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The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation has awarded $15,000 in support of The Immokalee Foundation’s ACT/SAT Test Prep program for Immokalee High School students.

The foundation’s Career Pathways programs – including ACT/SAT preparation – serves and supports Immokalee students who seek higher education through academic success, for which they need access to quality prep materials and tutoring.

Career Pathways offers a broad curriculum for Immokalee middle and high school students to place them on pathways to well-paying, in-demand careers in Southwest Florida in four employment sectors: Engineering & Construction Management, Education & Human Services, Health Care, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship.

“High scores on ACT and SAT college admission exams are critical for college acceptance and receiving scholarships,” said Melissa C. Phillips, vice president of philanthropy at The Immokalee Foundation. “The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation’s EAGER to Learn Grant helps us provide tutoring sessions, helpful supplies, and one-on-one online tutoring through the Prep Expert system. These are proven tools for increasing students’ test scores.”

Parents who labor in Immokalee’s agricultural fields and packing houses want a better life for their children but, often, parents lack the educational background and resources necessary to help their children attain their goals and achieve their dreams.

“This grant supports The Immokalee Foundation’s goal of creating financial independence for future generations of families in our region,” Phillips said. “Without these funds and the programs they support, our students’ road to academic and professional success would be much more challenging.”

Immokalee students’ families struggle with poverty, food insecurity, lack of education, and high COVID infection rates – significant barriers to success.

The poverty rate in Immokalee is 43.4% and is higher for Immokalee’s youth and children. Fifty-two percent of children ages 5-17 live below the poverty level, and only 37.8% of adults over the age of 25 have attained a high school diploma or higher education.

“We sincerely appreciate the vision of the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation in creating the EAGER to Learn Grant program, and for recognizing The Immokalee Foundation’s commitment to the academic success of Immokalee’s youth,” said Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation.

The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation was founded in 2008 by Mrs. Cornelia Tarrant Bailey. The foundation is dedicated to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, who supported philanthropic organizations centered on education, veteran outreach, medical research and the arts, utilizing nature and science. The Baileys’ vision was to help ensure that communities, children and future generations have access to the arts and a quality education and to support organizations seeking to enhance the arts, improve the environment and promote quality health care and medical research. For more information, visit

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, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

Amy Montez and Hannah Hernandez, Immokalee High School students, participated in ACT/SAT tutoring with The Immokalee Foundation’s Elijah Arreaga.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways program helps students explore future career opportunities.

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