June 12, 2018, marked the two-year anniversary of the Pulse shooting here in Orlando, and in honor of those lost in the tragedy, the 49 Fund awarded scholarships of $4,900 to LGBTQ+ students in the Orlando community.
The fund worked closely with local LGBTQ+ organizations to identify potential applicants at local high schools and universities. To qualify, students must be self-identified as “out,” be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, attend an accredited two- or four-year institution of higher learning on a full-time basis, earn a 3.0 GPA or higher, and demonstrate a commitment to improving the Central Florida community.
The Pulse attack and tragic deaths of 49 people left a lasting impact on Central Florida, but no doubt it was especially impressionable for LGBTQ+ youth.
The 49 Fund is an endowed educational scholarship founded by local Orlando businessman Barry L. Miller following the tragic events at Pulse. Miller said he wants the scholarships, now and in the future, to not just empower futures but to also continue to memorialize those who lost theirs. Pulse survivors or family members of victims who died are given special consideration.
“Central Florida Foundation is honored to host The 49 Fund to ensure this important legacy continues on to support the educational goals of LGBT students in our community,” said Mark Brewer, president and chief executive officer of Central Florida Foundation.
This year’s recipients, their hometowns and schools include:
-William (Billy) Budd (New Smyrna Beach) – Florida State University
-Jonathan (Jon) Covert (Deland) – Champlain College
-Jasmine Flowers (Winter Springs) – Columbia University
-Tena Gordon (Palm Bay) – Florida International University
-Francis Jarusiewicz (Merritt Island) – Florida State University
-Osher Ostroff (Orlando) – Valencia College
-Courtney Ring (Oviedo) – Seminole State College
-Neil Rios (Orlando) – Valencia College connecting to University of Central Florida
“After the Pulse tragedy rocked our community two years ago, we are proud of how Orlando has demonstrated that we are a strong and vibrant city,” said Miller. “The 49 Fund scholarship recipients have all committed to taking a leadership role in the community to ensure we continue to grow, educate and flourish in the memory of those we lost at Pulse.”
For more information and to donate, visit www.The49Fund.org.