The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida
27320 Hidden River Court
Bonita Springs FL 34134
Investing for impact to empower women and girls, engage the community, and advance gender focused perspectives.
CEO/Executive Director Brenda Tate
Board Chair Lou Pontius
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Organization DBA
The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida
The Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2012
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes June 2015
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
  • Published the groundbreaking The Status of Women in Southwest Florida
  • Secured $1,000,000 pledge toward endowed sustainability
  • Invested $150,000 to establish Southwest Florida Regional Center on Human Trafficking
  • Named first Kiva Zip Loan Trustee in Florida to offer female entrepreneurs access to $5,000 0% interest loans
  • Actively competing for federal funds, matching private sector donations, to offer low to moderate income women savings accounts for education, home purchase or business development
  • Hosted the first SMART Party in Florida to raise awareness and funds to support The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida 


  • Implement robust research platform for outreach to our service area constituency to secure input, suggestions and advocacy on future focus areas
  • Launch campaign to build $5million endowed organization
  • Launch SparkSWFL to identify and engage with young professionals through philanthropy focused on women and girls
  • Host the inaugural Human Trafficking Symposium in January 2015
Needs Statement
Protect our children from being sold for sex by supporting the SWFL Regional Center on Human Trafficking: $500+ 
Match a savings goal when a woman saves for education, home purchase or business development:  $1,000+
Become a SMART Party Sponsor: $1,000+ 
Invest in a female entrepreneur through our revolving loan fund:  $2,000+
Put wind beneath the wings of The Women's Fund through legacy planning to build endowment: $5,000+ 
Underwrite the Human Trafficking Symposium - SWFL: $2500+ 
Background Statement

A group of women convened in 2011 to investigate ways to address important women’s issues. We were motivated by our collective experience and determination. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida, now named The Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida, launched in 2012, with counsel from the Women’s Funding Network and inspiration from WomenMovingMillions. We have discovered that an abundance of passionate and generous people in Southwest Florida are willing and interested in funding significant and meaningful initiatives focused on women and girls.

The Women’s Foundation is the only non-profit serving Southwest Florida focused exclusively on women and girls. We were the first to publish academic research assessing the status of women in the 5 county region. Our signature programs include (1) stopping the sale of our children for sex and (2) economic security for women.

We work to attract corporate, foundation and private donors with similar interests. Our donors’ contributions are leveraged with grants to support our programs.

We plan to build a $5 million endowed organization dedicated to the advancement of women and girls in Southwest Florida by 2020. With this sustained funding source, The Women’s Foundation will make significant investments in innovative and measurable solutions to complex problems.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
FL- Lee
Areas Served Comments Southwest Florida - Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry & Glades Counties
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Philanthropy,Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
What if you could help grow a woman owned business? What if you could help a woman achieve a savings goal for home purchase, business development or education? What if you could help keep a girl safe from sex slavery? Donors and investors can connect with women through The Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida - impact investing in women's lives and girls' futures. Our research based initiatives with accountable results will shine light on our supporters. At The Women's Foundation, we are passionate about making a positive difference for women and girls in our community.
Sincerely, Lou Pontius
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

I am honored to be one of the founders of The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida to benefit women of all ages in our region. Women have been especially hard hit the past few years with Southwest Florida leading the country in high unemployment paired with the distinction of being ‘ground zero’ for the residential mortgage crisis. With the juxtaposition of extreme poverty just a stone’s throw from the extraordinary affluence along the beautiful shorelines of Southwest Florida, we are positioned to inform women about the power of their philanthropy to target solutions for economic security for women.

This is an exciting and rewarding chapter of my life and I’m enjoying every minute.  I was a single mother in the 70s. Juggling parenting, multiple jobs and school consumed me for years, as I admired the women’s movement from the sidelines.  Today I’m married to an amazing man who broke his family’s cycle of poverty through hard work and determination based on the values instilled by his strong, intelligent and intuitive mother. She married at thirteen, never realized her dream of an education, yet made sure her children did. Now it’s our time to step forward, honor the women who came before us, be role models for our adult children and grandchildren, join the movement and give back. The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida is a great platform for us to strategically invest in women and girls.

