FutureMakers Coalition

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 28, 2015) – The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation recently granted the FutureMakers Coalition $300,000.

The grant, which is payable during the next three years, will help fund programs and projects 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.

“It resonates throughout the region when big organizations work together for the greater good,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “The work FutureMakers is doing really falls in line with what we want to do, and we love the collaborative aspect of this effort.”

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.

“This generous funding put forth by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will power the ideas generated by experts and go directly to support the programs identified through the Coalition’s Regional Action Teams to address identified needs to boost our region’s workforce through skills training and educational initiatives,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition.

The FutureMakers Coalition was born out of a two-year regional initiative focused on increasing the number of high-school seniors in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Responding to the Florida College Access Network’s 2012 report that more than $100 million in Pell Grants went unclaimed by Florida students, the initial effort involved a team of more than a dozen stakeholders who invested in high-school seniors through one-on-one and group mentoring, FAFSA workshops and support, and career coaching.

Within a year and with the recommendation of FCAN and Helios, the work of the inaugural FutureMakers program was recognized by Lumina Foundation, 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 FutureMakers Coalition benefits from Lumina’s collaborative approach that connects Southwest Florida to renowned national thought-leadership organizations and provides technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding as attainment plans are customized.

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 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, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at TLeSage@floridacommunity.com.