Charlotte Community Foundation Newsletter  |  March 2020

Table of Contents

The Tapestry of Philanthropy

Ashley Maher

Chairman Letter

Lew Bennett

Your CCF Team

Military Heritage Museum

Agency Partners

Scholarship Program

Scholarship Timeline


The Tapestry of Philanthropy


JANUARY 15, 2020

A tapestry is a type of thick fabric that dates back to the 3rd Century BC. Woven on looms with heavier threads used in the warp (the strong vertical threads), with the design formed by crisscrossing the warp horizontally with the weft threads. The designs are intricate, complex and handmade; some weft threads were actually spun gold!

Many tapestries depicted events or told stories, providing a historical record. They were also valuable in providing warmth when hung on cold castle walls or used as curtains in medieval Europe. No matter their use, the designs were creative, things of beauty that were also useful.

Philanthropy creates its own tapestry. Helping our neighbors has a rich history that extends centuries into the past. A foundation, like Charlotte Community Foundation, is the loom. The warp threads are our strong Donors, with the weft threads—lengths of colorful fibers crisscrossing to create the design—being the nonprofits. Without the warp there could be no weft, no tapestry would result, no story subsequently could be told or event recorded.

The nonprofits in our community—organizations formed to benefit a variety of causes—are a colorful and complex group. Over time they have woven a wonderful story of positive events that have created the beautiful tapestry of philanthropy in Charlotte County. Just as the tapestries of old captured life as well as provided warmth, this new woven capsule of life in modern day has captured the stories of those in need and has offered assistance in many forms.

Our tapestry grows daily. It is exciting to see the story unfold as we eagerly anticipate the future beauty of its beneficial design. The colorful threads mingling with the warp strength of our Donors all led by the Charlotte Community Foundation loom as the center for philanthropy.

The tapestries of the lives of many of our neighbors haven’t been woven with gold threads. In fact, their stories aren’t complete. Solutions are still needed to improve difficult circumstances. The necessary work of the over 200 nonprofits in Charlotte County relies on the generosity of the many caring donors who have created funds at Charlotte Community Foundation, as well as those who simply donate directly. Each caring as much as the other.

The weaving of the tapestry is continuous. The plot unfolds. The story improves. One warp thread and one weft thread after another, we think of both as gold, working together to create a beautiful story.

The tapestry of philanthropy, the story of many interwoven lives and circumstances, with happy endings often resulting.

The Charlotte Community Foundation’s vision to continue our tapestry’s story of connecting people who care with causes that matter includes the following goals:

  • To raise $2.5 million over the next 25 months, beginning in this, our 25th Anniversary Year. A portion of these funds will assist us in administering a Community- wide Needs and Asset Assessment that will be a tool to allow us to look at our entire County’s landscape. The resulting plan will be used now, as well as 25 years from now, to ensure that we become a responsive, as opposed to a reactive, community.
  • To grow a larger philanthropic family by welcoming new fund and grant makers from among our friends and neighbors so that we may continue to create lasting impacts through increased grant making.

We are honored to be your center for philanthropy in Charlotte County. We ask you to join us in reaching these beneficial goals that will allow us to help our family of nonprofit organizations continue their good work enhancing the beautiful fabric of our community. With your help we will do it!

Ashley Maher
Executive Director
Charlotte Community Foundation

Letter From Our Chairman

Happy New Year!  As 2019 came to a close we recognized the successes of your Charlotte Community Foundation and offer sincerest thanks for your ongoing interest and support.

As Chairman of the Charlotte Community Foundation Board of Directors, I take great pride in our organization’s unique role in guiding Donor gifts to fill the greatest needs in our community. In 2019, many generous individuals and organizations partnered with us to support their favorite charities, projects, and causes within eight key focus areas: Education, Community Development, Health & Wellness, Human & Social Services, Arts & Culture, Youth Development, Natural Environment, and Animal Welfare.

Over the past year these gifts have made a significant impact, including $542,584.71 provided to a variety of nonprofit organizations, 27 awarded scholarships valued at over $100,000 made the dreams of as many students achievable, and our Agency Funds increased by over $140,000.  The collaboration of CCF, Donors, and Grant Recipients brings the community together in a powerful way, creating intentional philanthropy and improving the quality of life for all. 

On behalf of the Charlotte Community Foundation Board and staff, I wish you the very best and ask you to please join us for our 25th anniversary celebration in 2020! Details will be shared soon. Thank you again for continuing to trust us to steward your gifts, honor your charitable intentions, and benefit Charlotte County.


