As one of the founding financial partners behind Future Ready Collier, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has a uniquely empirical perspective on collective impact at work, as well as deep community connections that both speak to and evolve from such strategic, networked energetic investment. At the outset of the conversations that gave rise to Future Ready Collier, the Schulze Family Foundation, long led locally by Mary Beth Geier, saw the value of collaborative conversation, whereby each participant can openly say what they know that’s helpful, balanced by what they don’t know that they need help with. Coming together, sharing knowledge, and moving along a coordinated, forward-looking path are key characteristics of Future Ready Collier’s origins and ongoing success.
“How can we do better together?” This question posed during Future Ready Collier’s conceptualization remains a guiding principle of the network’s daily work. As a founding partner, the United Way of Collier and the Keys (formerly the United Way of Collier County) has been instrumental in Future Ready Collier’s evolution. Uniquely positioned as both a local grantmaker and direct services provider, the United Way understands the criticality of local connection. The collaboration engendered by and through Future Ready Collier has a compounding effect, enabling the United Way and similar entities to better understand and subsequently address regional need.