The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration and Charity Classic Pro-Am raised a record $2,323,356 to honor the organization’s 25th anniversary serving the youth of Immokalee.
The Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, held Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, was led by honorary chair Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991. The evening featured the debut of “Heroes of Immokalee,” a film by Los Angeles filmmaker David Serota.
Long-time supporters and fellow board members Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Don O’Neill and Mac McDonald co-chaired the event. “The key to this event was the celebration of a 25-year history of this organization, which was started by Parker Collier and has grown to a team of thousands who are helping to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee,” Stonesifer said. “The results were on display as the kids on stage gave their personal stories of success.”
Much of that success involves post-secondary education; in fact, this year the organization celebrated its first doctoral graduate with Dr. Kristen Dimas, who is now serving her medical residency at Lee Health after graduating from the Florida State University College of Medicine with support from The Immokalee Foundation.
At the Charity Classic Pro-Am, 26 professional golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – joined 100 of Southwest Florida’s most philanthropic golfers at the Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples.
Kevin Johnson again chaired the Pro-Am with an important assist from PGA and Champions Tour professional Mark Lye, a founder of the tournament. Lye recruited other top golfers for the day of clinics, demonstrations, a round of play and an awards presentation. Among those responding to Lye’s invitation, in addition to Walker and Thompson, were Briny Baird, Bobby Clampett, Erik Compton, Laura Diaz, Kendall Dye, Steve Flesch, Tom Gillis, Dudley Hart, Kim Kaufman, Skip Kendall, Casey Kennedy, Paige Mackenzie, Michelle McGann, George McNeill, Kristy McPherson, Shaun Micheel, Brooke Pancake, Charlie Rymer, Chris Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Kris Tamulis, Kris Tschetter and Mike Weir.
The top men’s foursome of Kevin Powderly, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen and Phil Warren played nine holes with Bobby Clampett and nine with Brooke Pancake. The top women’s foursome included Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente and Kristin Miller, who played with pros Lexi Thompson and Dudley Hart. In the mixed-flight competition, winners were Doug Esson, Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Mike Gavin and Carol Shuttleworth, who played with Kim Kaufman and Steve Flesch.
Corporate sponsors of this year’s events were Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party 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 The Immokalee Foundation, its signature events, 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.