The Immokalee Fund is a quasi-endowment that provides scholarships through the First Generation program for students who are the first in their families to earn college degrees. It was established by long-time supporters and Naples residents David I.J. Wang and his wife, Cecile Liston Wang.
The couple, who are ardent supporters of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based organization fighting to improve wages and working condition for farm laborers, believe this endowment will complement their support of that group. "This is the most deserving cause that I have been involved with. Just seeing the poverty in Immokalee tells me there's got to be some way for the new generation to do better than the old generation," David I.J. Wang says. "A scholarship fund gets an immediate return on investment."
The Wangs' gift will be matched by the State of Florida First Generation Scholarship Fund. Born in Beijing, China, Mr. Wang emigrated with his family after World War II and earned degrees in engineering from George Washington University and Georgia Tech. He retired in 2010 after a career as an executive in private equity investment and at International Paper Co. and Union Carbide Corp. He has served as a trustee of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center.