Event chairs and committee members are in place and planning ahead for The Immokalee Foundation’s signature fundraising events in November – the Charity Classic Celebration on Nov.8 and the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament on Nov. 11.
Heading up the efforts are gala co-chairs, Janet and Jerry Belle and Barbara and Dale Morrison, and golf tournament chair Sunny Sapiente.
Like the Morrisons, the Belles are dedicated supporters of the foundation’s work. They were introduced to The Immokalee Foundation after Hurricane Irma, when they learned that Naples’ rural neighbors were in need.
“We were so impressed with the educational work that was being done in Immokalee that I signed on as a mentor for a young man who is now a freshman at Immokalee High School,” said Jerry Belle. “If he upholds the pledge he makes every year to get good grades and adhere to the program guidelines, he will qualify for a Take Stock in Children college scholarship. This is a small investment of time on my part but a significant opportunity for this young man to further his education.”
Longtime supporters Barbara and Dale Morrison are equally ardent in their desire to help the youth of Immokalee.
“We believe in the mission of The Immokalee Foundation because we see the results from the efforts of teachers, staff, mentors and donors working together to help students attain their academic goals,” said Barbara Morrison. “Educational and career-building opportunities we provide to students will help them attain careers leading to financial independence. Our support also helps to develop important life skills to help them succeed.”
Serving with the Belles and Morrisons are committee members Dorothy and Chuck Campbell, Beverly and Arthur Cherry, Emily and John Costigan, Alison and Scott Douglas, Debra and John Griswold, Joyce Hagen and Don Fites, Karen Hendricks, Don Huffner, Joyce and Jim Kerridge, David Legus, Kathie and Jim Markiewicz, Sonia and Mac McDonald, Kaye and Peter Negri, Ellen and Don O’Neill, Louise Penta, Marnette and Paul Perry, Kathy and Steve Pryor, Linda and Craig Rydin, and Dee and Joe Zednik.
An active member at Bay Colony Golf Club and 20-year resident of Naples, Sapiente is overwhelmed by the foundation students’ ambition, as well.
“The children are enthusiastic about the opportunities the foundation provides them,” said Sapiente. “They step up to the plate, work hard and embrace the educational programs. The reward is tremendous for those of us who donate their time and contribute financially, too. Through the years, we have seen the children grow and prosper.”
Serving with Sapiente on the Pro-Am committee are Don Fites, Kristin Miller, Steve Pryor, Joe Sanda, and John Tobe. An exclusive pairings party takes place on Nov. 10 at Bay Colony, with the professional golfers and amateurs learning who their partners will be the following day. The Pro-Am takes place at the Old Collier Golf Club, beginning with registration and breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
The Charity Classic Celebration will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, on Vanderbilt Beach Road. Registration and cocktails start at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7. The most exciting part of the evening is the Fund A Dream auction, a live bidding experience that allows donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways. The auction supports programs that forge important career pathways for Immokalee youth through the foundation’s recently launched Career Pathways model.
Based on extensive research of in-demand professions in Southwest Florida, the comprehensive new curriculum helps students – beginning in middle school – to follow educational and experiential pathways to their chosen careers. The model recognizes that many well-paying jobs are available to students who earn industry-recognized certifications and credentials, in addition to professions that require two- and four-year college degrees.
Tickets to the Charity Classic Celebration begin at $550 per person, and entry into the Pro-Am is $5,000 per golfer. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are now available. For more information or to register, call 239-430-9122 or visit https://immokaleefoundation.org/events/.
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 https://immokaleefoundation.org.