History of LIFE’s Accomplishments

The mission of LIFE (Lee Interfaith for Empowerment) is to powerfully address community issues in Lee County through a self-sustaining, interfaith, interracial, proactive organization, rooted in religious congregations. LIFE is made up of congregations with members from different racial, faith and socio-economic backgrounds in Lee County.


Is for each congregation is to build a powerful Justice Ministry Network.

Our aim is to fix broken systems, but in order to do that, we have to organize each church.

LIFE is a non-partisan, direct-action organization that addresses systemic issues in Lee County. We challenge community leaders to make policy and funding changes to improve the lives of all God’s people. We began working in our community in 2012 and our members have accomplished amazing things here in Lee County.

Current Issue Campaign

In October of 2023, LIFE members came together and voted to address the lack of mental health services in Lee County. We have been meeting with professionals to determine what gaps need to be filled and who can make the decision to fill them.

At our Nehemiah Action on April 9th, 2024, we will ask our local officials to implement a change that will bring justice to Lee County’s residents. We are also continuing our work on Affordable Housing by monitoring the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Housing Development at the old News-Press Site, and the $1.1 billion coming to Lee County from HUD for disaster relief.


Affordable Housing

In December of 2023, over 70 members from LIFE showed up to the Fort Myers City Council to stop them from corrupting the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. We then met with City Councilors and Staff, and in January 2024, they made significant improvements to the rental assistance portion of the ordinance.

  • 75% of all funds from the Affordable Housing Trust fund will now be required to go towards low-income families.
  • The requirement to work within city limits will be removed from the rental assistance program. People who were previously denied because of this will be re-evaluated for eligibility. 
  • City employees will not be given first priority over everyone else for rental assistance.
  • Aside from rental payments, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund can be used for utility payments, move-in costs (first and last month’s rent), and up to three months back rent.

In August 2023, over 40 members from LIFE showed up to the Fort Myers City Council Meeting and pushed the council to approve a proposal to build affordable housing. The Fort Myers City Council listened to the calls from LIFE and voted 5-2 in favor of affordable housing, rejecting a bid for luxury condos.

In 2022, four years of hard work, research, negotiations, and persistence, resulted in the passing of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund by the Fort Myers City Council. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund provides money to build affordable housing and rental assistance for low-income families.

Mental Health

In 2021, LIFE proposed Crisis Intervention training by the National Alliance on Mental Illness for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department officers and 911 operators. At our Nehemiah Action, in front of over 1000 LIFE members, the sheriff promised to have 100% of his officers and 911 staff trained by the end of 2021.

In the spring of 2022, one of the sheriff’s officers attended a LIFE Celebration event and enthusiastically talked about his new role as an in-house trainer in crisis intervention for new staff.

Criminal Justice

In 2016, LIFE came together to address the issue that only 17% of murders got solved in Fort Myers. The Police Chief agreed to implement new policies.

  • Now, ~80% of murders are solved and hundreds of families are able to get closure for the loss of their family.
    In 2015, LIFE leaders got the City of Fort Myers to “Ban the Box” from city job applications, so that previously incarcerated people are recipients of fair hiring practices.

In 2014, LIFE pushed for the expansion of Juvenile Civil Citations in Lee County in lieu of arresting minors for non-violent, non-felony offences. Fort Myers PD, Cape Coral PD, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office has changed their departmental policy to implement civil citations.


  • Because of LIFE’s work on this issue, in 2015, eligible youth receiving citations instead of arrests increased from 13% to 50%.

    Services for Children

    • In 2018 the Lee County Commissioners refused to attend our gathering to answer for our lack of a Children’s Service Counsel. In light of their refusal to attend 150 LIFE members showed up at the county commission meeting to let our voices be heard. The commission then unanimously approved a $1.6 million budget increase for children’s services.
    • In 2013, LIFE demanded the Department of Human Services and the Board of County Commissioners make the mental health of children a priority in Lee County. As a result, it is now mandatory that any provider receiving county funds participate in devising and implementing a comprehensive plan to increase access to services for children.
    • In 2012, Lee County Schools agreed to institute a single anti-bullying program appropriate for the age-set with a staff member to oversee the programming, make changes in the Code of Conduct to prevent using the Alternative Learning Center for minor offenses, and change the ALC practices to include on-site teachers.

      Hear What Our Members and Congregation Leaders Have To Say About LIFE!

      Reverend Dr. Rickey Anderson

      “Once we take on an issue, we never go away, if we address an issue look for us to come back over and over.” -Reverend Dr. Rickey Anderson

      Lorna Washington

      “One day I’m going to lead this world and I’m going to go out there and be a voice for the voiceless. I’m able to stand up and loudly be a voice.” -Lorna Washington

      Dottie Morrison

      Do you experience injustice in your own life? Do you have friends or family that have experienced injustice?” These questions strike at the heart of our mission at LIFE

      Get Involved in Lee County!

      Learn more about how you can INVEST IN LIFE today.

      If your congregation is already a member of our organization, then speak to your clergy or your team leader, and ask them for the next steps.If you belong to a congregation that is not a member, please reach out to us or call our office and set up a meeting with us.

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