Lew Bennett
Chairman, Board of Directors

Your CCF Team

Leadership Team

Ashley Maher
Executive Director

Suzanne Herron
Chief Financial Officer

Justin Brand
Director of Community Engagement


Tonie Waters
Executive Assistant

Georganna Dodd
Administrative Assistant

2019-2020 Board of Directors

Lew Bennett

Jane Washburn
Vice Chair

Kim Savasuk

Robert Peterson

Laura Amendola

Jill McCrory

W. Craig Esterly

Bill Hawley

Lucienne Pears

Mark Draper

Brenda Lynch

Military Heritage Museum


The Military Heritage Museum is a treasure available to all residents of Charlotte County as well as to visitors from near and far. It shares the lesson that “Freedom isn’t Free”, by educating and inspiring all who pass through its doors.  Through permanent and rotating exhibits, interactive activities displayed in 4 themed galleries and with tours conducted by veterans, we learn about the conditions of war and the sacrifices made by the service men and women who lived it.  Some of these brave people may have been relatives of yours.  Since the opening on December 7, 2001, fittingly, Pearl Harbor Day, donations and funding have assisted with operating costs. A recent move to a much larger free-standing facility was made possible in part by a donation from someone very special, Ruth D. “Wallie” Spatz.

As a young woman living in Los Angeles during WWII she donated a unique talent to the war effort. Wallie was a silhouette artist; she had the ability to cut portrait silhouettes in duplicate. She sat for hours creating them for service men and women before their deployments. During this time she met her future husband, Hugo D. Spatz, who saw action in Normandy for 2 years. After his return home they were married.  This time in her life was so meaningful to her that after Hugo’s passing in 2000, Wallie established the Dr. Hugo D. and Ruth D. “Wallie” Spatz Endowment Fund to both honor her husband and to benefit the Military Heritage Museum.  It was her desire that as many veterans as possible be honored during their lifetimes. She also wanted the lesson of the Museum, “Freedom isn’t Free”, and one very important to her, to be continuously shared. 

“It is fair to say, that it is unlikely we would be in this new facility if it were not for Wallie’s transformational gift to the Charlotte Community Foundation on behalf of the Military Heritage Museum.”

Gary Butler, Executive Director of the Military Heritage Museum stated, “It is fair to say, that it is unlikely we would be in this new facility if it were not for Wallie’s transformational gift to the Charlotte Community Foundation on behalf of the Military Heritage Museum.“  Wallie’s gifts included immediate funds and matching funds.  To date the total amount of the contributions is over $1,100,000.

Although Wallie passed away before she could see the new location, her legacy gift will continue to benefit the Museum and the countless daily and future visitors, as well as to honor all veterans, including Dr. Hugo Spatz, those still among us and those who have passed.

This philanthropic partnership encompasses 2 nonprofit organizations, the Dr. Hugo D. Spatz and Ruth D. “Wallie” Spatz Endowment Fund and many donations from residents in our county and from visitors from beyond.  It is a strong example of the beneficial results of what legacy funds entrusted to a foundation, like CCF, donations from caring people and a committed organization, with an important lesson and a vision, can do when a partnership is created. We hope that this will inspire many other people with dreams to help their neighbors, to partner with CCF to help achieve their charitable goals.

Agency Partners

What Is An Agency Fund?

It is a fund established by a nonprofit with a foundation, like Charlotte Community Foundation, that offers certain benefits.

Why Would A Nonprofit Take Some Of Their Donations Out Of Their Account To Give It To A Foundation? 

This decision is made to ensure that over time the organization will remain fiscally healthy.  By partnering with a foundation through an agency fund, in addition to the enhanced pooled investment opportunity, there are the benefits of administrative/back office support duties as well as asset protection from legal action, development and other legal services.  Donors appreciate that a nonprofit will take this step to remain viable so that their causes will continue to receive the money they have designated.

Charlotte County Homeless Coalition

To alleviate and prevent hunger and homelessness. 
Partner since 7-28-10

Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association

To enhance the quality of life in PGI as a vibrant and unique waterfront community. 
Partner since 8-5-13

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center

To raise public awareness of the value of our natural and cultural resources by providing environmental education, recreation, research, and management of conservation lands.
Partners since 9-26-13

Harry Chapin Food Bank

To lead our community in the fight to end hunger.
Partner since 3-11-14

Vietnam Wall Care & Maintenance Endowment

(Vietnam Wall Of Southwest Florida)

These Funds are for the care, maintenance and improvement of this approx. ½ scale replica of “The Wall”. It is a tribute to those 58,000 men and women who served and sacrificed during this War.
Partners since 10/24/16 & 12-6-17

