Friday, January 21, 2022

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Grants for Immokalee Regional Airport Upgrades

The Board of County Commissioners approved two grants for more than $550,000 for upgrades at the Immokalee Regional Airport (IMM). A Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant for $352,000 is earmarked for design to rehabilitate Runway 18/36, one of two runways at the airport, and an additional FDOT grant for $200,000 will help cover costs for design and permitting of security enhancements. The existing terminal building was built in 1996, prior to when many aviation security recommendations were adopted. With this grant the Airport Authority will be able to design and permit enhanced security and provide a safer and more secure airport environment.

The two FDOT grants are part of an ongoing initiative to modernize the airport’s infrastructure to create a safer and more efficient operating environment for airport users.

Upon completion of the design phase associated with the Runway 18/36 Rehabilitation, the Collier County Airport Authority and FDOT plan to invest nearly $7.3 million of additional funding to reconstruct the original pavement, which dates back to the airport’s activation as an army training base during WWII (1942); construction is expected to commence in late 2019.

Collectively, these vital improvement projects, and their associated construction costs, represent over $8.5 million of imminent capital investment in the Immokalee Regional Airport, of which 80 percent will be funded by FDOT with 20 percent local/county participation.

FDOT estimates that IMM has a total local economic impact of nearly $27.7 million annually.

For more information contact Airports Manager Justin Lobb at 239-642-7878.

Naples United Church of Christ Awards Grant

The Board of Mission and Outreach at Naples United Church of Christ awarded a grant of $3,000 to Avow to help fund the purchase of a Vscan™ portable ultrasound machine. The equipment allows Avow’s hospice and palliative care teams to assess patients in the comfort of their homes instead of sending them to imaging service providers.

Avow was founded in 1983 as Collier County’s original, nonprofit hospice. Today, Avow’s nonprofit companies provide palliative care consultations for adults facing chronic or serious illness and hospice care and bereavement support services for children and adults.

To learn more about the scope of services provided by Avow, call 239-261-4404 or visit

Gift of Literacy

The gift of literacy will be shared with many more children in Immokalee thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.

The Immokalee Foundation received the grant to support Immokalee Readers and to fund operations for the early literacy intervention program, which serves nearly 700 young readers in Immokalee’s five elementary schools. The program’s 100-plus tutors are high school students who are paid an hourly wage and are supervised by certified classroom teachers.

Additionally, the grant funds the ACT/SAT prep under the Career Development program. The six-week class – three days a week, three hours a day – for high school students who are enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation programs includes math, science, English and reading components. Students participating in the ACT preparation course realized an average of 12.5 percent gains in their scores. Students participating in the SAT preparation course realized an average of 7 percent gains in their scores.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation was founded by Schulze, the founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co Inc. Schulze came from a modest background in his home state of Minnesota; today, the foundation supports philanthropic efforts in Minnesota and Southwest Florida, where Schulze resides.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, 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

NAA to Host Exhibition

The Naples Art Association ( – a non-profit organization whose mission is to expand cultural opportunities, broaden education, and enrich Southwest Florida through the visual arts – is thrilled to announce that it will partner with HW Gallery ( to host the Karen Barrow: Art of the Automobile exhibition from February 7 through February 9 in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery at the NAA, located at 585 Park Street in Naples. This exhibition is held in conjunction with Naples 14th Annual Cars on Fifth.

A special opening reception will be held at the NAA on Friday, February 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The reception is free for NAA donors with a suggested donation of $10 per person for the general public. Wine and light refreshments will be provided.

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