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May 2009

Joan and Buck Blessing´s Gift Brings Dream of Community Center Closer within Reach

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers would like to extend their gratitude to Joan and Buck Blessing for their wonderfully generous contribution of $10,000 in support of the CIW’s new Community Center! Joan has been very active in the Campaign for Fair Food; recently, for example, she collected numerous signatures at St. Monica´s Episcopal Church in Naples as part of a religious sign-on letter encouraging Governor Crist to meet with the CIW and to take actions to prevent slavery in Florida´s fields. The new community center here in Immokalee is the base for the CIW’s human rights work and is essential to community outreach, leadership development, educational programming, and organizing work in the farmworker community. It’s the home of the CIW’s low-power radio station, Radio Conciencia 107.9 FM, as well as a staple food cooperative that provides daily essentials to community members at cost. Also housed here is the Anti-Slavery office, a place for the Coalition’s work against human trafficking, and a multimedia library, where members of the community are able to use computers, books, and other educational resources. Joan and Buck´s much-appreciated contribution pushes the funds raised in the CIW´s Community Center Capital Campaign to $598,729. In order to cover remaining renovation and furnishing expenses, we must secure another $401,271. For more information on how to support the CIW´s Community Center, please contact Jordan Buckley at (239) 986 9101 or Jordan@InterfaithAct.org.  

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove, IL Makes Generous Donation to the New Community Center in Immokalee

The First Congregational United Church of Christ, Downers Grove has raised $20,000 to support the CIW’s new Community Center. A delegation from the church first visited Immokalee in December 2004, experiencing first hand the reality of life for farmworkers. They returned to Illinois to share their experiences with the the rest of the congregation and continue their involvement in the Taco Bell Boycott, traveling to Louisville, KY in March of 2005 for the celebration of the Yum Brands agreement. Members of the congregation became even more deeply involved with the Campaign for Fair Food in 2006, when a team from Immokalee moved to the suburbs of Chicago to work on the McDonald’s campaign. McDonald’s world headquarters is in Oak Brook, the town adjacent to Downers Grove. Many members of the church were instrumental in calling on McDonald’s to improve wages and conditions for farmworkers. Last February, a delegation of the church again visited Immokalee, touring the soon to be completed Community Center. That visit sparked the idea to raise money for the Center in conjunction with the church’s own Capital Campaign. Their remarkable donation will considerably boost the CIW´s Capital Campaign for the new Community Center. The CIW expresses sincere gratitude to the whole congregation, saying, “We are thankful for the support you have shown us– both in the Campaign for Fair Food and for our dream of creating a farmworker community center to serve as the base of our work for human rights. Thanks to your partnership, the Community Center is closer than ever to becoming a reality.” The First Congregational United Church of Christ, Downers Grove contribution sets the total funds raised in the CIW´s Community Center Capital Campaign to $567,000 – just another $433,000 to go to cover all remaining expenses. For more information on how to support the CIW´s Community Center, please contact Jordan Buckley at (239) 986 9101 or Jordan@InterfaithAct.org

Nov. 25, 2008

Longtime Naples Community Activist Audrey Bender Makes Gift to Community Center

Last week, Audrey Bender, a steadfast CIW supporter and community activist in nearby Naples, FL made a generous contribution to the CIW´s new Community Center. Her $5,000 gift will enable the CIW to pay off remaining expenses for the new Community Center project, including outstanding renovations, mortgage and other furnishings. Ms. Bender is a longtime advocate for women´s rights and public health in Naples, located just 40 miles southwest of Immokalee. Lucas Benitez, a CIW staff member, stated, “We really appreciate Audrey´s kindness in helping us to cover remaining necessary expenses for our long awaited Community Center. She is a wonderful partner in our collective work for justice in the fields.” Ms. Bender´s gift pushes the CIW´s total fundraising for the Capital Campaign to $527,500, with another $472,500 to go. For more information on how to support the CIW´s Capital Campaign, please contact Jordan Buckley at (239) 986 9101 or Jordan@InterfaithAct.org September 9, 2008 Deborah Dearborn Contributes $15,000 for Community Center Landscaping and Parking Lot! The CIW is happy to share the wonderful news that Deborah Dearborn, a longtime ally from First Congregational United Church of Christ on Sanibel Island, has made a generous gift that will greatly aid the Capital Campaign for the new Community Center. With her $15,000 gift, the CIW will be able to cover costs related to the recent completion of landscaping, a new fence, gate and sprinkler system as well as a parking lot and organic garden. Eusebio Rodriguez, a tractor driver for an orange company in Lehigh Acres and longtime CIW member, said of the thoughtful donation: “On behalf of the Coalition, we are very pleased and appreciative for the great support she gave us. Thanks to her, now we have a beautiful yard and cool garden in our community center. Thank you, Ms. Dearborn!” Ms. Dearborn´s gift pushed the CIW past the halfway mark in the million-dollar Capital Campaign for the Community Center. Presently, the CIW has raised $514,000 toward their final goal, but lack another $486,000 to pay for mortgage, further renovations, a radio tower and upkeep expenses. For more information on how to support the Capital Campaign, contact Jordan Buckley at (239) 986 9101 or Jordan@InterfaithAct.org