Boys & Girls Club Agency Fund

(Boys And Girls Club Of Charlotte County):
As a leading youth development agency and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte County serves the community through programs that provide local youth a fun, positive, and constructive environment.
Partner since 7-7-17

Punta Gorda Symphony Orchestra

The Punta Gorda Symphony engages and connects our community through orchestral music and enhances its visibility as a cultural center of interest, vitality, and importance.
Partner since 9-28-17

Charlotte County Habitat For Humanity

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Partners since 10-25-17

Fred Lang Foundation

The Fred Lang Foundation seeks to aid individuals to find the “hope for a brighter tomorrow” through effective behavioral health and addiction treatment. Funds raised by the Foundation will be used by Charlotte Behavioral Health Care to provide services in Charlotte County and to grow an endowment fund to assure continued services.
Partner since 11-10-17

Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic

To provide no-cost volunteer Medical, Pharmacy and Wellness Services to the under-insured in Charlotte County.
Partners since 9-24-18

United Way Foundation Of Charlotte County

By mobilizing the power of our community partners, we are building a connected network of resources to be accessed when people need them most.
Partner since 11-1-18


Providing food and hygiene items without cost to those persons in need living with HIV/AIDS & their dependents.
Partner since 5-13-19

Animal Welfare League Of Charlotte County Inc. Agency Fund

To advocate animal protection and welfare.
Partner since 11-4-19

Drug Free Charlotte County

Improving the health and wellness of our community through our expertise in substance abuse prevention and our ability to build and sustain strong partnerships.
Partner since 11-27-19

Charlotte Community Foundation’s

Scholarship Program

The Charlotte Community Foundation is proud to announce that the 2020 Scholarship Cycle began accepting applications starting on January 1, 2020, closing on February 14, 2020 at 5pm.

In 2019 the Charlotte Community Foundation awarded over $100,000 in higher education scholarships thanks to our generous Donors. CCF offers more than 12 types of scholarships in a range of studies from general education, health professions, dentistry, engineering and much more.

Those who wish to apply, please go to our website,, or email for more information.

2020-2021 Scholarship Timeline

01/01/20    Scholarship Applications Open

02/14/20   Scholarship Applications Close at 5:00pm

03/18/20   Scholarship Recipients Notified

04/29/20   Reception to Honor Recipients & Donors



There is hope for these youngsters through a program called SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words), that is a proven intervention program that was designed to assist new as well as struggling older readers, from kindergarten through grade 12.

Reading is the basis for learning.  Many students, however, struggle with even the basics and reading is a chore instead of something that they enjoy.

The program provides a structured approach that focuses on foundational skills instructional routines.

They provide explicit, literacy-based routines in phonological awareness, spelling-sounds, and sight words.  Dyslexia is often to blame for reading problems and this program offers a systematic scope and sequence in an accelerative approach that supports these students as well as those with decoding issues.

Comprehension is necessary for learning.  Through daily use of the SIPPS lessons that include reading practice in texts appropriate for each level, students achieve accuracy and automaticity that subsequently allows them to concentrate on comprehension.

The 4 levels are Beginning, Extension, Challenge and Plus.  Each level works with decoding instruction starting in the first level with phonological awareness, short vowels, single consonants and sight words,that is designed for kindergarten through grade 3.

The levels offer the appropriate decoding instruction based on development and grade level and can be used for intervention as well. In the PLUS level students receive continuing instruction and are given age-appropriate and compelling reading selections.

The Charlotte Community Foundation has through several of our generous Donors, supported education programs.  We feel that SIPPS is a most worthwhile program that contributes to the learning of necessary skills that provide benefit for the welfare of our students and as a result for the welfare of our county. Our goal is to encourage caring people to donate to the SIPPS program.

One of the Funds that we administer, the Mark Hamsher Family Fund, as well as other generous Donors, has supported a school in the past. At present we have the funding for Punta Gorda Middle School and Vineland Elementary.

In order to support the SIPPS Program and in turn, more schools like Peace River Elementary and Neil Armstrong Elementary, we need to raise $20,000.  Education is one of the best gifts anyone can give or receive.  Reading and comprehension are essential skills that form the basis of learning.  Without these the hope of further education, the chance for a good job and a responsible, successful life are all but impossible.

By donating to a program that has the tools to turn the impossible into the possible, you could be giving the gift of a dream come true to dozens of struggling students.  By connecting those who care with causes that matter, the Charlotte Community Foundation is poised to help you make it happen. Please consider making this donation that will allow us to give one of the best gifts of all-a successful future life.

Your donations to this program could give the gift of a successful education to struggling students.