More Than 300 Attend CFI Volunteer Expo
When given the opportunity to discover ways to help their storm-ravaged community, more than 300 people turned out on March 30 for the Get Inspired! SanCap Volunteer Expo at Sanibel’s BIG ARTS.
The Charitable Foundation of the Islands (CFI), in partnership with its Class of 2022 Leadership Sanibel-Captiva Program, hosted the inaugural event to connect those interested in making a difference with representatives from more than 15 local nonprofits and community organizations.
SCCF’s Coastal Watch Director Kealy McNeal and SCCF Youth Education Director Shannon Rivard interacted with community members to explain volunteer opportunities at SCCF and Sanibel Sea School, recruiting about 30 new volunteers. Pictured between the two is SCCF Trustee Bob Brooks. SCCF CEO James Evans and SCCF Development Director Cheryl Giattini also attended to support the expo.
Since Hurricane Ian, “How can I help?” has been the constant plea from area residents wanting to help restore and rebuild the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.
All organizations offered information about their activities, distributed literature, and signed up volunteers. All participants received a copy of the Sanibel-Captiva Nonprofit Directory, which can also be viewed online at mycfi.org. (Go to the How We Help tab on the home page.)
“It was an honor to host an event like this,” said Al Hanser, CFI Board Chair Emeritus as well as Founder and Chairman of The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, which sponsored the event. “There has never been a more important time for our community to come together to ensure the future sanctity of our islands.”
Chip Roach, CFI Board Chair who served as master of ceremonies for the evening’s program, stressed the importance of developing new leaders and enhancing community unity.
“As we work to rebuild our community, our nonprofits and community organizations will play a critical role,” he said. “They will need help now more than ever. This event is the start to identifying the next generation of leaders to help us accomplish that.”
Also addressing the group were Sanibel residents Porter Goss and his son, Chauncey, as well as David Mintz, Captiva Community Panel Vice President and Chair of Governmental Affairs.
Porter Goss was Sanibel’s first mayor in 1975, served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years, and headed up the CIA under President George W. Bush. Chauncey Goss grew up on Sanibel, worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and has been involved with water issues as Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District. Mintz is a founding member of the law firm Weissman & Mintz LLC in New York and New Jersey. He and his wife have owned a home on Captiva since 2009.
Porter Goss thanked those who attended. “Nothing could be more energizing to me after everything we have gone through collectively since Hurricane Ian than to see the spirit of the people in the nonprofits, the volunteers, and the people doing the hard work in rebuilding,” he said.
Nonprofit organizations represented at the event included the following: Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, BIG ARTS, Captiva Civic Association, Captiva Community Panel, Captiva Island Historical Society, Charitable Foundation of the Islands, Children’s Education Center of the Islands, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW), Community Housing and Resources, Inc., J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge, FISH of Sanibel-Captive, Inc., Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Sanibel Sea School, Sanibel Community Association, Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, Sanibel School Fund, and Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Visit MyCFIO.org to view a video of the event or to access the Sanibel-Captiva Nonprofit Directory.