The Immokalee Foundation hosted more than 360 enthusiastic guests to the 2013 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, held at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, as well as the popular Pro-Am golf tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club, also in Naples. The tournament brought many esteemed names in golf to Southwest Florida, along with some of the area’s most philanthropic golfers. The guests and golfers came together in support of one common goal: to make a difference in the life of a child in Immokalee. The Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am raised a combined total of more than $1.6 million to fund the foundation’s educational programs that are vital in building brighter futures for the youth of Immokalee.
The evening included a dinner, entertainment, dancing, a “super” silent auction and Fund A Dream live auction.
The silent auction, which raised $160,000, featured premium items, including trips to Pebble Beach, CA and Linville Ridge, NC; and a Jewelry Dream of Pearls Package provided by Bigham Jewelers.
A welcome reception provided guests with the opportunity to interact with the kids whose lives they were impacting. Beyond meeting with Immokalee’s youth, patrons had the chance to get to know the students when the children (and their families) shared their stories of struggle, hope, determination and triumph.
Peter Negri, TIF board member and event chair, said the presentation was inspiring for all, “The kids are the best part of the evening. It allowed us to understand how far they’ve come and what a difference TIF is making in their lives.
Following the presentation, Fund A Dream commenced, a unique live bidding experience that was created to provide something that would have a direct impact on the students.
One hundred percent of the funds raised during Fund A Dream benefits the bidders category of choice and is 100 percent tax deductible. Donation levels were based on the cost of individual students participating in the programs, including a portion for program support.
In total, Fund A Dream raised approximately $650,000 – a number that exceeded expectations, making it the largest total for the live auction since its inception. Negri credits the students themselves for the success of the auction.
The excitement did not end with the gala. Two days later, golfers convened for the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples, which paired foundation supporters with some of the biggest names in golf from the PGA, Champions and LPGA tours.
The children, once again, were the focus, with TIF students participating as a foursome. Pro-Am event chair Kevin Johnson, with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, said it gave the kids a great experience, as well as exposure to those supporting their programs in a big way. “Allowing the students and their benefactors the chance to interact is a huge learning experience for both parties,” Johnson said.
The tournament raised $390,000, making it one of Southwest Florida’s most successful charity golf tournaments.
Sponsors of the 2013 Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am were Arthrex Inc., hope society; Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; Jaguar Naples; Porsche of Naples; Bigham Jewelers, education circle; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; and Kevin Johnson with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. Corporate matching sponsors were GE Foundation and Caterpillar Foundation.
The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239.430.9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.