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The Immokalee Foundation raised an all-time record $2.6 million at its signature fundraising events, the Charity Classic Celebration gala and the Charity Classic Pro Am, to support the foundation’s new career-based initiative, Career Pathways: Empowering Students to Succeed.

Based on extensive research of in-demand professions in Southwest Florida, the comprehensive new Career Pathways curriculum helps students – beginning in middle school – to follow educational and experiential pathways to their chosen careers. The pathways include Engineering and Construction Management, Business Management, Education and Human Services, and Health Care. 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.

Guests at the Charity Classic Celebration met Joel Garcia, who said his mother learned about The Immokalee Foundation when she overheard other mothers talking while working in the agricultural fields. Garcia, a graduate in civil engineering from Florida Gulf Coast University, spoke at the event alongside his four siblings about the difference the foundation has made in his journey toward a professional career and financial independence.

Mr. and Mrs. Garcia encouraged all their children to participate in the foundation’s programs: Eric, who will graduate from Cornell University in May with a bachelor of science degree in hotel administration and has worked summers for Lipman Family Farms in California and Mexico; Sandra, who is playing soccer and studying biochemistry at Ave Maria University to become a veterinarian; Aida, who went to summer camp in Maine and visited Washington, D.C., with foundation friends and wants to become an entrepreneur; and Diego, who attended iTECH over the summer and earned OSHA certification in the Engineering and Construction Management pathway and is considering becoming a software engineer.

Dinner guests also heard from event Co-chairs Barbara and Dale Morrison and Janet and Jerry Belle, as well as mentor and mentee pairs, who explained how important that relationship is to the success of each foundation student.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Board Chairman, Steve Pryor, announced about a new project that will create a learning lab for foundation students in the Business Management and Engineering and Construction Management pathways. Made possible through a land donation and generous financial support from Collier Enterprises, the foundation will create a housing subdivision in Immokalee where students will build houses and manage the commercial aspects of the homebuilding business, from project planning to home sales. Partner BCB Homes, along with its subcontractors, are waiving their profit margins on the project, which will educate students and benefit the Immokalee community at the same time.

Charity Classic Pro-Am headliners Peter Jacobsen and Jim Furyk were welcomed by Pro Am event chair Sunny Sapiente, an active member at Bay Colony Golf Club and a 20-year resident of Naples.

A broadcaster for NBC Sports, Jacobsen is a 43-year member on the PGA TOUR and a 15-year member on the PGA TOUR Champions. Furyk has amassed 17 PGA TOUR victories and served as the 2018 Ryder Cup captain.

In addition to Jacobsen and Furyk, the roster of who’s who on the links included Elise Bradley, Michael Bradley, Mike Cowan, Laura Diaz, Lindy Duncan, Austin Ernst, Michaela Finn, Dudley Hart, Dani Holmquist, Gary Koch, Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Will Lowery, Mark Lye, George McNeill, Marisa Messana, Chris O’Connell, Paula Reto, Charlie Rymer, Ted Scott, Lauren Stephenson, Emma Talley, Anne-Catherine Tanguay, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Chase Wright.

First place honors in the scramble-format tournament went to local amateur players Steve Sattler, Scott Dixon, Tim Kelly and Jim O’Connor, paired with golf pros Rymer and Diaz. Amateurs Jackie Sturges, Robin Hamilton, Kristin Miller and Elaine Moorin won the women’s division, paired with golf pros Hart and O’Connell. Amateurs Ron Cindrich, John Sapiente, Tom Mueller and Mike Coury were the men’s winners, paired with golf pros Scott and LeBlanc. Eric Morris, Barbara Morrison, Jeff Keyes and Jay Rasmussen earned closest-to-the-pin honors.

The Presenting Sponsor for the Charity Classic events was Kelly Tractor. Additional sponsors included BCB Homes, Success Circle Sponsor; BMO Wealth Management, Collier Enterprises, entech, IBERIABANK and Synovus, Pathways Circle Sponsors; and Florida Weekly, Gulfshore Life/D’Latinos magazines and Naples Daily News, Media Sponsors

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, 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





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