Welcome to Uncommon Friends!

Our Mission

The Uncommon Friends Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization established in 1993, is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. Its mission is to promote character education in schools, business ethics in the workplace and historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and James Newton Archives.

Right: Yvonne Caldwell using the UFF curriculum with students.

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.

A MUST SEE: Check out Newton’s archives and artifacts in great detail, now available digitally online at Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU’s Digital Exhibit

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 a our annual Business Ethics Award that goes to an outstanding business 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 almost 500 scholarships to students in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry Counties that have financial need, the potential to succeed, and demonstrate the following personal traits: 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

The Uncommon Evening Gala is the Foundation’s Annual Signature Event, raising funds to support its efforts for character education, business ethics, scholarships, and historical preservation. The event features scholarship awards, teacher recognition for championing character education, and presentation to one local business which exemplifies high ethical standards. The Gale McBride Pavilion at the Burroughs Home and Gardens’ historical, riverfront setting is the host of one of the grandest social events of the season.

Uncommon Evening “Reflections on the River” is November 8, 2018, from 6-9 pm. This year we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Foundation.

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2018 Sponsor

Storm Smart is the Jim & Ellie Newton Presenting Sponsor of 2018 Uncommon Evening.

Uncommon Evening “Reflections on the River” is on Nov. 8th, 2018 and celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Foundation. Save the Date!