Pathways Blog

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The Immokalee Foundation again receives Charity Navigator’s highest rating

The Immokalee Foundation recently received the highest rating for its financial health, transparency and accountability from Charity Navigator, the foremost independent charity watchdog in the United States.

After examining the foundation’s income tax documents, its website and other data, Charity Navigator awarded the foundation four stars. The designation applies to charities considered “exceptional” that exceed industry standards and out-perform most similar charities.

According to Charity Navigator President and CEO Michael Thatcher, “This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets The Immokalee Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness. Only one-quarter of rated charities have achieved this distinction.”

“We work diligently to employ best practices in nonprofit management to help ensure we earn the trust of those who support our efforts,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “It’s a true honor to again receive the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator in recognition of our efforts.”

Charity Navigator has rated 1.5 million American charities. To be rated at even a basic level, each nonprofit must meet certain accountability standards, including an obligation or willingness by a charity to explain its actions to its stakeholders and make available critical data about the organization.

Forbes, Business Week and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine have profiled and written favorably about Charity Navigator’s data-driven method of evaluation.

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, 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.

Florida Community Bank and The Immokalee Foundation partner to give local nonprofits stronger presence in Immokalee

The Immokalee Foundation - Victoria Grimaldo, Yeimi Casteneda, Amber Barr

The Immokalee Foundation – Victoria Grimaldo, Yeimi Casteneda, Amber Barr

A partnership between Florida Community Bank (NYSE: FCB) and The Immokalee Foundation has resulted in the FCB Impact Center, a collection of local nonprofit organizations serving Immokalee and Collier County with programs and services benefiting residents of the community.

In addition to The Immokalee Foundation, organizations housed within the FCB Impact Center include One by One Leadership, ICO Arts, Taste of Immokalee, Goodwill Job Link, AARP, Lighthouse Center for the Blind, H.E.L.P. of Collier County and Legal Aid.

“The combination of providers at the center reflects a broad scope of services available to the residents of Immokalee,” said Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation’s executive director. “By joining together, our organizations have made it easier for those in need to discover programs and services available to them. We’re grateful to Florida Community Bank for their vision and commitment to The Immokalee Foundation and the community.”

Luis Cartagena, FCB branch manager and board member for The Immokalee Foundation, worked with Kissinger to discuss ideas for a sizeable annex not needed for day-to-day bank operations. Kissinger immediately saw an opportunity for what this space could provide, which formerly housed FCB’s back-office operations and administrative divisions. The Immokalee Foundation signed a lease, and Kissinger and Cartagena went to work converting the space to offices.

Kissinger used three offices for foundation staff. He then worked with the United Way of Collier County to identify partner agencies to round out the services offered to low- and moderate-income residents of Immokalee.

“Florida Community Bank believes in giving back to the communities we serve, and these organizations provide essential services to our customers and neighbors,” said Kent Ellert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida Community Bank. “We are proud to provide a welcoming and accessible location for all Immokalee residents to access a number of vital resources that will benefit them.”

Existing organizations were leasing space throughout Collier County, including Immokalee, but the FCB Impact Center now allows these nonprofit organizations to provide an array of programs and services, which ultimately benefit the community at large.

Not only does FCB provide the space to these organizations as an in-kind donation, the bank encourages associates to support these organizations by serving as board members, mentors, volunteers and advocates to promote their missions.

The FCB Impact Center is located at 1400 N. 15th St. in Immokalee.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of educational programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation while offering support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation and/or about volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or acquiring additional information, call 239-430-9122 or email them at
www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Florida Community Bank, N.A., (NYSE: FCB) is the largest community banking company and the second largest Florida-based independent bank, and is among the most highly capitalized banks in the state. Awarded a five-star rating from Bauer Financial, FCB assets are more than $10 billion, with capital ratios that exceed regulatory standards. Since its founding in 2010, FCB has been steadfast in its commitment to delivering personalized service, innovation, and products and services equal to those offered by the national banks. Similarly, FCB recognizes the importance of community, fostering a corporate culture that promotes employee volunteerism at all levels, while supporting community-based programs and partnerships that help promote greater financial independence and improved quality of life for families. FCB serves individuals, businesses and communities across the state with 46 full-service banking centers from east to west, and from Daytona Beach to Miami-Dade. For more information, visit FloridaCommunityBank.com, Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC.

 

FCB Impact Center

Florida Community Bank

Students from The Immokalee Foundation treated to a taste of Italy at Fine Folk Pizza

Andrew Maldonado, Kenniya Miller, Leoncio Jiminez, Jenesis Sanders, Susie Lopez Trejo, Vanessa Hernandez

Andrew Maldonado, Kenniya Miller, Leoncio Jiminez, Jenesis Sanders, Susie Lopez Trejo, Vanessa Hernandez

Students from The Immokalee Foundation’s Middle School Summer Academy recently experienced a taste of Italian hospitality at Fine Folk Pizza in Fort Myers.

