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Pallotta Champion’s Breakfast Talk

By October 2, 2020No Comments3 min read

Dan Pallotta, a renowned author and TED talk speaker on philanthropy and innovation, knows how to inspire an audience!  At the annual 2020 Breakfast of Champions Meeting in September, Dan participated in a Q&A session related to the FutureMakers Coalition topic “55%: A Bold Goal” and challenged us to aspire to achieve the impossible.  Dan recounted President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 appeal to the nation to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before the end of that decade.  In the early 1960’s, the scale of a lunar journey was mind-boggling and no one ever contemplated such a feat, but President Kennedy changed the context of how to approach identifying and overcoming the myriad of seemingly insurmountable hurdles.  The audacity of setting such an impossible goal ultimately inspired a broad cadre of experts to create a roadmap to the moon and back – a vision that was realized in July 1969.

So, it leaves us to wonder – what if the small handful of dedicated professionals and community advocates decided NOT to launch the FutureMakers Coalition in March 2015?  What if the bold goal of transforming Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications and other high-quality credentials to 55% by 2025 had never been spoken?  The answer – our 55% working revolution to support a more diversified and resilient economy and an improved quality of life for Southwest Florida would have never gotten off the ground.  Instead,

  • Approximately 100 organizations and over 300 FutureMakers representing business, education, government, nonprofits, philanthropy, residents, and students have joined forces to establish a strong network of problem-solvers and change agents.
  • 20 Action Teams (and counting!) have developed and implemented dozens of individual initiatives – both large and small – to remove educational and workforce barriers for Southwest Florida residents.
  • The FutureMakers Coalition awarded over $100,000 in gap funding in the past three years to help students overcome the financial barriers to obtaining a high-quality credential.
  • Southwest Florida joined a growing list of 25 other communities in the USA that have been designated as Talent Hubs by the Lumina Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

And this is only a small sample of the bold accomplishments from the FutureMakers Coalition’s inspired network!

Since 2013, the percentage of skilled workforce among working-age adults in Southwest Florida increased from 39.0% to 41.2% (or nearly 31,000 credentialed workers were added to the Southwest Florida talent pool) – so we have much more work to do to achieve our 55% working revolution.  But, we are not deterred from our “impossible” goal!  Join us on this critical mission!  Please consider helping to fund the FutureMakers Coalition’s efforts.  Funding information can be found on the FutureMakers Coalition website at  Thank you!