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Local nonprofits in the running to win 25k State Farm grant

Posted at 8:06 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 23:25:55-04

IMMOKALEE, Fla. — You can help a non-profit organization right in our backyard win a $25,000 grant.

It's part of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant, given to organizations making a positive impact in their neighborhoods.

Two local non-profits are in the running, but they need your help to win.

From helping future generations succeed, to feeding families in need, both The Immokalee Foundation and Meals of Hope are helping Southwest Florida thrive.

They say winning this grant would help them tremendously, especially during these tough economic times.

Building pathways to success is the mission behind The Immokalee Foundation.

The non-profit organization thas been serving the Immokalee community for 30-years.

"We focus on providing educational opportunities for the students of Immokalee from elementary school all the way to post-secondary," said Melissa Phillips, VP of Philanthropy at The Immokalee Foundation.

This year The Immokalee Foundation anticipates serving 1,400 students.

The non-profit works closely with the Collier County School District to provide educational programs on school campuses' and at the organization's offices.

"Our students are exceptional, they are the future, they are very driven, very family-oriented, and they are very, very hard workers," said Phillips.

The Immokalee Foundation is one of the 2,000 organizations that made a submission to win a $25,000 grant from State Farm.

Only 200 across the country made it to the final round, including the foundation.

"We're so excited to be considered for this grant," said Phillips.

If awarded, Phillips says the foundation will put the grant towards an Engineering and Construction Management Career Pathway Learning Lab.

"The learning lab is an amazing new initiative that we started, it's an 18 home subdivision in Immokalee, and our students will be working with licensed contractors to learn the trade," said Phillips.

"The on the job training for our students is imperative because it helps them get comfortable, it helps them learn about real-world experience and then they can apply those skills when they go directly to the workforce after post-secondary education."

Popper says high school students will be working as paid interns and earn industry-recognized credentials prior to high school graduation.

"The learning lab will not only provide on-the-job education, but it will also provide housing in Immokalee at an affordable rate," said Phillips.

Also in the running for the grant is Meals of Hope, a non-profit organization working tirelessly to feed families in need in Southwest Florida.

"We're serving about 3,000 families a week, which is a significant, significant increase from what we were doing this time last year," said Stephen Popper, President and CEO of Meals of Hope.

Popper says, if award, the funds would go towards keeping their food pantries going.

Currently, the non-profit holds 12 weekly food pantries.

"It'll go towards feeding our neighbors, you know, the basic needs, people are still hurting, the unemployment numbers are slowly improving, but the reality is the unemployment numbers are still extremely high," said Popper.

To help these organizations win, all you have to do is cast your vote.

From the 200 finalists across the country, the 40 organizations with the most votes will each win a grant.

"We can't do this without you, so please vote," said Phillips.

The deadline to submit your vote is this Friday, October 2nd. You can vote up to 10-times per day for the same organization or split up your votes.

Link to vote for The Immokalee Foundation, click here.

Link to vote for Meals of Hope, click here.