Charity Classic – a Silver Lining for Success

By Steven Kissinger –

Long-time supporters of The Immokalee Foundation have joined together to lead the organization’s signature events – the Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am – during this, the foundation’s silver anniversary year.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, will serve as honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration on November 11. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are co-chairing the foundation’s biggest and most important fundraising gala of the year, while board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the November 14 golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of Immokalee students through the combined support of the nonprofit’s benefactors, board members, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers. The Charity Classic Celebration, an evening of fine dining and entertainment, takes place at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Attendees can support the youth of Immokalee during Fund A Dream, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways by supporting programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. The Fund A Dream auction includes the opportunity to support college funding and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, college success, and experiences that build leadership and life skills such as study Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on November 13.

Each foursome is joined by a different professional player for the first and second nine holes. The scramble-style tournament is $5,000 per entrant and includes two tickets for the Charity Classic Celebration. The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts over its first 25 years continue to pay off in significant ways.

This past summer, The Immokalee Foundation saw the graduation of its first medical doctor, 2008 Immokalee High School valedictorian Kristen Dimas. Following medical school at Florida State University, Dimas is back in the area seeing patients in her residency at Lee Memorial Hospital. In addition, the foundation continues to achieve a 100 percent high school graduation rate for students in its programs.

Also, The Immokalee Foundation’s recent designation as an education and workforce partner in the federal Promise Zone project creates new opportunities for funding to expand several foundation programs. Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239.430.9122 or visit www.

Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at abroad, access to arts and technology, and youth leadership programs. The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples matches more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA

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