Building Philanthropy to Build a Better Florida

Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice panel connects values, inspires grantmakers at #2018FPN

March 19, 2018

Few things are more inspiring than gathering amongst your colleagues and peers to re-ignite the collective passion you all have for the work you do. The 10th Annual FPN Statewide Summit on Philanthropy was no exception. The theme – What drives you? – was an inspiring reminder that many of us find a deep calling in our work that serves to guide us each and every day. And what a great way to celebrate, honor, and share our drives!

Set in the historic backdrop of the Miami-Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel, the Summit offered a number of thought-provoking, contemplative, and even entertaining experiences that helped deepen our commitment to one another and to the values that drive us in our work.

A panel that left me particularly inspired while connecting seemingly unrelated values that drive me was the Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice in Florida Communities session. Our expert panel clearly and artfully gave us a common sense understanding of what climate change looks like in marginalized communities and the detrimental effects it has on quality of life.

photograph © Natalia Vásquez 2018

 Jacqueline Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP; Michael Bauer, J.D., Ph.D., ret., former City of Naples, Florida Natural Resources Manager; Caroline Lewis, Founder and Executive Director, The CLEO Institute; and Shamar Bibbins, Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation discuss why climate justice, community-based change initiatives and integrating climate resilience and equity into your grantmaking portfolio deserves philanthropic attention, as well as important ways philanthropy can support and amplify this work. 

They also helped us understand what it will take to support these communities in implementing community-driven change and why it is important to protect these communities from individuals who seek to exploit their vulnerability. Whether it’s the environment, community engagement, or equity and social justice – everyone found a way to connect their drives to this issue and saw how their role in philanthropy could make a difference. I certainly didn’t expect to make those connections but was deeply grateful for them.

The Summit connected a rich tapestry of panels on modern-day media and democracy, artistic interpretations of Anne Frank and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as a poetry symphony – all of which served to tie together the ideas and personal values that drive us. For the opportunity to re-connect, re-invigorate, and share what drives me with my peers, I am deeply grateful. And I am particularly thankful for the scholarship opportunity that made this possible.


Emmanuel Fortune

Emmanuel Fortune is a program director for The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and #2018FPN Emerging Leader scholarship recipient. #2018FPN Emerging Leaders Scholarships are made possible through the generosity of Central Florida Foundation and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.  

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