Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation is a 501(C) 3, not-for-profit organization. It strives to create an economic climate where residents of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County have access to quality opportunities, with a focus on higher paying jobs in target industries.   


The mission of the Foundation is to improve the lives of residents within Broward County through a number of initiatives to support a strategic plan for economic development. The Foundation is organized exclusively to promote scientific, literary, education and charitable purposes.

Six Pillars Broward

A key objective of the Foundation is to support the goals of the Broward Six Pillars strategic plan, a volunteer led plan to grow jobs and create sustainable communities. The Six Pillars are: Talent Supply and Education, Innovation and Economic Development, Infrastructure and Growth Development, Business Climate and Competitiveness, Civic and Governance Systems, and Quality of Life & Quality Places.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation is led by Board Members:

Ben Wesley
External Affairs Manager, Florida Power & Light

Robert C. (Bob) Swindell
President and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance

Director/Vice President
Mike Moore
Director of Business Development, Tower Commercial Real Estate

Heidi Davis Knapick
Shareholder, GUNSTER

Bill White
Principal, Compass Office Solutions, LLC


Jennifer Bales Drake
Shareholder, Becker

Kathy Koch
Chief Communications Officer, Broward County Public Schools

Jarett Levan
President, BBX Capital

Lonnie Maier
Head of Sales - South Area, Crown Castle

Dr. Jennifer O'Flannery Anderson
President/CEO, Community Foundation of Broward

Recent Alliance Foundation Projects Include:

Prosperity Broward

June 2019 - The Prosperity Broward initiative is an innovative approach in six targeted zip codes (33023, 33069, 33309, 33311, 33313, and 33319) to job training, employment and support services. This will include creating an inventory of wrap-around support services in areas such as transportation, childcare assistance, and other social services in order to ensure residents’ successful transition into the workforce. It will also include small business support in those zip codes. The target audience of eligible participants is defined as individuals who are public assistance recipients, returning citizens, and at-risk youth. The full program is designed to deliver long-term economic benefits to our communities, the hiring of skilled candidates by corporate employers, the on-going guidance of a success coach, and the provision of on-going wrap-around support services in the areas of transportation, success coaching, recruitment, job training, child care, education, and social services. A five (5) month pilot will launch in early August in the City of Fort Lauderdale, followed by the full program launch in January 2020.

Empower Broward™

During the Alliance's 2019 Mid-Year meeting, it was announced that SunTrust Foundation is providing a seventy-five-thousand dollar grant to the Alliance Foundation to help nurture and coach entrepreneurs in Broward County. The grant is currently funding a pilot program with a special focus on entrepreneurs in six of Broward County's most economically challenged zip codes. Please click here for more information.

Workforce Skills Gap Study

In 2016, the Alliance conducted a workforce and skills gap analysis of the area workforce, which was funded by a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The purpose of the study was to:

The analysis focused on several targeted industry sectors, including Aviation & Aerospace, Global Logistics, Headquarters, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Marine Industries, and Technology.

A thorough analysis of all data collected led to identification of important trends related to assets and challenges of the existing workforce, available training opportunities, and future trends that will impact the quality and quantity of the regional workforce. In addition to data findings, a series of strategic recommendations was developed for enhancing Greater Fort Lauderdale's workforce assets and better preparing workers to meet the challenges of the future.

Claim Your Future Showcase

In partnership with the Broward County Public School District's Career & Technical Department (CTACE), this event exposes high school juniors to a diverse array of companies and career pathways that are available to them in Broward County after they finish their education. The hope is that they will choose to live and work here in the future. We also want to show companies the talent that is being cultivated in our public schools. All of the students who participate are in career and technical programs, which encompass a wide variety of majors.

Over 1,200 students from across the County attend this annual event at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Attendees speak to representatives of more than 60 companies and education institutions, listen to executive panel discussions, and participate in breakout sessions such as mock interviews and professionalism in the workplace. Companies also interview students that are interested in summer internship opportunities. We thank Wells Fargo and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport for sponsoring this year's event.

Here are a few pictures from the most recent Showcase, held on February 18, 2020:


TechGateway in the Schools 

The TechGateway program was formed as a way to showcase South Florida’s strong and growing tech industry, in order to attract and keep tech companies and tech talent in the region. Technology is one of the strong industry clusters that South Florida is known for, with the IBM PC and the first smartphone being invented here, along with other tech innovations.

TechGateway in the schools is a component of the TechGateway program. Its purpose is to encourage students in South Florida to consider a career in technology so we have the talent that companies need to succeed.

TechGateway in the Schools is composed of three parts:

One is the TechGateway map and website that shows the technology companies located in South Florida, to demonstrate the breadth and depth of this cluster to companies located here or considering a location or expansion here. There are over 2,000 tech companies listed on the website. The map can also now be found in every public high school and middle school in Broward County Public Schools. To view the map, please click here.

In 2016, Broward County Public Schools also developed curriculum around the TechGateway program, which included teaching students about career pathways in technology, along with an app challenge in the schools during the 2016-17 school year where teams of students developed an app to learn about and promote the TechGateway. After the challenge ended, all the student teams that had created apps visited Citrix’s corporate headquarters where they were able to present the apps they created and ask Citrix executive staff members questions about their careers.

Finally, students at several Broward County public schools now participate in TechGateway Day every winter. It is a part of activities surrounding National Computer Science Education Week. Tech company leaders visit six to eight participating schools to speak about career opportunities and pathways in the local technology sector.

Marine Research Hub of South Florida Consortium

Founded in 2016, the Marine Research Hub of South Florida Consortium is a collaborative effort focused on the cutting edge oceanographic research taking place at our four local universities, FIU, FAU, UM and NSU, along with the Beacon Council, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and The Marine Industries Association of South Florida to establish South Florida as the leading marine research region in the world.

The Consortium hopes to capitalize on that branding opportunity to propel the universities and the region to the forefront, very similar to that which is enjoyed by Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle. Working together, the Consortium feels it can significantly increase research funding, commercialize the work being done here in the form of new jobs and capital investment and facilitate technology transfer, all to benefit marine research.

The Consortium's website,, has launched and efforts to obtain a trademark and establish a 501(c)3 are underway. In addition, a database with over 100 oceanographic and marine research projects that are underway at the four universities has been created.

The Corsortium hosted the 2019 Ocean Exchange, which took place a few days before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November 2019. Here are a few pictures from the most recent event at the Boat Show, where the winners of Ocean Exchange presented their research:



Sponsors of the Alliance Foundation's programming include:



For more information about the Foundation, please contact Ron Drew, Executive Vice President, at 954-627-0130.