It is such a joy to be associated with other women (and men) who are passionate about women’s issues and collectively making such a difference. Connect with us at The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida if you’re looking for a truly inspired, life changing experience.

Sincerely, Brenda Tate

The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida is currently accepting Kiva Zip client referrals from SCORE counselors, Small Business Develop Centers (SBDC) and local banks. These are organizations with pre-existing relationships with entrepreneurs in need of loan capital. The Kiva Zip model aims to leverage those relationships by enabling The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida to become their Kiva Zip Trustee. As a Trustee, The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida will help empower entrepreneurs to access Kiva Zip loans by publicly vouching for their character and business concept.  Please go to website for information on how to refer a client to The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida for a Kiva Zip Loan:

Budget $7,500
Category Community Development, General/Other Community Economic Development
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Females Females Females
Short Term Success

The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida has connected Debra Newman, owner of Photo Magic Events, with a $5,000, zero-percent interest loan for business development. Kiva Zip is a pilot program that uses mobile and electronic payment technology to crowd-fund direct, zero-percent interest loans to financially excluded, yet socially impactful entrepreneurs.

Photo Magic Events specializes in event photo entertainment for organizations, corporations and individuals and is the first business to receive a Kiva Zip loan endorsed by The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. Newman reached her loan goal in less than 48 hours by attracting over 40 lenders. Photo Magic Events has also secured new clients from the Kiva Zip exposure to an expanded market.

“The Kiva Zip Loan opportunity is just what I needed to take my business to the next level,” said Newman. “I am so honored and grateful to be endorsed by The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. I hope to be a role model and resource for other women in the community who have an entrepreneurial dream.”

The loans are crowd-funded on Kiva Zip’s website, where anyone with an Internet connection can lend as little as $5 to a borrower of his or her choice. One of the principal aims of the program is to expand access to business capital.
Long Term Success According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, approximately 75% of small business owners do not have access to capital for their businesses.  Only 26% of small business owners in Southwest Florida are women. By creating access to capital, paired with training, counseling and mentoring, our success will be measured by an increase in the number of women-owned businesses in Southwest Florida and improved access to capital for their business start up or expansion.
Program Success Monitoring The Women's Fund will monitor the program by utilizing a direct loan inquiry website portal and repayment history provided by the platform.
Program Success Examples

The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida has connected Carleen McIlveen, owner of Imagine by Carleen, with a $5,000, zero-percent interest loan for business development. Kiva Zip is a program that uses mobile and electronic payment technology to crowd-fund direct, zero-percent interest loans to financially excluded, yet socially impactful entrepreneurs.


Imagine by Carleen is a full-service day spa in Cape Coral and is the second business to receive a Kiva Zip loan endorsed by The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. McIlveen reached her loan goal in less than 48 hours by attracting 34 lenders, including The Women’s Fund. Imagine by Carleen expects to attract new clients from the Kiva Zip exposure to an expanded market.

“I am honored to be connected with The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida and Kiva, not only for the expansion of my business, but also as a small business woman entrepreneur that can someday help or be an inspiration for someone else just like me,” states McIlveen. “This loan will help me make a difference in the community, enabling our services to be offered to some people who are most in need and otherwise not physically able to navigate to our current second floor location. This is a win-win for all involved and I am humbled by the incredible support I am receiving to move forward with my business plan.”

The Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida is advocating for establishment of the Southwest Florida Regional Center on Human Trafficking to serve the SWFL Human Trafficking Task Force led by the U.S. Attorney in SWFL. The Women's Founation has pledged to raise the seed money to operate the Center for the first two years and also fund a public relations campaign to create awareness of The Center's purpose. The Center will be hosted at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) as a state-sanctioned Center.  The community support and broad regional representation on the Task Force positions The Center to be solidly integrated into the region as human trafficking is addressed in a coordinated manner.
For additional information, please visit our website:
Budget $379,000
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Community Crime Prevention
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served At-Risk Populations Females Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success

THE CENTER’S STRATEGIC PLAN: The strategic plan for The Center also establishes objectives and assessment methods as follows: 

Goal 1: To facilitate a regional human trafficking protocol among law enforcement, prosecution, and social service agencies.


Goal 2: To standardize data collection on human trafficking.


Goal 3: The promote education and best practice methods related to human trafficking.





