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People with Purpose: Nikki Taylor

Nikki Taylor is dedicated to connecting more people to the community she loves and encouraging others to get involved in community philanthropy.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. May 27, 2015
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Nikki Taylor swore she would never be a volunteer like her mother. Fifteen years later, not only does Taylor have her hands in a range of local nonprofits, chairing at least 24 charity events, but she also spends her days working for a nonprofit as Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s director of marketing. Taylor, 37, is dedicated to connecting more people to the community she loves and encouraging others to get involved in community philanthropy.

When I was little, my mom would drag me to everything. My earliest memories are of her pushing me in a stroller during wellness walks, and from the time I could walk, I was volunteering my time alongside her. I remember thinking, “I’m done, I’m never doing this.” When I was 7, I swore I would never volunteer. I ate my words, as I live and breathe volunteering.

Getting back into volunteering started with my experience moving here. I’m from Palm Beach and had lived in Europe and other areas, but it was very weird to me to move someplace and have a difficult time meeting people. If I actually saw people my age, I wanted to know what they do, where they go, what they are doing. That feeling of being alone basically turned me into a welcome wagon for the next decade of my life.

I didn’t know a soul, so I joined the Young Professionals Group. After that, it was Junior League of Sarasota. During that time, the more people I met, the more organizations I became involved in. Sometimes you wish you could change your name and number and seriously go into hiding because you get more and more and more involved — a volunteer relocation program. But that’s what happens. Every cause makes your heart feel good, and you want to say yes to everything.

The moment that made me realize I am a total lunatic about giving back was when I danced in CANDance years ago. As my dance partner flung me around the dance floor, I thought, “I am literally going to break my neck for charity.”

I recently saw a need for women in leadership and mentoring as well as a succession plan for the future of philanthropy in our community. A lot of organizations were saying, “Who is going to take over? Who is going to lead all of this?” That is where Designing Daughters came from. We have so many young girls who are actively involved and leaders in our community.

It’s important for me to be involved because I want to feel like I’ve had a hand in creating what the next generation will experience, and I want that experience to be a good one. I typically try to take roles that will make a better experience for others and help shape the different elements I’m passionate about.

I don’t know how to not care. I do know that being a steward of our community means taking action, evolution, and most importantly, helping engage others to come along for the ride.


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