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The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has granted $100,000 to The Immokalee Foundation to support its Immokalee Readers and Career Development programs.

Immokalee Readers is an after-school program designed to target the lowest performing student readers and complement the reading instruction students receive during the regular school day. It matches high school-age tutors with elementary-age children to provide intensive and enjoyable reading lessons. The program currently involves approximately 545 students enrolled at all five elementary schools in Immokalee plus 110 high school students who are trained to be tutors. All of the elementary students make demonstrable gains in reading proficiency and test scores.

The Career Development program introduces students to choices for successful futures, whether in college, the military or vocational school. They also learn foundational skills, such as effective communication and networking, leadership techniques, and developing a positive work ethic.

Richard Schulze, the founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co Inc., came from a modest background in his home state of Minnesota; he built the company from the ground floor, expanding to six stores in 1983 and going public soon afterward. Today, Best Buy has more than 145,000 employees and operates more than 1,400 stores in the United States and 479 stores in Canada, China and Mexico.

The Schulze Family Foundation supports philanthropic efforts in Minnesota and Southwest Florida, where Schulze now resides.

“The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is interested in students having access to high-quality education, which includes after-school tutoring and mentoring, as well as college and career development programs,” said Mary Beth Geier, Lee and Collier counties region coordinator for the foundation. “Fortunately for the community, The Immokalee Foundation provides all of that, and much more. Therefore, we are excited to partner with them, through this grant, so they can continue to offer outstanding programs to the students and families in Immokalee.”

Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, added, “This generous support from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will help us provide meaningful programs and services that create pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. We are extremely grateful for the Schulze family’s commitment to our efforts.”

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

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