Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation awards four grants to SWFL schools

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic efforts on education initiatives, has issued four grants totaling $2,176 to teachers in The School District of Lee County.

On Dec. 14, the Chamber Foundation visited the teachers and coaches from Diplomat Middle School, East Lee County High School, Oasis Elementary South and Ida S. Baker High School for a check presentation to receive their funding.

“The primary focus of the Chamber Foundation is to help provide and support educational opportunities for our local community,” said Michele Hoover, president of the Chamber Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We hope that with these grants, we will be able to elevate and expand learning for future STEM students, aspiring medical professionals and female athletes, and help to facilitate a comfortable and engaging learning space for our children.”

The first of the four grants was provided to coach Kyle McClinton at East Lee County High School. He received $690 to help purchase female-specific equipment for the girls weightlifting team. Coach McClinton has built the team up from four girls to 12 and is looking to grow the team even more. The girls are required to use specific bars for their weightlifting competitions, and this grant will allow them to purchase six bars, which is six more than the team currently has.

The second grant was provided to teacher Alisa Brown at Diplomat Middle School. She received $500 to help launch the school’s STEM Program and Project Lead the Way. The initiative will introduce students of all races, gender and socioeconomic status to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. One of the courses the school will provide is “Medical Detectives,” which gives students the chance to solve medical mysteries and practice real-world medical skills.

The third grant was provided to teacher Allison McCarraher at Oasis Elementary South. She received $500 to fund flexible seating options for the students in her classroom. The flexible seating options will help increase student engagement and decrease off-task behaviors by creating a comfortable and collaborative learning environment.

The final grant was provided to teacher Elizabeth Woodward at Ida S. Baker High School. She received $486 to help purchase medical equipment for the school’s CNA and EKG training courses, as well as the Future Health Professionals Club. Adding medical equipment to the classroom will help her students get comfortable using real equipment and prepare them for their certifications.

“Our STEM program at Diplomat Middle School is incredibly grateful for the support of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber Foundation,” said Alisa Brown, sixth-grade science teacher at Diplomat Middle School. “I was completely surprised when they walked into my classroom. My sixth graders cheered, and it felt like Christmas came early for our class!”

Founded in 2004, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation supports the Chamber in its efforts to enhance education at a variety of levels in our community. The Foundation provides scholarships for college students, grants to educators and educational institutions, supports educational programs and presents seminars and workshops of interest and benefit to the business community.

To date, the Chamber Foundation has raised over $600,000 to support educational institutions and programs, our community and local students.

About the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce:
Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization that provides solutions and serves as a catalyst for growing the economy. The Chamber represents nearly 750 professionals and businesses throughout Southwest Florida, empowering, connecting and uniting members through meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events, please call 239-332-2930 or visit For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at
This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.