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$16 million to build a new child development center from Elyse Lipman and family
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$16 million to build a new child development center from Elyse Lipman and family

Redlands Christian Migrant Association and Lipman Family Farms -America’s largest tomato growers-led by fourth generation family member Elyse Lipman -are partnering to build a $16.4 million campus that will feature two child development centers, a community center, charter school and two soccer fields.

The new Lipman Family Campus in Immokalee, Florida is scheduled for completion in 2025. The new RCMA center will offer resources to migrant children and families.

RCMA is dedicated to expanding educational resources to migrant and agriculture working families in Immokalee. The new campus is slated to be built at 3200 Lake Trafford Road.

Isabel Garcia, executive director for RCMA, said the new center will house the existing students and staff.

“Our head start program is federally funded,” said Garcia. “Funding was made available for organizations to apply to build new facilities. We applied and were granted $16 million. During a disaster we operate as a community hub. Having a new facility will allow us to continue offering resources to those in need.”

RCMA offers early childhood education, health care assistance and assistance to parents. RCMA also operates two charter schools serving more than 560 students, from kindergarten through the 8th grade.

RCMA also received a $3 million donation from Lipman Family Farms recently.

“We equip families with resources such as child developmental screenings,” said Garcia. “We also help connect families with medical and dental providers. We also provide family support services by offering parenting classes and workshops for families. We provide a comprehensive model. We’re all about helping the whole family.”

Garcia said since this is a federally funded project there is a timeline as to when the funds need to be utilized.

“The expected completion date is August of 2025,” Garcia said. “The staff will be transferred from the existing two centers. There’s over 70 staff within those two centers, including teachers, family support workers, early childhood specialists that provide support to the teachers and two directors who run the programs.”

Garcia is looking forward to the new campus.

“I’m really excited,” said Garcia. “We’ve been in Immokalee since the 1970’s, and we’ve been leasing those facilities. So we’re excited that this is going to be our facility. The staff have had to work within limited space. We couldn’t build or knock down walls when it’s not your facility. We will finally have a brand-new place that will be able to accommodate the children and staff comfortably. A place we can call home.”

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