Long Term Success

The mission of The Center is to reduce or eliminate the presence of human trafficking in Southwest Florida. We will feel successful once we can document with solid and reliable data the reduction of the crime and greater support for victims. There is a chronic lack of coordination and communication in the region between law, order and victim support agencies.

Program Success Monitoring

THE CENTER’S EVALUATION PLAN: The review process for the first two years of The Center on Human Trafficking is built upon the defined objectives and relevant established assessment criteria for each year. There is no existing benchmark data to draw from at this time. After the first two years, analysis of each assessment should assist in developing a new strategic plan. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is providing seed money for the first two years. Evaluations will be supplied by January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016. For each year-end evaluation, feedback will be solicited from The Center’s Advisory Board, the Deans of the Colleges of Health Professions & Social Work and Arts & Sciences, and relevant community partners.

Program Success Examples
1. Successful prosecution of slavery perpetrators.
2. Suspected, reported, and investigated cases tracked & monitored by resource center.
3. Heightened public awareness of crime
4. Documented use of regional resource center hot line by public
Description Provide financial literacy training and matched savings accounts to low-moderate income women to purchase assets such as a first home, starting or expanding a small business, and securing education and training.

For additional information, please visit our website:
Budget $0
Category Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking, General/Other Grants Development
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Females At-Risk Populations Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success

Our IDA Project Phase I will target 1) women who have graduated from or enrolled in the Medical Office Skills Program and other Family Self Sufficiency Programs administered by Lee County Department of Human Services and 2) women whose children applied for Take Stock in Children financial need based scholarships administered by Collier Education Foundation. Florida Community Bank will offer FDIC-insured bank accounts, hold the federal and non-federal reserve funds, report monthly to The Women’s Fund, host required financial literacy training at select bank branches and staff the training with professional Florida Community Bank associates. The Women’s Fund will be responsible for fundraising, establishing program standards, quality management, data collection and overall project coordination and administration.

Long Term Success

The Women’s Fund, in future or concurrent phases, will partner with additional key organizations to geographically and numerically expand the IDA Project. The Women’s Fund anticipates strategic alliances with Goodwill Industries, S.C.O.R.E., Small Business Development Center, Habitat for Humanity affiliates, additional Education Foundations and others to attract additional resources to future phases, expand the network of qualified referrals and establish additional specific training, mentoring and counseling resources geared to the savers goals.   Our other BEST project is a Small Business Loan Program to start or expand women owned businesses. It is likely that a successful IDA saver for small business capital will also investigate securing a direct loan to further develop her business.

Program Success Monitoring

Our IDA Project Phase I anticipates efficiently and effectively identifying approximately  300 income qualified women from the Medical Office Skills Program and Collier Education Foundation Take Stock in Children Program, enrolling 150 prospective savers in financial literacy training, opening 94 savings accounts and seeing 85 successful savers meet their goals within a three year (or less) period. By offering a 2:1 match rate and assuming an average IDA saver’s contribution of $1,000, a $100,000 federal grant (requested), matched with $100,000 private sector nonfederal funds, will allow at least 85 women in IDA Project Phase I to achieve a successful outcome of at least 85 completed savings goals to start or expand businesses, acquire postsecondary education or training, and/or purchase a first home.

Program Success Examples Higher than national poverty rates among women in Southwest Florida are documented in detail in The Status of Women in Southwest Florida. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida commissioned Florida Gulf Coast University’s Regional and Economic Research Institute to conduct the study and it was published in November 2012.  The study guided our decision to launch a new initiative entitled BEST – “Becoming Economically Successful Together” – to facilitate opportunities 1) for women’s financial literacy training and 2) for women to save and borrow money in order to obtain assets such as a first home, postsecondary education, or small business capital. The savings component of BEST will allow The Women’s Fund to identify, train and offer qualified women the opportunity to open Individual Development Accounts. The target population for the IDA project is low-moderate income women in Southwest Florida counties of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry & Lee. Our research reports 15% of Southwest Florida women live below the federal poverty level, compared to a 10% poverty rate for men

PopUps is a new initiative supported by a group of young community leaders. They are dedicated to furthering the mission of The Women’s Foundation. PopUps follow our proactive grant making approach to identify programs that align with our vision to enhance the quality of life for women and girls through innovative philanthropy.

PopUps, which stands for Philanthropy On Purpose Uniting People Spontaneously, are events hosted at a variety of different. The goal is to raise funds for a predetermined local nonprofit organization that directly benefits women and girls. Then The Women’s Foundation makes an immediate and matched PopUp grant to our partner nonprofit.

Budget $25,000
Category Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking, General/Other Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Females Females Females
Short Term Success Grants made to nonprofits or programs in SWFL with a focus on women and girls.
Long Term Success
Young leadership developed around philanthropy to support women and girls. 
Program Success Monitoring We will use our Swell fund raising software license to develop program data, analyze impact and report results to the community.
Program Success Examples The first PopUp grant was issued to Dress For Success via the inaugural PopUp Party at Angelina's restaurant.
Program Comments by Organization The programs outlined above are clearly identified as strategic priorities for The Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida in our long term plan adopted October 2013.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Brenda Tate
CEO Term Start July 2011
CEO/Executive Director Email

Brenda is a community volunteer in SW Florida serving as President of The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida; she has served as Student Advocate and Fund Raiser for the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program; current Board Member of ECHO’s Global Farm & ECHO Community Garden Advisory Committee; Gulf Shore Life 2009 Philanthropist of the Year- Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; member of WomenMovingMillions. Previously, she served as Georgia Department of Transportation’s Enhancement Activity (TEA) Advisory Panel Chair and Founding Member. She was the Trust for Public Land’s Coordinator for the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway in Macon Georgia and other community based land conservation initiatives in Georgia.   She founded the Georgia Rails Into Trails Society dedicated to the advocacy of abandoned railroads into trails for muscle powered transportation with the popular Silver Comet Trail becoming a widely recognized symbol of the initiative. Brenda routinely works behind the scenes to create strategic alliances and strong partnerships by fostering effective collaboration to get the jobs done, ranging from raising money, securing legislation, or negotiating deals to fulfill the missions of worthy causes.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 12
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
  • Regional Economic Research Institute
  • Small Business Development Center
  • SCORE Naples
  • Florida Community Bank
  • Integrity Florida
  • Regional Resource Center on Human Trafficking
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida Women's Funding Alliance
  • Prosperity Together
Women's Funding Network
Florida Philanthropic Network- Member2014
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2013
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Management Comments by Organization I serve as CEO/President of The Women's Foundation with no compensation or benefits. This will allow the organization to minimize operating costs and overhead during our early growth years, as well as create a strong foundation for succeeding staff. 
Multi-Media Comments by Organization We are grateful to WGCU Public Media for producing our outreach video.
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Lou Pontius
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term July 2014 to July 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
G. Helen Athan Grant Fridkin Pearson, P.A.
Amanda Cross Community Volunteer
Lalai Hamric Community Volunteer
Nancy Merolla Florida Community Bank
Lou Pontius Community Volunteer
Connie Shipley Wollman, Gehrke & Solomon
Lisa Simington BNY Mellon Wealth Management
Brenda Tate The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Gender
Male 0
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 91
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 50
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Governance Comments by Organization Our board of directors will expand to seven members in the near future.  The full board will participate in board orientation and training. The full board adopted The Women's Foundation's first strategic plan in 2013.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2015
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2015
Projected Revenue $432,500.00
Projected Expenses $333,100.00
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $10,000.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose Build endowment
Campaign Goal $5,000,000.00
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Form 9902014
990 20132013
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$81,782$29,602$23,338
Administration Expense$12,718$4,793$2,351
Fundraising Expense$0$127$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.541.821.34
Program Expense/Total Expenses87%86%91%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$209,277$56,843$27,604
Current Assets$200,827$56,843$27,604
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$119,312$16,008$15,049
Total Net Assets$89,965$40,835$12,555
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $145,485Contributions, gifts, grants $61,162Contributions, gifts, grants $31,912
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0Fundraising $1,640Fundraising $2,507
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $00 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.683.551.83
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
The Women's Foundation has secured an irrevocable pledge of $1,000,000 to be paid no later than October 2020..
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Form 990-EZ.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit The Women's Fund of Southwest Florida
Address 27320 Hidden River Court
Bonita Springs, FL
Phone 239 281-2233