Guests at The Immokalee Foundation’s annual Charity Classic events generously donated $2.6 million to support
the career-oriented educational programs provided by the foundation to the youth of Immokalee. The new initiative, “Career Pathways: Empowering Students to Succeed,” allows students to learn about in demand professions and the educational path needed to achieve their goals, whether through a college degree or professional credentials.
The Charity Classic Celebration gala took place November 8th at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, and featured students participating in the foundation’s programs who shared their educational and career goals for the future. Charitable bidders then raised paddles to donate funds to support programming that begins in elementary school and
continues through middle school, high school, and post-secondary education.
Charity Classic Celebration co-chairs were Barbara and Dale Morrison and Janet and Jerry Belle. Sunny Sapiente chaired the Pro-Am tournament. The Charity Classic Pro Am featured philanthropic amateur golfers who played with some of the top names in professional golf on November 11 at the Old Collier Golf Club. Together, the 2019 events raised a record-breaking amount of funding that will directly benefit the foundation’s educational programming.
“This year’s theme was ‘The Magic of Immokalee’ for a reason,” said Barbara Morrison. “Our event committees, donors, and staff, together with the foundation’s amazing students, demonstrate the magic of education every day. We are so grateful for the generosity of those who believe in creating Career Pathways for these deserving students.”
Guests at the gala were introduced to the five siblings of the Garcia family. After their mother, Juana Lopez Reynoso, overheard other mothers talking about The Immokalee Foundation while working in the agricultural fields, the siblings were encouraged by their parents to take advantage of foundation programs.
Today, Joel is a graduate of FGCU with a degree in civil engineering who works for Forge Engineering in Naples; Eric will graduate from Cornell University in May with a bachelor of science in hotel administration; Sandra is a biochemistry major and soccer player at Ave Maria University who wants to become a veterinarian; Aida will be off to college next year and plans to study entrepreneurship; and Diego is a high school student who has already earned his OSHA certification and is considering becoming a software engineer.
Lopez Reynoso watched as the siblings each introduced themselves and talked about their educational progress; the proud mother then thanked the generous foundation donors who made her children’s education possible. “The Garcia family is a living example of how education and career training go hand-in-hand in creating bright futures for these students,” said Dale Morrison. “For Barb and me, helping The Immokalee Foundation establish a dedicated effort for internships has been one of the most rewarding endeavors we have enjoyed in our many years of philanthropy.”
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, 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.immokaleefoundation.org.
Noemi Y. Perez, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at email@example.com.