As the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation (SWFLCF), FPRA SWFL Chapter Member Dan Whicker says that he is finally able to use all of the skills in his professional toolbox. “Moving around a lot has enabled me to develop many different skills in marketing, advertising and public relations, but it wasn’t until I started at the Community Foundation one year ago that I was able to fully utilize all that I’ve learned in my fifteen-year career as a communications professional.”
During that career, Dan put together a toolbox of skills that includes graphic design, Web design, writing, PR, campaign development, business management and photography just to name a few. He both enhanced and used his skills in positions that were just as varied—from working in civilian military to state government to private sector financial services. Still, Dan points out a common thread. “All of those positions were with not-for-profit organizations that dealt with the needs of people. It’s no surprise that I find myself working for an organization like the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. It’s basically a nonprofit community foundation that helps people through grants to other nonprofits.”
For those who don’t know, a community foundation is a nonprofit, independent organization created by and for local citizens to benefit their community. As Dan explains it, “the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a tax-exempt, public charity that serves thousands of people who share a common interest—improving the quality of life in the communities of Southwest Florida. Individuals, families, businesses and organizations create permanently endowed charitable funds that help our communities to meet the challenges of changing times, and the Community Foundation invests and administers those funds. On the other side of that are the grants that the organization awards to local nonprofits that are on the front lines, supporting things like education, the environment, arts and culture, animal welfare, historic preservation and human services.”
Like most PR and marketing professionals, Dan is always juggling projects. “In addition to the other work of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we support two divisions—the Bonita Springs Community Foundation and the Good Neighbor Community Foundation of Sanibel-Captiva—and we also launched the Women’s Legacy Fund a few years ago. Despite the recent problems in the market, we’re poised for growth. We operate lean, and our small staff has big ideas. It keeps me hopping, but I love it.”
Dan came to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation from the Richmond, VA, area in December 2008. Originally from Florida, Dan and his wife decided that it was finally time to come back home. In his position at SWFLCF, Dan is responsible for media contacts, general and targeted marketing, development of Community Foundation websites and printed publications, and communications. He lives in Fort Myers with his wife of 15 years, Ann Marie, and their two young, active sons, Dax and Vance.