remarkable people, projects and events that make the Cape Coral Community Foundation extraordinary.  It is inspiring and exciting to see what is possible when generous and compassionate souls unite.

With gratitude,

MerriBeth Farnham