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The Immokalee Foundation appoints Noemi Perez as new executive director

Noemi Perez

Noemi Perez

The board of directors of The Immokalee Foundation has appointed long-time foundation employee Noemi Perez as the organization’s executive director effective July 1, 2018.

Steven Kissinger, who has served as the foundation’s executive director since 2014, will assume the position of vice president of Take Stock in Children of Florida on July 1.

Perez, who was raised in Immokalee, has worked for The Immokalee Foundation for nine years and currently serves as the foundation’s program services director.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Hodges University, Perez chose to use her knowledge and experience to serve her community through The Immokalee Foundation’s programs and services.

“As a lifelong Immokalee resident, Noemi brings a unique and important perspective to our work that will serve the foundation in meaningful ways,” said Joyce Hagen, chair of The Immokalee Foundation’s board of directors. “We appreciate the substantial advancements made under Steven’s leadership and look forward to our next chapter in creating pathways to success for the youth of Immokalee with Noemi at the helm.”

Perez will lead the foundation following several years of successful growth and solid financial health. The organization also has achieved the coveted 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Perez is member of the Hodges University Alumni Advisory Board, Immokalee Chamber of Commerce, Immokalee Technical College Advisory Board, and The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Leadership Collier Foundation Alumni Association. She completed the Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) program in 2016, the same year she was honored by Gulfshore Business magazine as a 40 Under 40 professional.

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, 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 installs 2018-19 board of directors

board announcement 2018 photos

The Immokalee Foundation recently announced the installation of the organization’s 2018-19 board of directors.

Board members at large are Joyce Hagen, chair; Jim Markiewicz, treasurer; Alison Douglas, secretary; Chuck Campbell; Luis Cartagena; John Costigan; Curt Culver; Don Gunther; Donald Huffner; Kevin Johnson; David Legus; Barbara Morrison; Pete Negri; Steve Pryor; and Joseph Zednik.

Board emeritus members are George Franks, Blake Gable, John Henry, Skip Hildebrand, Wil Larson, Mac McDonald, Lisa Merritt, Don O’Neill, Louise Penta, Peggy Redlinger, Ann Stallkamp and Dick Stonesifer.

“Our board of directors demonstrate an unconditional devotion to The Immokalee Foundation and our mission,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director. “Our board members are an inspiration to our students and their families – as well as to our staff and supporters throughout Southwest Florida. We are grateful for the selfless dedication and encouragement of our foundation family in providing countless opportunities for our students’ futures.”

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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 receives $10,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation

The Immokalee Foundation recently received $10,000 from the Naples Daily News, which administered a grant awarded by the Gannett Foundation Grant Program. The parent company of the Naples Daily News and The News-Press, the Gannett Foundation awarded a total of $40,000 to five nonprofits chosen from among more than 100 applicants. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $10,000.

“We’re pleased to receive this significant grant, which will enhance our ability to provide pathways to success through education for the youth of Immokalee,” said Executive Director Steven Kissinger, who accepted the award on behalf of The Immokalee Foundation.

The nonprofit was founded in 1991 to assist the Immokalee community by investing in its youth. In 2001, the foundation began partnering with the statewide Take Stock in Children scholarship program; it also offers Immokalee Readers, Career Development and Career Success, among others.

A look at the numbers proves the success of the foundation’s programs, made possible through a strong staff, committed volunteers, and generous community and corporate support. Students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation programs have a 100 percent high school graduation rate. In addition, 84 percent of enrolled students are post-secondary graduates from college or vocational institutions.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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, Champions For Learning recognized for excellence with state scholarship program awards

Take Stock in Children awards - Champions For Learning, Ashley Bowers, Barbara Uible, Lisa Church - The Immokalee Foundation, Steven Kissinger

Take Stock in Children awards – Champions For Learning, Ashley Bowers, Barbara Uible, Lisa Church – The Immokalee Foundation, Steven Kissinger

The Immokalee Foundation and Champions For Learning, Collier County’s affiliates in the Take Stock in Children program, have each been recognized with the Gold Level of Excellence Award for the sixth consecutive year, as well as the nonprofit scholarship program’s Innovation Award. Both organizations were recognized at the annual Take Stock in Children Leadership Summit & Day at the Capitol.

“We’re grateful that Take Stock recognizes the work that we are doing to forge pathways to success for the students of Immokalee,” Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation said. “The Immokalee Foundation’s excellent staff, dedicated mentors and invaluable community and corporate support make honors like this possible.”

“We are so proud that we are collaborating and sharing best practices between our organizations to ensure that the students who are part of the Take Stock in Children program in Collier County have the best possible experience and outcomes for their future,” said Susan McManus, president of Champions For Learning.

The Gold Level of Excellence is reserved for the local affiliates of the statewide organization that meet high marks on its Balanced Scorecard indicators. These include student recruitment, mentor pairing, timely advocacy, two-year action plan, student growth, increased GPA and EDGAR self-certification – which indicates compliance with federal education funding guidelines. The Balanced Scorecard provides a uniform way for Take Stock in Children to assess performance of all affiliates through the same lens, and to manage their performance through action and improvement plans.

The Innovation Award recognizes consistent innovation and expansion of support to students and families.

Take Stock in Children was established in 1995 and operates in every county in Florida. In Collier County, the students in Immokalee are part of the program through The Immokalee Foundation. Other students across Collier County are served through Champions For Learning, to help low-income, academically qualified students escape the cycle of poverty through education. Through both organizations, all Collier County students have access to the high-quality program that offers college scholarships to students, provides caring volunteer mentors, and instills hope for a better life. Take Stock’s comprehensive programs begin in middle school, continue through high school and include the transition to college or vocational education.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Champions For Learning, the education foundation in Collier County is an independent, community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that makes it possible for our community to impact lives by enriching the environment for student learning through educators and directly with students. The organization has been awarded a four star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator. The Education Foundation of Collier County (Champions For Learning) has been ranked among one of the top 25 education foundations in a national study. Become a Champion for Learning and visit www.ChampionsForLearning.org.

‘Fun money’ scholarships reward 16 students in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs

Sixteen post-secondary students in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs each have been granted a $500 scholarship from a nonprofit organization established to award “fun money” to deserving students.

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari awarded “fun money” to The Immokalee Foundation students

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari awarded “fun money” to The Immokalee Foundation students

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and his late wife, Isabella, knew how difficult it is to pursue an education and career – particularly so for Immokalee youth, who have limited resources. So they set up the Massoud and Isabelle Eghrari Charitable Foundation not only to support worthy students’ educational goals, but also to enhance students’ quality of life by awarding the money with no requirement other than that the students spend it on themselves.

That could mean extra pillows and dorm room decor, a dinner out on a test day or anything else – including a trip to Disney World. That’s what Graciela Cervantes plans for a portion of her award, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she never imagined having.

“Receiving this scholarship helped me feel like there was someone who not only cared about my education but about me as well,” Cervantes said. “The point of this scholarship is to use it on something other than school, which was very unexpected because most scholarships are intended for tuition or books.”

“The Immokalee Foundation has helped me so much in the past three years,” Cervantes said. “During this time, I have been in the Career Development Program. I can honestly say it is because of The Immokalee Foundation that I am in college. They always served as a guide to me when I needed help applying for college, submitting scholarships, and providing help to answer any questions that I had.”

When Eghrari became a widower, the nonprofit he co-founded continued to provide scholarships like the one Cervantes received. Today, Dr. Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, continue to be strong supporters of The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts.

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.

 

Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Jose Munguia

Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Jose Munguia

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Graciela Cervantes

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Graciela Cervantes