This is the second year in a row that the Central Florida Foundation will accept applicants for The 49 Fund annual scholarship award. Up to 10 local students who are a part of the LGBT community will receive $4,900 each to help pay for college tuition. This scholarship is part of the continuing efforts to honor those lost in the Pulse tragedy.
Mark Brewer has been Central Florida Foundation’s president and CEO for 17 years. He says the sole inspiration of this scholarship was the lives lost and those survivors the night of the Pulse shooting. “Local attorney and CEO of The Closing Agent, Barry Miller, was concerned about the futures for those affected by the Pulse tragedy, including children of the victims and survivors themselves. He approached the foundation with this idea to create a fund that would provide scholarships to LGBT students in Central Florida with special consideration for survivors of the tragedy or immediate family members of those whose lives were lost.”
The 49 Fund at Central Florida Foundation was created in March 2017. In the scholarship’s first year, eight students were awarded $4,900 each. The scholarship money comes from contributions made by individuals, families and companies from all over the country. Miller, the founder, continues to rally community support. Once the students are selected for the scholarship, a line of communication is kept open.
“In selecting scholarship recipients, part of the criteria is that students demonstrate their commitment to having a positive impact in our community. Our hope for them is that they use this as a ‘springboard’ to excel in their careers while using their skills to give back to the community that has supported them along the way. While we are only one class in so far, we stay in touch with the students throughout the year to hear how they are doing and how we can be helpful during the school year. Our hope is to keep that line of communication open so we can further assist them in making connections across the community,” said Brewer.
Naturally, Brewer has high hopes for The 49 Fund in the near future. “The long-term goal for The 49 Fund is to raise $1 million to endow the fund, so that it is in place forever to continually support LGBT students focused on having a positive impact in our community.”
Students who plan on applying must be self-identified as “out” and a member of the LGBT community to qualify for the scholarship. Applicants must also attend an accredited two- or four-year college on a full-time basis, earn a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate a commitment to making Central Florida a better place. For more information and to apply, visit www.The49Fund.org.