Inspiring People: Philanthropist spreads her wealth across SWFL

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
(Credit: WINK News)

A local philanthropist has been named one of Gulfshore Life magazine’s Women of the Year.

Janet Cohen has donated to several different Southwest Florida organizations, helping people of all ages, from children to college students and older.

“Well, I somehow have more money than I anticipated having, and I thought to share it with other people was a very good thing to do,” Cohen said. “It became a habit. If you can have a habit of giving away money.”

It started in the 90’s, when Cohen and her late husband Harvey donated to the Naples Philharmonic. Since then, she’s helped create a garden at the Golisano Children’s Hospital, donated to the Holocaust Museum and created a warm place for children to grieve at Avow Hospice.

The Salvation Army has a youth center in honor of her late daughter, and at Florida Gulf Coast University, the couple helped build the student union, fondly known as “Harv’s Place.”

“I just enjoy doing it,” Cohen said. “I appreciate the fact that I had the means to do it.”

Cohen is not one to brag about how much she’s given. She was hesitant to even give an interview, saying she gives from the heart, not for publicity.

“I just want to be remembered as a decent, caring, honest woman,” Cohen said.

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