The Immokalee Foundation has named event chairs for its 2016 signature fundraisers: the Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament, Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, and Charity Classic Pro-Am.
A group of distinguished, loyal supporters of The Immokalee Foundation will helm the nonprofit’s events during a milestone year – the 25th anniversary of funding pathways to the future for the children of Immokalee.
The first of the three events is chaired by David Steele. The Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament spreads the word about TIF’s efforts to Southwest Florida’s most prestigious golf communities, whose members learn about the foundation’s programs and often end up becoming supporters. On May 5 at the Bonita Bay Club in Naples, golfers will enjoy a day of competition on the course – but the true winners are the children of Immokalee. “I’m excited that the Inter-Club is almost here,” Steele said. “The thing to watch is the amount of people who come together for such a great cause and the interaction with TIF students.”
For the sixth year, Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management is chairman of the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament, a scramble-style outing to be held Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club. Each foursome is joined by a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes. “This year will almost certainly be the best as far as the pros who are lined up,” Johnson said. “I think it will be a shock to the people playing because there’s a high possibility of a couple of top 10 PGA Tour players participating this year.” It’s a labor of love for Johnson: “To have fun playing golf and also support The Immokalee Foundation programs, helping the students at the same time, is phenomenal,” he said.
Preceding the Pro-Am on the same weekend is the Charity Classic Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, on Nov. 11. Chaired by Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Stoney” Stonesifer, the evening includes fine dining, dancing, and live and silent auctions that feature life-changing opportunities and experiences for Immokalee students.
Stonesifer looks back with pride on a decade of involvement with TIF. “We’ve grown from having not one paid employee to an organization that’s extremely well-led and a board that is dedicated not only to sustaining the foundation but also to growing it,” Stonesifer said. “Today, we’re touching the lives of thousands of students and their families.”
McDonald shares that enthusiasm. “I’m very excited to be a part of these events during the organization’s 25th year,” he said.
Ten years ago, McDonald and O’Neill, along with golfer Mark Lye, started the Pro-Am golf tournament and annually recruit an amazing group of talented professionals. In addition, O’Neill and his wife, Ellen, held the first fundraiser for TIF’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program at their home in 2004. He’s happy to continue to be involved in The Immokalee Foundation. “The parents believe in us, the kids end up believing in themselves, and we’ve got a great thing going,” O’Neill said.
Sponsors of the 2016 Inter-Club Challenge, Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am are Florida Community Bank, presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., partner circle sponsors; Jaguar Naples, Porsche of Naples and Kelly Tractor, education circle sponsors; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; Huntington Bank, success circle sponsor; and Central Bank, pathways circle sponsor.
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 TIF, its signature events, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.