UNCF Ft. Lauderdale and Florida Crystals: A Sweet Investment in Florida Students
For most people, Florida is warm weather, sandy beaches and vacations. But to those who live in Florida, it’s home: the place where they raise their families and aspire to get their children the college education they deserve and that the 21st century economy demands. And UNCF is there to help them.
More than 5,500 Florida students attend UNCF-member HBCUs: Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach or one of UNCF’s 34 other HBCUs. Almost 500 Florida students receive more than $6 million in UNCF scholarships. And Florida HBCUs are economic engines as well, generating almost 8,000 jobs, $833 million in economic impact and $8.6 billion in lifetime earnings for Florida HBCU graduates.
But statistics can tell just part of the story about the impact of UNCF and its member institutions on the people of Florida. To fully appreciate that impact, it’s necessary to drill down beneath the surface, to the donors—the corporations, foundations and individuals that, in the spirit of UNCF’s iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in,”® invest in better futures for students—whose support makes UNCF’s work possible, and the students who are the beneficiaries of those investments.
Donors like Florida Crystals, the only producer of certified organic sugar grown and harvested in the United States, the owner and operator of the largest renewable power plant in North America, which delivers clean power to its sugar operations—and the partner, with UNCF, in the Florida Crystals Corporation Scholarship Program. And students like Deja Louissaint and Vanessa Gutierrez, psychology majors and recipients of the Florida Crystals Scholarship Program.
“As I continue my collegiate journey,” Deja Louissaint wrote to UNCF, “please know that partnerships with organizations like UNCF and Florida Crystals are vital to my success. You are truly appreciated.” Vanessa Gutierrez wrote of her plan to “pay forward” the support she had received. “Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community,” she wrote to UNCF. “I hope one day I will be able to help others achieve their goals just as you have helped me.”
Thanks to the generous investment of Florida Crystals in UNCF and its students, and their own hard work, Deja Louissaint and Vanessa Gutierrez have the opportunity to finish college and launch careers of success and service. They and their careers are the return on Florida Crystal’s investment. They are our dividends.