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Community Cooperative’s Stefanie Ink Edwards appointed to Volunteer Florida

Stefanie Ink Edwards, CEO of Community Cooperative, has been appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to a three-year term on the Florida Commission on Community Service, also known as Volunteer Florida.

“I’m honored to serve the people of Florida and help make an even greater impact throughout our region and state,” Edwards said of the appointment. “Florida nonprofits are successful through the work of many, many volunteers, and as organization leaders, we have learned about the collective power of volunteers in everyday service and especially in disasters like Hurricane Ian.”

Community Cooperative established the Lee County Strong Hurricane Relief Fund the day Hurricane Ian made landfall to provide displaced residents and families with food and basic needs, as well as assist hurricane victims with additional resources and long-term recovery assistance. The fund got the attention of The Joel Foundation by singer/songwriter Billy Joel and his wife Alexis, which donated $250,000 to the fund and allowed for Community Cooperative to help meet the needs of many families who lost their homes and jobs due to the hurricane.

Edwards was recognized by DeSantis in 2022 with the Spirit of Community Award by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW) for her positive impact and serving as a positive role model for her work with Community Cooperative as well as volunteer work for other organizations, including the PACE Center for Girls Lee County, the American Cancer Society, Girls Going Places, Lee County Continuum of Care Governing Board Member, Lee Health Foundation, Fort Myers High School, Florida Gulf Coast University, Greater Fort Myers Chamber Women in Business, Leadership Lee County, Lee County Planned Giving Council, IMAG Science and History Center, United Way of Lee County and Fort Myers Woman’s Community Club.

Edwards is a graduate of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University and received her master’s degree from the University of Florida. She oversees all of Community Cooperative’s operations, fundraising, development and volunteer programs that include 2,500 volunteers with more than 45,000 hours annually.

Volunteer Florida receives over $25 million in federal and state funding to support efforts to expand national service, promote disaster resiliency and advocate for volunteerism in Florida. The agency is guided by a bipartisan board of Commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate.

After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, Volunteer Florida evolved to serve as the state’s lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters. The Volunteer Florida Foundation also manages the Florida Disaster Fund, the official fund for aiding Florida’s communities after disasters.

The commission serves as an advisory board to the Governor and Cabinet, the Legislature and appropriate state agencies and entities on matters relating to volunteerism and community service.

About Community Cooperative

Since 1984, Community Cooperative has worked to effectively eliminate hunger and homelessness in southwest Florida while simultaneously inspiring and supporting sustained positive change in its clients by delivering innovative food, education, and social service programs. With a dedicated team of volunteers, board of directors and staff, Community Cooperative stays committed to its core responsibility to collect and distribute resources through a strong and viable network of community partners. Community Cooperative is an exemplary steward of the resources entrusted to it and serves clients with compassion and integrity. Through collaboration and ongoing education, Community Cooperative supports and strengthens those whose lives have been affected by hunger and homelessness, ensuring that they have access to the resources necessary to transform their lives with dignity. For information, visit CommunityCooperative.com.

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