Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, brings a face of hope and powerful words of encouragement to every event where she shares a vision. She will bring that same energized message to the podium as the keynote speaker for the Hope Clubhouse “Faces of Hope Who Give” Mental Health Luncheon Oct. 28 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers.
The “Faces of Hope Who Give” event is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale for $100 and available at hopeclubhouse.org. Sponsorship opportunities are also available on the website.
Hope Clubhouse is a non-profit which provides a pathway of hope for hundreds challenged by mental health issues.
Among the mental health areas Owen plans to address are:
- The economic impact mental health can have on local businesses.
- The perception of mental health and its impact on those suffering from it and those trying to understand the challenges.
Owen remembers an email, which went viral several years ago, profiling an employee, who told her boss she wanted to take a “mental health” day. Owen said the fact the boss was supportive of the employee using the day to address her challenges, just like he would be for an employee using time for a physical illness, was embraced by thousands of people who understood the need.
“That really resonated with people,” Owen said. Businesses need to support individuals experiencing mental illness. “It goes to the vitality of the community.”
Owen’s leadership the past eight years at the community foundation has helped bring communities and organizations together through conversation and building partnerships that create a stake in the issue and find solutions. Under Owen, the foundation continues to award thousands in grants to non-profits each year. Last year, the foundation moved into the historic Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot in downtown Fort Myers, where a massive renovation project resulted in the Collaboratory, creating a gathering place for many organizations in the community to share ideas and build futures.
Her tireless efforts have built an eye-popping resume. She is the past chair of the Community Foundations of Florida. She is a Florida Delegate for the National Vision 20/20 Initiative, a board member of the Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance and serves on the Healthy Lee Steering Committee. The 2016 News-Press Person of the Year also advises many other successful non-profits.