The visit was part of an incentive program for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students participating in the foundation’s Summer Academy, part of its Junior Career Development program.

Artisan Dough Masters shared pizza facts and stories with the students, along with a few special techniques used to create their handcrafted specialty pizzas. The certified pizza acrobats also offered tossing lessons, including a “dough off” tossing contest.

“We believe in The Immokalee Foundation’s mission to help students realize there are many opportunities available to each of them,” said Michael DeNunzio, Fine Folk Pizza owner. “Pizza is our passion, and it’s fun for us to give back to the community this way.”

Family-owned and -operated, Fine Folk Pizza is located off Daniels Parkway near JetBlue Park. For more information, visit www.finefolkpizza.com.

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, 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.

Leslie Escalante

Leslie Escalante

Edwin Ramirez, Daniel Trejo Garcia, Chris Batties, Abraham Salazar

Edwin Ramirez, Daniel Trejo Garcia, Chris Batties, Abraham Salazar

DJ Gibson , Elmer Santiago

DJ Gibson , Elmer Santiago

Chris Batties, Ariadna Gomez-Trejo

Chris Batties, Ariadna Gomez-Trejo

Andrew Maldonado, Vanessa Hernandez, Susie Lopez Trejo, Kenniya Miller

Andrew Maldonado, Vanessa Hernandez, Susie Lopez Trejo, Kenniya Miller

DJ Gibson and Michael DeNunzio “dough off”

DJ Gibson and Michael DeNunzio “dough off”

Fine Folk Pizza team - Arianna Schnarr, DJ Gibson, Chris Batties, Andrew Maldonado - with TIF students

Fine Folk Pizza team – Arianna Schnarr, DJ Gibson, Chris Batties, Andrew Maldonado – with TIF students

The Immokalee Foundation receives $10,000 grant from United Way for Career Development program

The Immokalee Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the United Way of Collier County to support the foundation’s Career Development program.

High school and middle school students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program participate in workshops and career panels, internships and job shadowing to gain exposure to industries outside of agriculture. So often these students, mostly from migrant families, are simply unaware of the opportunities available to them.

The program also provides job and college readiness initiatives to ensure that by graduation, students have the academic knowledge and professional skills needed to succeed in post-secondary education or training for their chosen careers, whether through attendance at a community college, university, technical or vocational program, or an apprenticeship with a major corporation. Critical components of the Career Development workshops include ACT preparation, resume writing, networking skills and financial literacy.

The award was made based on a United Way-commissioned report indicating that 75 percent of families in Immokalee cannot afford the necessities of life; they are families living in poverty, defined as the inability to meet a survival-level budget. The report, known as the 2017 ALICE (asset limited, income constrained, employed), suggests that nonprofits can make a difference for these households by providing job training and educational assistance.

For more than 25 years, The Immokalee Foundation has been dedicated to mitigating the effects poverty for youth in the community through academic intervention, educational support and vocational training.

The success of The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program speaks for itself: More than 1,200 students to date have received this critical support at no cost to them, and 100 percent of the students enrolled in its programs graduate from high school. Similarly, 100 percent of those high school graduates continue on to a college or vocational post-secondary path, and nearly 90 percent of those post-secondary students have graduated or are on the path to graduation from their institutions of choice.

“We are very excited to have The Immokalee Foundation join the United Way of Collier County as a partner agency,” said United Way of Collier County President and CEO Steve Sanderson. “Their Career Development program utilizes volunteer mentors from our amazing community to provide mentoring, encouragement and motivation to help encompass strong professional development. United Way strives to support the building of pathways to success through education and life skills, which makes this partnership a perfect match.”

“Through the Career Development program, the foundation is working to close the education gap by supporting students who not only find success in their post-secondary endeavors, but those who also are beginning to improve their community by returning to Immokalee as educators, physicians and business owners,” said The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director Steven Kissinger.

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, 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.

Hertz employees supply students from The Immokalee Foundation with backpacks – and career insights

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation was an A+

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation was an A+

More than 100 students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program started school well stocked thanks to backpacks generously donated by employees of He

In addition to the backpacks filled with supplies for the new school year, students received information from a number of Hertz employees about careers with the company.

Speakers on a career panel included Senior Corporate Counsel Dominick Muracco, Global Relocation Specialist Samantha Simmons, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy Chad Israel, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst Marisa Miner, and Public Affairs Manager Beth Davis.

After students toured the building, Hertz employees joined them over lunch for an informal networking session.

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, 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.

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz team

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz team

Hertz career panel with The Immokalee Foundation students (left to right) •Beth Davis, Manager, Public Affairs  •Marisa Miner, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst  •Chad Israel, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy  •Samantha Simmons, Global Relocation Specialist •Dominick Muracco, Senior Corporate Counsel

Hertz career panel with The Immokalee Foundation students (left to right)
•Beth Davis, Manager, Public Affairs
•Marisa Miner, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst
•Chad Israel, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy
•Samantha Simmons, Global Relocation Specialist
•Dominick Muracco, Senior Corporate Counsel

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation