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2022 Annual Meeting Focuses on Vigilance

December 7, 2022

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) reinforced its core commitment to conservation and community at its 2022 Annual Meeting on Dec. 6.

“Aside from the 1960s and 70s, there has never been a time more important than now to remain vigilant against external development pressures,” said SCCF CEO James Evans. “I want to thank our community for standing strong in the face of what we expect to be tremendous challenges that threaten our wildlife, our way of life, and our local economy.”

“There is no question that the conservation spirit continues to glow brightly on our islands and is a beacon of hope for future generations,” he added.

Recognizing island leaders from Sanibel and Captiva, Evans thanked them for their support of SCCF’s mission to protect and care for the region’s coastal ecosystems. 

Hosted by the Sanibel Harbour Marriott, the meeting was attended in person by about 100 SCCF members, with another 150 tuning into the business portion of the meeting through Facebook Live. 

SCCF members welcomed four new trustees to the board, appointed new officers, heard leadership reports, and watched a 17-minute episode of “The Rebuild” that featured SCCF’s boots-on-the-ground hurricane and community recovery efforts.

Outgoing Board of Trustees President Don Rice applauded the way SCCF responded to the historic storm.

“I simply want to declare SCCF — our leaders, our team — performed magnificently, and continue to perform with great courage, competence, and commitment,” said Rice. “We are where we are today, and we have the strength we have because of our legacy of work, our selfless dedication to the task at hand, and … the sacrifices and personal losses that our own folks have suffered at the same time they remain committed to our conservation mission.”

Treasurer John Raho shared a financial report that also reflected on the strength of SCCF’s community and legacy support. 

“The overall financial strength of SCCF remains solid in the face of challenges from COVID overhang, the ongoing weak equity market, and now Ian,” he wrote. “We still face headwinds in fundraising from an uncertain economy, but we remain cautiously optimistic as the team has already achieved momentum.”

Recognizing the many challenges and opportunities that SCCF faced during the July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022, fiscal year, President Rice cited the transition from outgoing CEO Ryan Orgera to James Evans in January as a key shift.

“We were able to expand the roles and capabilities of many staff people, and James moved to a more collegial and collaborative approach to mission fulfillment,” said Rice as he reported on successes across all SCCF programs.

Evans encouraged attendees to carefully read the FY 2021-2022 Annual Report to learn about all the mission-focused work SCCF accomplished, including a 4-page Hurricane Ian insert.


“We view Hurricane Ian as more of an opportunity than a hardship and we will build back better than before the storm. Rising seas and more intense, more frequent storm events will continue to shape the future of our communities,” said Evans. “We must rebuild in a way that not only makes our infrastructure more resilient to climate change, but also protects our unique wildlife habitats and the character of our barrier island sanctuaries.”

New trustees include John Morse, Mary Ellen Pfeifer, Lisa Riordan, and Doug Ryckman. New officers are President Anne Nobles, Vice President Doug Ryckman, and Secretary Megan Doss. Treasurer John Raho retains his office.

In a post-Ian resolution, all current trustees will continue to serve through the end of the fiscal year (June 30), including outgoing President Don Rice, outgoing Secretary Ran Niehoff, Bob Brooks, Laura DeBruce, Sandra Gross, Nik Khakee, Tom Libonate, Jill McCormack, Dick Pyle, Chip Roach, Laura Shaffer, and Christine Szymanczyk.

Legacy Society inductions included the Estate of Sally Lichtenstein, the Estate of Beverly Ball, the Estate of Thomas Bone, the Estate of Breese Tomick, Jill and John Kirkpatrick, Peter Siegenthaler, and the Daniel P. Hagerman Foundation, represented by George, Audrey, and Lisa Hagerman.

 To support SCCF’s mission and be listed as a member in the FY 2022-2023 Annual Report, please click here.









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