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Cape Coral Community Foundation: Chatman named executive director of philanthropic group

By Staff | Aug 26, 2016

Michael Chatman has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, has spoken to more than 100,000 philanthropists of high net worth, and even has his own talk show.

Now, one of the nation’s foremost philanthropic leaders will be asked to take a Cape Coral charitable group to the next level.

After a six-month nationwide search, the Cape Coral Community Foundation has hired Chatman as its new executive director. Chatman began his new job Monday.

For the CCCF, Chatman’s presence is a game changer, one expected to turn the foundation from a local organization to one with national reach and influence.

“I’m thrilled we were able to get someone with the depth of experience Michael has. He has ideas and experiences we haven’t had here in the past,” said Brian Gomer, CCCF chairman. “He brings new energy, new vision and new concepts to the community.”

Chatman joins the CCCF after working as senior vice president of philanthropy at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. There, he concentrated on building a network of 49 regional affiliate foundations in Missouri.

Chatman said the description of the job and the opportunity to take over a smaller foundation was a challenge he couldn’t turn down.

“I kept seeing the word ‘entrepreneurial’ and I describe myself as a social entrepreneur. The fact it’s a small organization and willing to be nimble, innovative and creative was something I thought I can do,” Chatman said. “The idea to go somewhere to help it grow was appealing to me.”

Chatman said he wants to put a strong emphasis on non-profit collaboration and broker relationships with local non-profits partners.

“We want to be a resource to help them grow in capacity and help with their non-profit endowments,” Chatman said. “A lot of our focus will be on them to help them grow. We are the center of the hourglass for philanthropy in the region. That’s how we want to be perceived.”

MerriBeth Farnham, CCCF board member, said Chatman brings a reputation as a philanthropic leader.

“He has a lot of enthusiasm that’s going to be contagious, and I think he can help us get that national recognition we’ve never experienced while still having the focus on local giving,” Farnham said. “He’s going to be a really good fit for us and a way for us to move forward.”

At this juncture of the CCCF’s history, growth has been slow and measured since it was a small community for a long time. Gomer said with the city growing, now is the time to take the opportunity to grow.

“We want a more mature foundation and we need the leadership like Michael’s to take advantage of our next phase,” Gomer said.

Chatman is a graduate of Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and a post-graduate degree in entrepreneurship from the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program.

NonProfit Times Magazine has recognized Chatman as one of the most influential philanthropic leaders in America.

Chatman is also known as one of the nation’s leading social media influencers in philanthropy. Chatman has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, where he also hosts an Internet talk show called #WHYiGIVE@michaelchatman

An accomplished professional speaker, Michael Chatman has personally spoken to more than 75,000 next- generation philanthropists from families with a household net worth of $1 million to $10 million – and more than 25,000 mission-related philanthropists from families with household net worth of $10 million to $100 million.

Chatman looks forward to returning with his family to Florida, where he once worked in Miami as a senior consultant for the Anheuser-Busch Foundation after college.

“I think Cape Coral is a friendly and welcoming community, though not as urbanized as Miami. This area is ripe with opportunity and potential for growth and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The CCCF is a tax-exempt charitable organization that was founded in 1973 to grow philanthropy and strengthen Cape Coral by encouraging endowments, addressing needs, and providing leadership. Community Foundations operate in perpetuity, meaning the gifts made to the foundation will continue to grow and provide resources for generations to come.