In February 2000, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation was formed as an affiliate fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The purpose was to support and promote educational, wildlife, environmental, literary, cultural and charitable programs for area residents of Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
Francis Bailey agreed to be the first president, and along with a board of 11 other local community leaders, worked to identify local charitable needs. That year, over 100 islanders joined the Bailey Society, the membership arm of the Foundation, and an additional $22,000 was distributed in grants through the Good Neighbor Fund to help those in need.
The local Community Foundation also made three grants that year, totaling $30,000, to the Sanibel School Fund, the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, and C.R.O.W., the local wildlife hospital.
Over time, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation began to analyze and assess the growing charitable needs of the community and recognized that the sustainability of the non-profit community could be significantly impacted by broadening its mission and changing its organizational structure. In 2011, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation was reorganized to become the Charitable Foundation of the Islands, and under the leadership of Board President Al Hanser, CFI funded grants for non-profit capacity building, capital projects, operating support, program expansion, endowment, scholarships, special projects, and emergency needs.
No longer a membership organization, the Charitable Foundation of the Islands now received much of its support from 2000 to 2019 through the generosity of The Sanctuary Golf Club and their annual Sanctuary Charity Classic, held each year in January. Proceeds from this event allow the Charitable Foundation of the Islands to promote philanthropy and build a spirit of community to enhance the quality of life on Sanibel and Captiva Islands for now and for generations to come.
SINCE 2000, CFI AND ITS PREDESSORS HAVE DISTRIBUTED
MORE THAN $3 MILLION IN GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
TO THOSE IN NEED ON OUR ISLANDS.
Grants and emergency funds have been made available to support basic human needs, including food, housing, healthcare, and mental health. Capacity building grants have been made to 12 non-profit organizations on Sanibel and Captiva. Participation in the City of Sanibel Scholarship Program has improved the accessibility of a quality college education for those in need. Plus, emergency funds have been set aside to help non-profit organizations that have experienced unanticipated expenses, often after a disaster.