John D. Rood
Heaven Taylor-Wynn was only in middle school when she received a Project STARS college scholarship and a lifelong mentor – two significant gifts from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and Take Stock in Children – gifts that helped change the trajectory of her future. Today the University of Florida graduate works at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she leads the social media strategy and ambassador program for MediaWise, a media literacy project.
Heaven is one of more than 29,000 students who have attended college thanks to scholarships from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, founded more than 30 years ago to make college possible for students who might not otherwise afford it. Her academic and personal success is a testament to the importance of the Foundation’s work with partner organizations.
Amid so many of today’s challenges, we are steadfast in our mission of partnering with businesses, organizations and private donors to open these doors to a postsecondary education for students. Simply put – we are calling on individuals and organizations who have the capacity to give, to do so.
The Florida Prepaid College Foundation, a not-for-profit division of the Florida Prepaid College Board, allows organizations to purchase tax-deductible Florida Prepaid College Plan scholarships and leverage Foundation funds and funds provided by the State of Florida for a dollar-for-dollar scholarship match. This allows donor and partner organizations to have a bigger impact within their community and to, ultimately, serve more students.
Now more than ever, businesses and organizations, as well as private donors, have a chance to step into the gap and meet the needs of bright, young students who cannot afford to pursue higher education on their own.
For example, the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation recently sealed a partnership worth nearly $100,000 to equally fund 4-Year Florida University Plan need-based scholarships for four students in the freshman class at Nova Southeastern University. There are also scholarship programs that allow organizations to impact the lives of children while they are still in middle school or even elementary school.
Every scholarship awarded is a life impacted, a door opened, an opportunity given that might not have otherwise happened. By making these kinds of investments now, even in this challenging year, not only can we give bright students the opportunities they deserve; we can also strengthen our state and our communities for generations.
Visit floridaprepaidcollegefoundation.com to find out how you can make a difference helping students reach their fullest potential through higher education.
John D. Rood is Chairman of the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a resident of Jacksonville.