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FutureMakers receives $50,000 challenge grant

By March 17, 2017No Comments3 min read

The FutureMakers Coalition was recently awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from Florida Philanthropic Network as part of its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI). A $10,000 grant was also awarded for administration costs and backbone support.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials by the year 2025. The Coalition plans to use the challenge grant funding to continue to advance regional outcomes and efforts that support the Florida Higher Education Coordination Council’s statewide goal of 55 percent higher education attainment.

The grant will be awarded after the Coalition raises $50,000 in additional private donations by Jan. 31, 2018. Anyone interested in learning more about the grant or investing in the FutureMakers Coalition may visit

The College Access and Success Initiative is an initiative of Florida Philanthropic Network made possible through funding from the Helios Education Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. CASI builds on the success of the Florida College Access Network (FCAN) and its mission to create and strengthen a statewide network that catalyzes and supports communities to improve college and career preparation, and access and completion for all students. The purpose of the challenge grant is to leverage local private investment, through Florida community foundations, to engage and sustain college access coalitions, thereby increasing the college-going and post­ secondary completion rates of students traditionally underrepresented in higher education and building a college going culture throughout the state.

“This challenge grant allows the FutureMakers Coalition to create an endowment to fund the collective work aimed at transforming Southwest Florida’s workforce in perpetuity,” said Tessa LeSage, who is the director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and oversees the FutureMakers Coalition. “Fueled by the College Access & Success Challenge Grant and matched by regional partners and others who care deeply about education and workforce development, the endowment will supply funding to keep these issues and the need to work together to achieve our goals at the forefront of our priorities. Further, the opportunity to participate in the statewide learning community will be invaluable to current and future projects underway and ultimately to the success of the FutureMakers Coalition.”

In 2016, Southwest Florida was one of 75 metropolitan areas selected as part of Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment to increase post-secondary attainment nationwide by increasing the number of working age adults with degrees and certifications.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at