CFI Nonprofit Employee Assistance Program Now Accepting Applications

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

The combined creativity and brain power of leaders of Sanibel and Captiva’s nonprofit groups has proven to be a powerful force when it comes to assisting those needing help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Executive directors and key leadership staff of the Islands’ nonprofits came up with the idea to create a Nonprofit Employee Assistance Program that launched in November. The program will help employees of nonprofit partners throughout Sanibel and Captiva islands whose lives were devastated by the storm that lashed the area with Category 4 fury on Sept. 28.

The idea came about during a biweekly zoom call with the nonprofit leaders organized by Dolly Farrell, CFI’s new executive director, shortly after the storm.

These zoom calls were a natural progression from the strategic planning CFI offered during a day-long session held on September 20th, just days before the storm. “We came away with several ideas for collaboration but more importantly, we had built the roadmap for the partnerships that will be needed as we navigate our recovery,” Farrell said.

CFI’s current and former board members along with their Donor Advised Fund partners offered a match of up to $100,000 to launch the program. The 1:1 match was successfully met before the Dec. 15 deadline, with gifts still arriving from donors both locally and across the United States. “We are blown away by the outpouring of support,” CFI Board Chair Chip Roach said.

Two champions of the program are Executive Directors James Evans of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and Alison Charney Hussey who heads the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). Their nonprofit organizations also contributed $5,000 each to help launch the program.

“About one-third of the SCCF staff has been displaced,” said Evans. “This is a wonderful way to show how grateful we are for the critical work that all our nonprofits’ employees provide to our community.”

Alison Charney Hussey was equally grateful for the program and the rapid response.

“We can’t thank CFI enough for the generosity and speed with which the funds were raised,” she said. “Our CROW staff, as well as the teams from the other nonprofit organizations, can begin to rebuild their lives.”

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, the nonprofit organization that provides a food pantry, social services and education to those who live and work on Sanibel and Captiva, will oversee the application process and distribute the funds.

“F.I.S.H.’s. structure lends itself to this type of program. We are eager to assist those who work so hard for the benefit of the islands,” said Maria Espinosa, F.I.S.H. executive director.

Applications for grants are available here. Distribution to those who qualify will begin immediately. Applicants’ anonymity will be maintained. Qualified individuals can apply for up to $2,500 in assistance.

For more information, visit Hurricane Ian Response and Resources — Charitable Foundation of the Islands

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