Turning hope into reality
Located in Southwest Florida, just 35 miles east of Naples, Immokalee is home to one of the nation’s largest migrant communities, with a population of approximately 40,000 during the peak winter season. Many of the residents came to America and became naturalized citizens, and they work hard in the agricultural fields to support their families – and feed the nation. But in order to find better opportunities for their children, these families need our help.
For more than a quarter century, The Immokalee Foundation has worked tirelessly to strengthen the Immokalee community. With a focus on education, vocation and life skills, the Foundation offers students the tools, opportunities and support they need to succeed at each level of their education – whether they choose college, vocational programs or certifications that lead to financial independence.
Under the guidance of the Foundation’s mentors, these boys and girls grow to become young women and men who learn that through education and determination, they can transform their dreams into a better life for themselves and their families.
Our story is their story
Philanthropist Parker Collier founded The Immokalee Foundation in 1991 to help improve the future of Immokalee’s children by raising awareness and financial support from neighboring Neapolitans. The Immokalee Foundation began by committing financial assistance to existing initiatives in education, health care and career development programs — contributions that would help the children and the community as a whole.
Toward the end of the 1990s, Collier aimed to expand The Immokalee Foundation’s role in the community by administering in-house programs. The ensuing Millennium Campaign, which raised $2.5 million between 1999 and 2001 and became the corpus of The Immokalee Foundation’s endowment, spurred a range of programs centered on an empowerment model that pairs opportunity with accountability.
In 2001, The Immokalee Foundation’s education-based approach was solidified through its partnership with the statewide Take Stock in Children program that provides a unique opportunity for students to escape the cycle of poverty through education. The Immokalee Foundation began to offer additional educational programs, summer enrichment opportunities, camp experiences and workshops.
The Immokalee Foundation’s leadership took another look at the community through “A Study of Immokalee’s Children: Analysis of Needs & Strategic Actions” conducted by the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning in 2006. Clarifying the need for intensive early reading, after-school enrichment, college preparation and vocational training, the study became an important tool in measuring The Immokalee Foundation’s impact and shaping its program expansion.
From early childhood literacy education and college prep to career development and advanced vocational training, The Immokalee Foundation fosters a brighter future through individualized plans offering “Pathways to Success.” Today, The Immokalee Foundation helps more than 1,400 students annually by nurturing each child’s development as a student – and as a citizen – through education.