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Public invited to learn more about Collaboratory, its resident partners and volunteer oppor tunities for its scholarship program

Collaboratory is inviting the public to their holiday themed Night Market from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 15 at Collaboratory’s campus at 2031 Jackson Street in downtown Fort Myers.
This Night Market will feature live music by The Line Up Band, local artisans and entrepreneurs, tours and Collaboratory resident partners. FutureMakers Coalition will also be on site, which aims to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications and other high-quality credentials to 55 percent by 2025.

To recognize National Giving Month, the Collaboratory team will spotlight its scholarship program and is seeking application reviewers for the 2024 scholarship cycle. Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are important resources when it comes to ensuring students get the education and training needed to fill today’s jobs and aligns with the FutureMakers Coalition goal.

In 2023, thanks to scholarship fundholders, Collaboratory awarded $1,155,834 and 164 scholarships to local high school students, undergraduate, graduate students and adult learners from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties. Collaboratory received 663 applications, a 51.7 percent increase from the previous year, thanks to FutureMakers partners helping to ensure students of all ages are aware of these and other financial aid opportunities. The increase in applications makes volunteer reviewers and additional donors a vital part of the process.

“According to the FutureMakers Coalition Student Voice Report, finances are students’ top concern when it comes to education beyond high school in Southwest Florida,” said Crystal Maldonado, Scholarship Coordinator at Collaboratory. “So, it’s crucial that we have enough human and financial resources as part of our scholarships program to ensure we’re helping as many students as possible.”

Food trucks and vendors include South Pizza Co, Between the Bunz, Brookes Nugget Wagon, Forever Grounded Coffee, Wonderland Cookie Dough & Ice Cream,
Carito’s Gourmet Empanadas, Dynasty Guacamole and more.
Retailers on site will include Wild at Heart Flower Truck, Amorist Jewelry, The Love Muffins, Wajoli African Wear, The Glow Soap Co, The Adventuring Nerd, The House of Scout, SummaVitaLinx, The Fairy Hair Lady, Jayce’s Freeze Dried Candy Shack, Citrus Circus Southwest Florida, Mama V’s Pepper Jam, Brandi’s Pup Shop, My Eclectic Everything, Studio K Handcrafted, Sea Glass Collections, Colorstory Boutique, Helping Hands by Hannah and more.

Activities provided by Lee County Public Library System, IMAG History & Science Center, Curate Entertainment and Fort Myers Fire Department Station 11 Sparky Santa the dog will be on site for photo opportunities.

If you are interested in becoming a scholarship reviewer or starting a scholarship fund, contact Collaboratory at or call 239-274-5900.

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