By Richard Weinstein, President & COO
Ocean Reef Community Foundation

I fish. If you ask if “I go fishing,” I will immediately respond that “I fish.” I am also a boater, at one time holding a Coast Guard Captain’s license. Like many in the Keys “I boat.” I am a woodworker as well. These are things that I DO. But if you ask me if I “play golf,” I will respond that I am “learning the game.” It doesn’t matter that I have owned golf clubs for over 30 years and played on some amazing courses. It is not something that I just “DO.” I feel that I have a long way to go. Same for tennis, my doubles partners will confirm that!

Similarly, I have owned my 1973 D35 Martin guitar since it was new, and still say I am “working at the guitar.” I am “learning the piano.” These are the things I enjoy and continue to practice but do not yet feel accomplished in them. I am not sure when, or if, that time will ever come. I am not a professional race car driver, but I would not answer that I am “learning to drive” when asked about taking to the highway. I am neither learning nor interested in computers, yet I use one in some form or another every day – relatively successfully – despite the fact that I am pretty sure that all of technology is quietly conspiring against me.

I am learning about philanthropy. As I sit in our Grants Committee meetings I listen intently to what our Member participants find attractive about a particular grant. Or what doesn’t seem to suit the Foundation’s clear mission and where the passions lie. The funds we raise with the All Charities Weekend in February are carefully vetted, and this maximizes the value delivered to our surrounding communities. Our Grants Committee has “learned,” over time, the best application of the funds and just the right questions to ponder as they make the very difficult decision to choose one meaningful cause, sometimes in lieu of another. Even though we feel we raise the right amount, there is a nagging feeling that we could have done just a little bit more if we had just a little more funding.

So, we are always on the lookout for the right Preferred Partners, for just one more live or silent auction item, for that exciting experience that Members will covet and bid aggressively to win at auction. Perhaps you have just that silent auction item or unique connection that could create a one-of-a-kind live auction item, something priceless and unobtainable by any other means that could provide the extra opportunity to fund a worthy grant that might otherwise go unfulfilled.

If you would like to “learn” more about the Ocean Reef Community Foundation and our All Charities “One Ask, One Give” fundraising event in February, please reach out to any of us. We are just a reply email away. Or stop by our office adjacent to the Club’s Membership Office in the Executive Office building on Ocean Reef Drive. I would offer to take you out fishing on my new bay boat as I am now “learning the Backcountry.” I am not sure where those fish are, but I will surely let you know when I find them!