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Rotary Happenings: Steve Greenstein shares information about Charitable Foundation of the Islands

By Staff | May 25, 2017

Philanthropy, noun, the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.

The Rotary of Sanibel-Captiva Trust Foundation certainly can identify itself as a philanthropic funding entity. Each year our Rotary Club Trust supports financial grants to numerous nonprofits and organizations on the islands and beyond. We, also, recognize the valued presence on the islands of the Charitable Foundation of the Islands (CFI) and their mission to serve Sanibel and Captiva.

Last Friday morning, Steve Greenstein, executive vice president and wealth services advisor at The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company and committee member of the Capacity Grants/ CFI, spoke at Rotary about the foundations mission, it’s history, and the simplicity of joining fellow philanthropic-minded individuals, families, and businesses in strengthening the quality of life for those who live or work on Sanibel and Captiva with focus on areas of: basic human needs: food, housing, healthcare, and mental health arts and education the environment and emergency funds.

Back in the year 2000, the late Francis Bailey, member of Sanibel’s pioneering family, owner of Bailey’s General Store, active community member serving as Sanibel mayor and member of many island nonprofits serving on their board of directors, along with 11 other community leaders founded a branch of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation under the name “Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation Bailey Society with member driven funds.

In 2011 under the leadership of Al Hanser, the Bailey Society was restructured as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization becoming the Charitable Foundation of the Islands. No longer a membership-supported organization, CFI funds for grants are now generated by the annual Sanctuary Golf Challenge and with careful stewardship of CFI permanently endowed donor advised funds.

Most islanders know about the CFI Sanctuary Golf Challenge. Last year that event alone raised $140,000. However, many of us have been unaware of the what and whys of CFI’s endowed donor advised funds setup for personal, family, or business philanthropy.

First things first: anyone can be part of CFI giving; you really don’t have to be in the so-called wealthy category. A charitable account in your name can be established for anywhere from $5,000 to whatever managed by CFI, but where you recommend the beneficiary of your giving. Donors may involve family members in grant-making decisions, promoting the spirit of philanthropy in future generations. Successor advisors may be named to continue the tradition of giving in perpetuity.

Another important aspect of these CFI donor advised funds is that they operate in the manner of a private foundation, but without initial, or ongoing administrative expenses and without the tax-reporting requirements. There are no setup charges, and you are not tied to any single charitable organization, or future giving pattern.

Greenstein told us that, “Since the year 2000, the Bailey Society and Charitable Foundation of the Islands has distributed over $3 million in financial grants and scholarships. Names of some of the benefactors of these funds are Community Housing and Resources (CHR), F.I.S.H. of Sanibel, Sanibel City Scholarships, Sanibel Swims, Sanibel Community House, BIG ARTS, CROW, Ding Darling, Shell Museum, Sanibel Historical Village, etc. etc. Both CHR and F.I.S.H. help distribute funds according to their knowledge of need in our community and have received the larger grant funding to-date.”

Two years ago, CFI established a new Capacity Grants initiative, which ensures the sustainability of nonprofits on islands assisting them in expanding their fundraising and strategic planning capabilities. CFI’s Capacity Grant Awards are a unique undertaking designed to help Sanibel and Captiva nonprofits increase their organizational capacity and, thus, their sustainability. The grants enable organizations to hire consultants, implement new technology or improve existing technology, and equip their boards and staff with skills that further the organizations’ missions.

If you need information regarding CFI, contact them directly through CharitableFoundationoftheIslands.org.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests are always welcomed.

Friday, May 19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary will not be at the Dunes. Club members will be attending our Rotary District 6960 conference in Sarasota.