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Earn to Learn FL; is a Community Contribution Tax Credit Program Project

Earn to Learn FL™ is a Community Contribution Tax Credit Program Project

Bonita Springs, FL – March 18, 2019

The Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation’s Earn to Learn FL ™ Project was approved by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to participate in the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTPC). Florida businesses will be eligible for sales tax credit or business income tax credit when they make a charitable donation to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation earmarked for Earn to Learn FL™ CCTCP. The business tax credit will be up to 50% of the donation, in addition to other benefits associated with a charitable donation.

The Earn to Learn FL™ CCTCP project will provide financial aid and money management training to students attending Immokalee Technical College, Fort Myers Technical College, and S.W. Florida Public Safety Service Academy. Eligible students save up to $500 of their earnings to be matched by up to $4,000 Earn to Learn FL™ financial aid to complete their Career and Technical Education at one of the participating technical colleges. Earn to Learn FL™ financial aid will be renewed on an annual basis until graduation for students who remain eligible and continue to save up to $500 each year to secure up to $4,000 renewal matches.

Collier County Board of Commissioners and Fort Myers City Council unanimously approved resolutions supporting the project that will benefit low-income students in their communities. Earn to Learn FL™ empowers low-income students to complete their Career and Technical Education. As a result, students become investors in their own future, breaking the cycle of limited family income and improving their earning potential.

For additional information about opportunities to invest in Earn to Learn FL™ CCTCP students contact: Mary Moore at (239) 908-0301 or or visit


About Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation

The Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation, serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties, is the only non-profit in Southwest Florida focused on women and girls and was the first to publish academic research assessing the status of women in the area. The Women’s Foundation invests in programs that educate, boost entrepreneurship and advocate for policies to elevate the status of women and girls. For more information, visit or email Follow the Women's Foundation online at and on

About Earn to Learn FL™, an initiative of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation

Earn to Learn FL™ supports low to moderate income students in earning a post-secondary degree or certificate while escaping the burden of student loan debt. The program is structured so that students contribute mandatory savings of up to $500, which is then matched with up to $4,000 in financial aid funds through Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation. Earn to Learn FL™ financial aid will be renewed on an annual basis until graduation for students who remain eligible and continue to save up to $500 each year to secure up to $4,000 renewal matches. The program incorporates financial literacy training for each of the students to ensure that they are prepared for long-term success. Not only does it assist students to achieve graduation on time, but also helps them enter the job market with little or no student loans.



5 Productivity Apps that Will Help You Grow Your Empire!

Making the transition from employee to entrepreneur isn’t always seamless. When you first start your business, it’s easy to find yourself wasting a lot of time doing menial tasks.  As a leader, you know that you need to get things done, but when none is there to motivate you or keep you on track, it’s easy to fall behind.

We understand you, we’ve been there. That’s why this month, we’re sharing some of our favorite tools and solutions to improve your productivity.

Here Are 5 Apps that Will Help You Stay Productive with Your Emerging Business

  1. Noisli ​
    Improve your focus and get things done with ambiance sound playlists designed to help you relax or be productive with no distracting songs. This app is AMAZING! You can create your perfect productivity environment or select one of their three options (random, productivity or relaxation) Save the sounds you love and play them every time you need to tune out the word and tune into your business. 
  2. Freedom ​
    Block all the distractions on your computer or phone in just minutes. Select the apps you waste the most time with by making a list of your app and website weaknesses (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or even the whole internet). This app is a game changer if you need a personalized way to better manage your time!
  3. Last Pass ​
    Last pass is a must-have for entrepreneurs. It’s a password manager where you can store all your usernames and passwords, so you never have to spend time resetting codes or struggling with your memory. You can also share or remove access to specific accounts with your peers without giving them your passwords. Last Pass is a highly secure way to keep all of your login information in one place. No more time wasted trying to recover access to your accounts!
  4. Wunderlist ​
    The king of all to-do list apps. User-friendly with a very simply interface. Enter your to-do’s and check them when you’re done, simple, but effective. You can create lists from e-mails, organize them by folder and even share them. Also, its super easy to synchronize so you can keep track of all your tasks for the day. Both on your phone and your computer. 
  5. Office 365
    This is the control center of our business and we highly recommend it. It is a huge productivity suite that comes with different apps and programs you can use for your business. Apps like Planner where you can work with people in your organization and keep track of daily tasks. You can also attach documents, images, and notes. Your membership also gives you access to OneDrive a cloud-based service where you can store all the documents you need in one place. Office 365 also gives you access to most of Office’s products such as PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and Excel. All the apps are available on iOS and Android so you can keep track of your business while on the go.

