Monthly Archives

May 2016

Schulze Family Foundation funds iWill Mentorship Foundation as part of FutureMakers Coalition

By | Press Releases

iWill Mentorship trailer

Trailer enables mentoring through community bike repair clinics and rides in Dunbar, bringing together law enforcement, community and at-risk youth to build mutual respect and understanding

As part of its $300,000 grant to the FutureMakers Coalition, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has funded $5,890 to the iWill Mentorship Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner, for the purchase of an industrial trailer for transportation of youth bikes for neighborhood bike rides and bike repair clinics within the Fort Myers’ communities with at-risk youth.

IWMF is teaming up with the Fort Myers Police Department, community youth organizations and local churches to promote prevention of violence and unity of the community.

Under community bike ride and bike repair clinics scheduled throughout the end of the year, IWMF is reconditioning used bicycles for local youth to ride along with the Fort Myers police on bike patrols in their neighborhoods.

“The highly visible but friendly law enforcement presence in at-risk communities provides a healthy atmosphere where youth can spend evening hours with officers, building positive relationships and respect,” said Jesse Bryson, president of IWMF.

According to Bryson, the trailer was an essential piece to IWMF’s plan so that it can secure the bicycles and easily transport them to the neighborhoods, helping to better engage with the youth.

During the clinics, teens will work alongside mentors, learning how to recondition the used bikes as well as be exposed to several career opportunities. Unbeknownst to the teens, at the end of the program, the repaired bikes will be given as gifts to those youth in need.

“This trailer donation was an easy decision for us,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “It’s not about the trailer but about what the trailer does – it helps this group of mentors get to work impacting the neighborhoods and communities they wish to serve.”

The iWill Mentorship is working in the Dunbar community to build skills, aspirations, community trust and engagement among the youth residing there in hopes of connecting the them with mentors and law enforcement who will provide STEM skills and career exposure, according to Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition.

“This is grassroots FutureMakers work at its very finest,” LeSage said of the iWill Mentorship Foundation. “These FutureMakers partners saw the need and found a creative and effective way to fill it with high hopes of changing lives, reducing crime and establishing an opportunity to meet shared goals in their neighborhoods.”

LeSage said the program hopes additional parties will contribute to the effort by volunteering to assist with bike repairs, participating in ride or becoming a sponsor.

“One-thousand dollars will sponsor bikes for 10 youth, and $3,000 will sponsor 30 bikes,” added Bryson.

Upcoming bike repair clinics are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 and Dec. 10. All clinics will take place at Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery, located at 3630 S. Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers.

All community bike rides will take place on Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Upcoming rides are scheduled for May 25 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located 3105 Broadway in Fort Myers; Aug. 24 at Rosa De Saron Assembly of God, located at 13235 Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers; and Dec. 14 at Good News Baptist Church of Pine Manor, located at 1650 Oak Drive in Fort Myers.

Last fall, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation granted the FutureMakers Coalition $300,000. The grant, which is payable during the next three years, will help fund emerging programs and projects like iWill developed by the Coalition’s Regional Action Teams focused on the FutureMakers’ goal of increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.

The Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder Dick Schulze, a Southwest Florida resident. It supports education, human services, health and medical research, and transformational entrepreneurship.

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at[email protected].

FutureMakers Coalition announces regional outcomes

By | Press Releases

Goal to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by 2025

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 13, 2016) –The FutureMakers Coalition recently reached a major milestone by setting its regional outcomes.

The goal of FutureMakers is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the number of college degrees, certificates or other high-quality credentials from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025.

“Outcomes help us understand the impact of the Coalition’s work,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition. “Where impact is not realized, we can use the data to help us adapt. Setting outcomes and measuring impact regularly creates a mechanism for continuous improvement. These outcomes have been vetted among Champions, and Regional and County Action team partners in meetings and in online forums.”

According to LeSage, the basis for these outcomes that were adapted for Southwest Florida originally came from other communities that are engaging in this same work and are supported by practice and research as important steps toward post-secondary attainment and regional vitality. The outcomes fall within five key areas of the Coalition’s focus: aspiration and preparation, access and entry, progress and persistence, and completion and data.

A sampling of the regional outcomes include:

Aspiration and Preparation: Increase percentage of students ready to enter kindergarten

Access and Entry: Increase Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates

Progress and Persistence: Increase business-education partnerships

Completion: Increase number of local post-secondary graduates placed in jobs in the region

“A year ago we launched the formation of the FutureMakers Coalition, and today we have the syllabus for what this Coalition is going to achieve,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

The Coalition is made up of regional partners in the areas of education, government, business and nonprofit, citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.

