Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting the Guadalupe Center to develop new education facilities serving youth in rural Immokalee, Florida.
Guadalupe Center is a nonprofit focused on addressing intergenerational poverty through education in Immokalee. It operates early childhood education, after school tutoring programs and a high school through college tutor corps program. The project will create two facilities, expanding its cradle to college programs. Guadalupe Center currently serves 1,453 youth. This project will increase the organization’s overall capacity by 28%, allowing Guadalupe Center to reach 1,893 youth. Of the students who participate in their high school program, 100% of students graduate high school and are accepted to college, and 93% of them graduate college and are economically independent.
Reinvestment Fund together with Partners for the Common Good (PCG) provided $15.8 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocations for the $18 million project. Northern Trust is the investor and Guadalupe Center is providing the leverage loan from proceeds in hand from a capital campaign that has been underway since spring 2018.
Located on the Southwest Florida Promise Zone, the project is renovating 6,200 square foot vacant building to create the Monaghan Family Early Childhood Education Campus serving infants and toddlers. It will also construct a new 36,000 square foot building featuring early childhood education classroom and space dedicated to the Tutor Corps Program.
The project will provide:
- Early learning for ages 0 to 5: The project will provide 218 seats for children from infancy to kindergarten, allowing Guadalupe Center to make a significant dent in its wait list of 550. The Guadalupe Center is the only NAEYC accredited center in Collier County and works to get children kindergarten-ready, with 95% meeting that target at 5 years old. Additionally, the project will host weekly meetings of Guadalupe Center’s Smart Start program, which will teach parents of 30 children how to facilitate in-home learning, so their children will reach age-appropriate developmental milestones and gain the skills needed to succeed in school.
- Kindergarten through Second Grade: The project will administer after school programming for 1,000 youth, providing them with the extra academic support they need to make gains in their grade level and have age-appropriate reading skills by third grade. Additionally, it will administer summer programming for 400 students.
- High School through College: The project will engage 125 youth in grades 9 through 12 annually in Tutor Corps, a college-preparatory program that provides them with financial resources (hourly wage + scholarship funds), work experience (tutoring in the After School program), mentorship, and other supportive services. Additionally, it will engage another 150 college students in the college portion of the Tutor Corps program, providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed and graduate from college.
Guadalupe Center’s programs serve children in one of the most well known organized communities of farmworkers on the east coast. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization founded in 1993. CIW established the Fair Food Program (FFP) and negotiated binding commitments from national retailers to purchase from tomato farms only in good standing under the FFP guidelines, which ensure labor standards and profit sharing. Their model of partnership among farmworkers, tomato growers and participating retail buyers has expanded across the southeast and inspired the farmworker rights movement nationally.