The Immokalee Foundation Provides Scholarships to Southwest Florida’s Leaders of Tomorrow

Immokalee Foundation scholarships shatter preconceived notions and turn dreams into reality.

NOEMI Y. PEREZ, President & CEO, The Immokalee Foundation

by Noemi Y. Perez, President and CEO
I recently read that between 1990 and 2020, the total number of college students in the United States increased from 13.8 million to nearly 20 million.

However, the demand for higher education coupled with the competitive admissions process also means that students will pay higher tuition and fees.

Since 1980, college tuition and fees are up 1,200%, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items has risen by only 236%.

For Immokalee Foundation’s postsecondary students, the rising cost of education, tuition, books, living expenses, and transportation are more acute—more painful—than in most Florida communities.

Immokalee Foundation scholarship recipient and University of Florida student Thianica Previlus

For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has been preparing the next generation of leaders through a 100% focus on education, career readiness, and professional development for students in Immokalee—from kindergarten through postsecondary education.

Though most Foundation students attend college, some participate in the Heavy Equipment Service Technician program at Immokalee Technical College. This highly specialized curriculum prepares students to service heavy-duty, high-performance vehicles designed for executing earthwork operations and other large construction tasks essential in Southwest Florida.

Other students participate in the Collier County Sheriff ’s Office Public Safety Career Academy, an innovative curriculum addressing the critical shortage of Southwest Florida 911 call takers and dispatchers.

Volunteer mentors and Immokalee Foundation staff continue to provide support until all postsecondary students complete their education, secure their first job, and take their place as a vital part of our economy and workforce.

The Immokalee Foundation’s ability to provide scholarships to these ambitious young people would not be possible without your generosity—your respect for the importance of education and your dreams for the future of our community.

Today, the benefactors of your generosity number in the thousands. “I am the first member of my family to graduate from high school and college,” says Foundation alumna Leslie Gallegos. “And because of my scholarship—and the incredible support of The Immokalee Foundation—I am working in my dream job in education. I’m supporting students in my hometown, and I am grateful to share that my college expenses are paid in full.”

The Immokalee Foundation is also an affiliate of Take Stock in Children (TSIC) which provides qualifying Foundation students with a Florida Prepaid tuition scholarship upon high school graduation and successful program completion.

Immokalee Foundation student Joel Guerrero was named a TSIC Leaders 4 Life Fellow this past year. The Leaders 4 Life Fellowship comes with a $40,000 scholarship that pays for college expenses not covered by any other award or financial aid, including leadership training and development, housing, food, textbooks, supplies, transportation, and other college-related expenses.

A Florida Gulf Coast University freshman, Joel plans to become a dentist. “Ever since I was a child, I knew that’s what I wanted to-do. I plan on getting my degree and coming back to Immokalee to serve my hometown and the community that has given and taught me so much.”

Immokalee Foundation scholarships shatter preconceived notions and turn dreams into reality. “I think people had a perception of how my story would turnout simply because I lived in Immokalee,” said scholarship recipient and University of Florida student Thianica Previlus. “The truth is my story has just started and will continue to flourish with the help of The Immokalee Foundation…”

…and you.

About The Immokalee Foundation

The Foundation provides new pathways to success and financial independence through robust programming that prepares students for well-paying, in-demand professional careers in Business Management& Entrepreneurship, Education & Human Services, Engineering & Construction Management and Healthcare. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, become a mentor, signature events, volunteer as a career panel speaker or host, donate, or include the Foundation in your estate plans, please call 239.430.9122 or visit

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