RedCoach And FGCU Partner Up to Take You

New stop brings students and locals affordable access to routes across Florida
RedCoach, the only luxury motor coach transportation service in Florida, has partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University to provide affordable, long-distance transportation services to students, staff, faculty and residents of the area, opening up easier access to 7 cities throughout the state.

We are very excited about this partnership with the University,” Florencia Cirigliano, VP of Marketing & PR at RedCoach said. “Some customers have been asking to have FGCU as a stop and the University immediately got on board because they believe that our service will be very important to connect with other institutions and cities. Fort Myers is a growing area and we appreciate the opportunity to serve this community who, until now, haven’t had too many public transportation options for traveling within Florida.”

This new route will start on October 3rd, increasing the company’s connectivity between the most important cities and universities in Florida. This route will make it possible for FGCU students and staff to travel directly to FSU, UF, and USF, and vice versa.
“I periodically travel for business from the Fort Myers area to Tallahassee and Tampa,” said Brenda Tate, CEO of Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation. “The new stop with parking on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus will make my RedCoach travel even more convenient and productive. This is a win-win for students and business travelers alike.”
The new stop is about 30 minutes north of the current stop in Naples (which will be discontinued), and will be located at: 10501 FGCU Blvd S, Fort Myers, FL 33965 Parking Garage 2, where travelers can also take advantage of some convenient parking options.

This route will connect Fort Myers with Miami airport, Fort Lauderdale Airport, Tampa, Ocala, Gainesville and Tallahassee. The rates to these locations are as follows:

  • Fort Myers to Miami and Fort Lauderdale as low as $15
  • Fort Myers to Tallahassee as low as $55
  • Fort Myers to Tampa as low as $15
  • Fort Myers to Gainesville as low as $45

Dr James Michael Rollo, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Program Innovation at FGCU was also enthusiastic about this new addition, saying:

Our students do not currently have ready access to long-distance bus service, and this will provide support to over 5000 on-campus students.” He went on to add that:
“This is a new service for FGCU and is one more way our university is improving its support for the student experience. Our campus is remote from the more traditional long-distance bus service and this will provide an opportunity for those with limited resources, or who may not own an automobile, to travel in the state of Florida and get home for the weekend or travel for leisure in a cost-affordable and safe venue.”

For the launch of this new route, RedCoach is offering a 25% discount on travel to and from this location between October 3rd and October 31st, 2018, redeemable on the company’s website – –with the code FGCU2018. (Can’t be combined with other promotions or discounts. Only 5 coupons available per service. Subject to changes at any given time.)

Our services allow travelers to get to their destination for a fraction of the cost while being able to be productive or just relax,” Cirigliano added. “With free Wi-Fi, oversized custom-made reclining leather seats, and 110v power outlets, RedCoach allows students to stay connected and multitask while on the road.”

About RedCoach
RedCoach® is the only luxury motor coach transportation service in Florida that offers first-class comfort without the high costs, long lines or hassle that comes with other forms of transportation. RedCoach offers 13 convenient stops in Florida’s most popular destinations including: Tampa, Miami, Gainesville, Tallahassee and more. Since 2010 RedCoach has transported more than 750,000 passengers throughout Florida and has continued to grow, increasing its stops, services and passenger benefits.


Turning a dark experience into a drive for the future

Two years ago, Yuzellie Garcia decided to return to school to become the person she needed when she was a child.

I graduated in 2012 and spent a few years not knowing what I wanted to do,” said Ms. Garcia.

But when it finally came time to decide what to do, Ms. Garcia sought purpose and meaning from her childhood experiences. Her upbringing wasn’t easy. She grew up in a single parent household with three siblings. Her mom worked three jobs and struggled to make ends meet. She also experienced sexual and emotional abuse.

