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As the new president and CEO of Collaboratory, every week has provid­ed daily, sometimes hourly, moments of gratitude. I’m inspired as I meet with community members and part­ners as well as when I witness the en­gagement of those in our regional co­alitions. My gratitude comes as the result of 47 years of generosity from our donors. Collaboratory is a community foundation, with an evolved mission to help collaboratively tackle the social issues within om region.

Over the past few months, I’ve been heartened by dedicated individuals and organizations working together to solve urgent problems in our region at their root cause; people have donated their time, financial support and tal­ents as groups of change agents have come through our door and left ener­gized to make a difference through per­sistence in action.

I’m continually amazed by the com­mitment of our region to work together and make an impact -with vital input and feedback from everyone involved as we work toward shared goals.

I’m humbled by those who contribut­ed more than $5 million to support Hur­ricane Ian recovery. This is a testament to our region’s resilience and om ability to rally to support short- and long-term needs in the areas of education, hous­ing, health and more.

Our work at Collaboratory – and when I say “our,” I mean the collective work of individuals and partner organi­zations throughout Southwest Florida that comprise our allied efforts -allows us to truly do something unique: bring our region together as never before to solve the major social challenges that impact om residents, families and com­munities. This work is not easy. In fact, many days, it’s extremely challenging. Tackling the issues surrounding hous­ing, mental health, education, work­force and protecting the environment are never simple, but with all of us pull­ing together, we truly are moving the needle.

Since its inception in 2015, our education and workforce coalition, Future­Makers, has added nearly 55,000 cre­dentials to the regional workforce while distributing $3.5 million in grants since 2020. Extending Future­Makers’ collab­orative model, we continue to build mo­mentum with two additional coalitions – Health & Wellness and Housing -with more than 300 organizations and 400 individuals engaged across these three coalitions.

Beyond this transformational work, and in unwavering commitment to our traditional role as a community founda­tion, we distributed more than $10.3 million in grants to regional organiza­tions during the past year. Such grants are key to extending the work of these community partners and to support the system-level changes Collaboratory and our partners are committed to achiev­ing.

Your continuing support means the world to us and to families throughout Southwest Florida; we cannot do this crucial work without you. With the holi­days upon us, I’d like to express my sin­cere gratitude to residents across the region. Thank you for rallying with Col­laboratory to achieve our collective goals.

Connection and collaboration are at the heart of our efforts. Collaboratory is your community foundation – as such, donors, residents, collaborators, and supporters are instrumental in this journey.

You can learn more about our work at, as well as join a coalition and participate in a virtual Explanation Session from the comfort o your own living room to hear what w1 are up to and how to get involved.

As we look forward to the coming year, our team at Collaboratory wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season. We’re forever grateful for your collaboration and your generous support as, together, we work to reshape the future of Southwest Florida.

Onward and upward!
Dawn Belamarich is president & CEO of the Collaboratory in Fort Myers.