Welcome to Uncommon Friends Foundation

A spirit of adventure, a sense of purpose and a commitment to positive values and unending personal growth are the building blocks of the Uncommon Friends Foundation Inc. These noble personality traits were exhibited by some of the greatest men of the 20th century – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh – and were elaborated on by author Jim Newton, who dubbed this band of visionaries his “Uncommon Friends.”

The Foundation’s passion and goal is to see that the arresting qualities of these historic and bold men continue to be embraced today and for the generations to come. As Jim Newton proclaimed,”The best is yet to be!” This is the Uncommon Friends Foundation.

Our Mission

The Uncommon Friends Foundation inspires future leaders toward excellence of character, a spirit of innovation, and a sense of purpose.

To make a tax deductible secure donation, click the “Donate” button.

Character Education

Character education is about celebrating and teaching positive human qualities … qualities that lead to productive lives and a thriving society. Good character doesn’t just happen; it must be taught and modeled. Many states, in fact, mandate the teaching of character education in schools. Uncommon Friends Foundation is dedicated to character education and has as its mission instilling ethics, moral values, and a sense of purpose in tomorrow’s leaders. The Foundation’s Character Education Program teaches such traits as honesty, integrity, friendship, cooperation, and perseverance.

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Business Ethics

In offices and boardrooms across America, businessmen and women are working hard at more than just improving company profits—they are shaping the character, work ethics and integrity of their corporate culture. We help support this effort through business ethics roundtables and our annual Business Ethics Award that goes to an outstanding business in Lee and surrounding counties that exhibits a commitment to business ethics at all levels of the organization, among its industry peers, and within its community.

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Historic Preservation

The Uncommon Friends Foundation collects, preserves and exhibits archival and three-dimensional materials related to James D. and Eleanor Forde Newton and their relationships with the Uncommon Friends–Thomas A. and Mina Edison, Henry and Clara Ford, Harvey and Isabelle Firestone, Dr. Alexis and Anne–Marie Carrel, and Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

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The Foundation’s scholarship program has awarded over 500 scholarships to students in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry Counties who have a financial need, the potential to succeed, and demonstrate a spirit of adventure, a sense of purpose, a commitment to unending personal improvement, and a commitment to help others. The scholarship program was initially funded by a donation from Mrs. Berne Davis, who continued to support the scholarship fund until her passing. The scholarship fund continues to be funded by contributions from other generous members of the community.

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Annual Gala on the River

Uncommon Evening is the Foundation’s annual signature event that raises funds to support its efforts year round in character education, business ethics, student scholarships, and historic preservation of the property. The event features scholarship awards, honors for teachers who champion character education in our schools, and finishes with the announcement of the winner of our Business Ethics Award that goes to a local business that has demonstrated high ethical standards in the workplace. It is one of the grandest events of the season and is held at the outdoor Gale McBride Pavilion on the riverfront grounds of the Burroughs Home and Gardens located at 2505 First Street in the historic Fort Myers River District.

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Spectacular Event Venue

Our NEW Gale McBride Pavilion and the majestic Burroughs Home & Gardens overlooking the Caloosahatchee River are available for guided tours and may be rented for public and private events to help support our philanthropic mission. Lush, manicured gardens stretch out to the sparkling water, framed by the changing colors of nature to create the perfect backdrop for weddings and celebrations, elegant parties, business conferences, workshops and other events. The pavilion’s neutral color palette gives party planners incredible flexibility to choose colors and furnishings to set the mood. Let us help you craft your next special event.

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Royal Palm Yacht Club Ladies Visit Burroughs Home

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Uncommon Evening 2011

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Champion Teachers

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Business Ethics Award Recipients

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Historic Images

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Honorary Lifetime Membership Winners

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Uncommon Friends Membership Meeting 2011

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Business Ethics Luncheon 2012

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Business Ethics Lunch 2016 at FGCU

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Annual Meeting 2012

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Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2012

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2016 Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2016

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2018 Scholarship Reception

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2018 Reflections on the River Gala

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2019 Business Ethics Luncheon at FGCU

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2019 Uncommon Evening: Pearls of Wisdom

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