I’m studying what I’m studying because of the sexual and emotional abuse I endured. Things like being locked in a dark closet all day and growing up with shame, self-blame and guilt. Thinking it was my fault, and not having anyone there to show me that what was going on wasn’t OK, and it wasn’t my fault,” Ms. Garcia said.

She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; she will be attending Florida State University this summer to study criminology and criminal justice and hopes to use her education to work in the human trafficking field. Her journey has led her to find a very clear purpose — to help children who are struggling with abuse. Children in low-income homes, who may be at risk. Children who may need a mentor like herself.

Ms. Garcia is on the path to fulfilling her goal thanks to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation Earn to Learn FL Program. Earn to Learn FL helps low-to-moderate income students earn a higher education with little or no student debt. It’s a simple formula that combines mandatory student savings with financial aid, required financial literacy training and success coaching. Through the program, Ms. Garcia has been able to secure $9,000 to fund her education. She has saved $1,000 of her funds and received an $8,000 match supported by the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and local partners like the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

“The Earn to Learn experience has been amazing; it’s so easy. The application was very fast. The lengthiest thing was the financial literacy course, but that was helpful. It wasn’t something that you would dread to do. The Women’s Foundation worked with me and my circumstances,” said Ms. Garcia.

For students like Ms. Garcia, education is much more than a simple degree. It’s a way to serve and fulfill their purpose. To pay it forward so that future generations have the opportunity to thrive.

Click HERE To support our Earn to Learn Program

Tax Reform Southwest Florida Women's Foundation

How will the Tax Reform Act affect you and your charitable giving?

And how we can help at the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation!

The 503-page tax law became effective this year on January 1. There is time before the end of this tax year – 2018 – to make a difference in your financial outcome by thinking strategically about your charitable giving in 2018. 

If you live in a state with high income and property taxes and you have a mortgage, you could find that you can still itemize and can make use of your charitable deductions. Even if you don’t itemize, here are some strategies to make gifts to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and still receive tax benefits:

  1. You can make larger gifts to charity. Your total deductions may put you close to the threshold where itemizing your deductions offers greater tax benefits than taking the standard deduction. In this case, you might consider making a larger charitable gift to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation so that you can enjoy the additional tax savings that itemizing would offer. 
  2. Use a Donor Advised Fund to deduct now and transfer later. One option is to make a larger gift to your Donor Advised Fund in order to reach your threshold to itemize deductions, and then distribute to your favorite charities at the time that is right for you. If you do not already have a Donor Advised Fund, please consider this option from the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation.
  3. Make gifts of appreciated property such as publicly-traded securities to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation. The new law will still allow you to make gifts of appreciated assets held for at least one year without triggering capital gain tax. If you itemize your deductions, you will get the double tax benefit of an income tax charitable deduction based on the full value of your appreciated assets in addition to capital gains tax avoidance.
  4. Make gifts to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation using the charitable IRA rollover. If you are over 70½, you can make a direct transfer from your traditional IRA or Roth IRA to charity of up to $100,000. You will avoid all income tax on your withdrawal, even if you don’t itemize after the new law.
  5. Make a gift to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation from all or a portion of what’s left in your retirement plan. Assets in your IRA, 401(k), or other qualified retirement plans may be subject to income tax when distributed to heirs. Making a charity a beneficiary of a portion or the entirety of your retirement plan will avoid the income tax that might otherwise be due from your heirs. This is an extremely tax efficient way for you to make gifts to charity that costs your heirs less than giving other kinds of assets.
  6. Include a gift for the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation from your estate. The new tax law retains current law and does not impose limits on estate tax charitable deductions. If you have adequate assets and may be subject to estate tax, you might consider a charitable gift from your will, trust, or other estate planning documents. Such a gift will reduce your estate tax burden.

    You should always contact your accountant or financial planner to understand how the new tax law will affect your individual tax situation. In addition, the members of our Planned Giving Council want to ensure that you make the best decisions to elevate the status of women and their communities. 
    Please feel free to call on any of our Council members to discuss your specific interests, questions or goals related to making a planned gift to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation or contact Brenda Tate at (239) 908-0301 or 
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