“Our economy is desperate for a skilled and technically proficient workforce,” said Bill McCormick, director of Fort Myers Technical College and a FutureMaker. “The FutureMakers Coalition’s goal is in direct alignment with the core mission of our region’s five public technical colleges: offer focused, short-term, post-secondary career training which leads directly to a technical certificate or industry certification but most importantly, a well-paying career.”

“Workforce is becoming the economic development incentive,” said Brent Kettler, director of the Hendry County Economic Development Council and a FutureMaker.  “Education discussions used to just be with educators, and workforce discussions used to just be with workforce taskforces, and the same with economic development. Today all these partners are talking together and working together, and this is how we will transform our community for the better.”

The list of vetted and prioritized outcomes is now ready for the next step in the Coalition: Data will be collected and reported in each of the areas, and future efforts will focus on programs already occurring and ones that can be developed in each of the areas.

“By collaborating and focusing on improving the numbers, we can be part of making our counties, region, state and nation a more competitive place for economic prosperity and quality of life,” Kettler added. “Data can be the catalyst for real change. Not unlike the rest of the country, we have serious issues, but data creates positive momentum for this region we love.”

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected]

 

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, [email protected]

Color Me Confident Youth Summit planned for May 7

By | Press Releases

The iWill Mentorship Foundation (IWMF), a FutureMakers Coalition partner, is hosting its Color Me Confident 2016 Youth Summit on May 7, 2016 at 10am at the Stars Complex at 2980 Edison Ave. in Fort Myers.

The 2016 Youth Summit will provide a forum for students aged 12 – 18, their parents and community leaders to learn about attending college, scholarship opportunities and financial aid as well as to network and share positive experiences.

The goal is to equip youth in the community with essential skills to ensure their success as they attend college and as future leaders. The mission is to inspire, empower, support, and expand the possibilities of today’s youth.

In addition to local youth aged 12 to 18, local government, church leaders, community organizations, law enforcement, educators, and families are invited to attend.

A representative from Concordia College will be in attendance and will conduct college band auditions for scholarships. Students who play a band instrument are encouraged to bring their instrument and be prepared to play a solo.

The event is being sponsored by Wells Fargo.

IWMF is a not-for-profit corporation that empowers youth to make positive life choices through community-based mentoring and intensive evidence-based programs focused on increasing academic achievement, decreasing youth criminal activity and strengthening the family structure.

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.iwmf2.org.

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, email: [email protected]

Glades Education Foundation receives $15,000 grant

By | Press Releases

Glades Education Foundation Receives GrantThe Southwest Florida Community Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner along with Lumina Foundation, has awarded the Glades Education Foundation a $15,000 grant.

The grant will be used to support the Glades Education Foundation’s AVID About Success mentoring program to increase the number of students receiving mentoring and skill advancement for academic success.

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a research-based program that brings strategies and curriculum to classrooms to prepare students, grades 6 through 12, for success in middle and high school.

According to Glades Education Foundation’s Executive Director Laura Perry, the foundation plans to establish the program in grades 7 through 9 in the initial startup year at Moore Haven Middle-Senior High School and grades 6 through 8 in West Glades School, while Pemayetv Emahakv Charter Middle School will be a planning site.

“We expect to see improved enrollment in school mentoring programs within Glades County middle and high schools resulting in improved teacher-student relationships, peer support, increased knowledge of personal achievement strategies, increased knowledge of important study and test-taking skills, and increased inquiry and communication skills,” said Perry. “We also hope to see an increase in the number of first-generation students matched with mentors.”

Perry added that the goal is to see an increase in the number of middle school student enrollment in advanced coursework such as algebra I honors, geometry honors and biology I honors as well as honors and dual enrollment classes at the high school level.

“We expect students will continue in the AVID program through 12th grade and be accepted into a college, university or career academy,” she said.

AVID students will also learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as other scholarship and financial aid applications, resulting in an increased number of FAFSA completions.

The mission of AVID is for students to be focused on post-secondary education.

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the it has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

 

About FutureMakers Coalition

The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the Coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders, and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners. The Lumina Foundation is an independent private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition’s collective effort encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. It is looking for partners from all sectors to invest resources, including time, expertise, funding and more. For more information, visitwww.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected].

 

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, [email protected]

NEWS-PRESS: Building a Future for Our Children

By | News

The power of the force not only applies to the Star Wars movies but also to what is happening throughout Southwest Florida through the work of the FutureMakers Coalition, which recently met with The News-Press editorial board.

Spearheaded by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the goals of the coalition are to improve post-secondary graduation rates and technical school certifications to give the area workforce what it wants: better prepared students capable of handling today’s career demands.

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Miami Herald: Five things you didn’t know about earning a degree in Florida

By | News