The Hunter Institute's mission is to enhance the growth and development of children through quality pre-school and elementary education and to promote professional development among teachers and care providers.
Willard and Judy Hunter of Bonita Springs funded the center through a charitable remainder trust (CRT) and a charitable gift annuity (CGA).
"We purposely funded this institute with a CRT and a CGA so we can be involved in its growth while guaranteeing its long-term future and success," said Wil Hunter, retired president and CEO of Optem, a Rochester-based custom optical instrument design and manufacturing company he co-founded in 1984.
Judy Hunter, a preschool teacher for 20 years, knows firsthand the issues that educators face and the value of engaging children in learning early in life.
"We hope the work of the institute will result in a better understanding of how young children learn and how to help them in the classroom," she said. "If we can teach young children to be comfortable in the classroom, they will gain significant self-esteem and will be able to accomplish virtually any goal they set for themselves academically, physically and socially."