NAPLES — Louise Penta has pledged a $250,000 gift to The Immokalee Foundation to underwrite the cost of the sixth home at the groundbreaking Learning Lab construction project. A hands-on professional training hub, the Learning Lab serves as an experiential learning opportunity for Immokalee Foundation students by providing hands-on experience for those participating in the Engineering & Construction Management Pathway.
The Learning Lab is home to a future 18-home subdivision in the heart of Immokalee, built by Foundation students under direct supervision from professionals from BCB Homes and highly skilled sub-contractors.
Penta’s gift enables The Immokalee Foundation to fund the cost for materials, supplies and labor needed during construction. With Penta’s gift, six of the 18 homes have now been underwritten, three of which have been underwritten by Immokalee Foundation board members.
“Upon my first visit to the Learning Lab, I knew this was a project that I wanted to support,” Louise Penta said. “The knowledge and enthusiasm of the students and support team was amazing. I felt the pulse of learning that was going on at The Learning Lab, so I underwrote a house!”
Louise served on the board of The Immokalee Foundation since 2008 and after stepping down in 2018, remains a Board Emeritus. She has chaired The Immokalee Foundation’s annual Charity Classic Event three times and co-chaired an additional three times. Louise created the signature-trademarked “Fund a Dream” in 2010 and enjoyed tremendous fundraising success by allowing donors to focus on the direct impact their funds will make for the Immokalee children.
Over the past 13 years, Louise has spent countless hours in Immokalee mentoring students through The Immokalee Foundation’s mentorship program, and in 2015, she received the Take Stock in Children’s statewide honor, Mentor of the Year. She has also received the “Women of Initiative” award in 2016 from the Collier Community Foundation for her continued work on behalf of children.
“Louise has been a passionate supporter of The Immokalee Foundation for well over a decade,” said Noemi Y. Perez, CEO and President of The Immokalee Foundation. “Her continued support is invaluable to our students and programs and has helped this organization grow to what it has become today. Her gift to The Learning Lab will continue to support our innovative Career Pathways Program and our students for years to come.”
The Career Pathways Learning Lab is made possible through collaboration and the generous contributions of community partners such as BCB Homes—who have donated over $350,000 of in-kind contributions to date, Collier Enterprises—who invested over $1 million for land and infrastructure costs for the Learning Lab, Collier County Commissioners—who provided a $500,000 workforce development grant, and the Ray Foundation’s $250,000 matching grant. Collier County Public Schools, Immokalee Technical College (iTECH), and many others have also donated time and resources to make this trail-blazing project a reality. All the homes completed as part of the Learning Lab will be sold at market price to help support the program.
The construction of the homes is in the process of being underwritten, with six homes sponsored to date through the generosity of Patricia & Donald Altorfer, Collier Community Foundation; Karen Hendricks; Barbara & Dale Morrison; Louise Penta; and The Wasie Foundation. For additional details on sponsorship and underwriting opportunities with The Immokalee Foundation, please contact Marie Rubenstein, Vice President of Philanthropy at 239-430-9122 or Marie.Rubenstein@ImmokaleeFoundation.org.