Ten post-secondary students with The Immokalee Foundation recently received “fun money” scholarships through the Massoud and Isabella Eghrari Charitable Foundation.
Dr. Eghrari and his late wife, Isabella, knew from their personal experiences how difficult it is pursuing an education and career. So, in addition to funding scholarships for higher education through The Immokalee Foundation, they established $500 scholarships for first-year post-secondary students that each student may use for whatever they wish. Recognizing the hard work of the students – and the financial challenges that students frequently face in their first year of studies – the Eghraris wanted to reward them in a unique manner, which they refer to as “fun money.”
“I am extremely grateful for the extra money, because being a full-time student doesn’t allow for a lot of extras,” said Naidelyn Maldonado, who attends Florida SouthWestern State College as a Take Stock in Children scholarship recipient through The Immokalee Foundation.
A retired surgeon who moved to Southwest Florida from New York eight years ago, Dr. Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, are strong supporters of education and The Immokalee Foundation. “This nonprofit is involved in educating underprivileged children,” Dr. Eghrari said. “It provides them a new life, makes them wise and useful members of society. Many of them return to Immokalee and share what they have learned. You don’t have to wait a generation to see what a difference the scholarships make. We appreciate the money directly benefits the students.”
To receive the “fun money,” students completed an application with general information and an essay stating what they would do with the money if they received it. To support the spirit of the award, the students are required to spend the funds on themselves rather than others.
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, 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.