Annual Brunch Scholarship Event Celebrated on Campus

SARASOTA (November 5, 2012) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s signature annual fundraising event, Brunch 2012, welcomed 900+ supporters to help raise money for local undergraduate scholarships.

Guests included corporate and individual donors, community leaders, volunteers, faculty, staff, students and friends. Nineteen of Sarasota and Manatee Counties’ finest restaurants and caterers prepared their signature dishes for the event, held under tents on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

“From its modest beginning back in 1994, when Brunch proceeds enabled USF Sarasota-Manatee to award just four $250 scholarships in its first year, to this year, when we gave 51 thousand dollars to 66 deserving scholars, this event has provided a legacy of support for higher education unlike any other,” said Dr. Arthur Guilford, Regional Chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee. “Opportunities have been realized for thousands of students over nearly two decades that would not have been possible without the gifts that come from giving to higher education.”

This year, more than 140 corporate and individual donors gave $245,000 in support of USF Sarasota-Manatee Brunch 2012, including the co-chairs of the event, Mark and Stephany Richmond, owners of Furniture Warehouse. The generosity of the Sarasota-Manatee community supports financial aid for USFSM students from all facets of life. In the past 19 years, Brunch has generated nearly 4 million dollars in gifts, state matching funds and endowment earnings. Since 1998, USFSM has awarded 1.48 million dollars in scholarships overall, including over 450 thousand dollars to First Generation students, the first in their families to attend college.

Dr. Guilford stated, “We have embarked on a journey of leadership, scholarship and growth at USF Sarasota-Manatee that will enable us to become a robust and comprehensive 4-year university. We have already attained separate accreditation, accepted our first sophomores, and begun reaching out to the first-year students for whom we are developing enhanced curricula and a rich campus life experience.”

One former student, Shawna Machado, was honored at Brunch 2012. Machado earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology on the USFSM campus while living out of her car for two years. Her inspirational story of overcoming abuse and homelessness to excel in her studies and become an advocate for victimized children caught the attention of the

National Steve Harvey show. Machado was interviewed on the program, which taped in Chicago, Ill., last week.

After learning of her dream to earn a master’s degree in Social Work, USF Sarasota-Manatee and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County were able to surprise Machado during the Steve Harvey taping with the opportunity for a full scholarship to USF, valued at about $30,000. Machado currently works for the Safe Children Coalition in Sarasota, Fla., where she continues serving her passion to help abused, neglected and homeless children. Because of this scholarship offer, severe financial hardship will no longer be an impediment to Machado’s ability to become a credentialed social worker.

Machado’s community service while at USFSM earned her the distinction of Most Outstanding Graduate in spring 2012 and she will be awarded the Florida Commission on the Status of Women’s Florida Achievement Award on November 15 in Tallahassee. Machado’s surprise episode of the Steve Harvey show will air at a future date to be announced, at 5:00 p.m., on CW44 in the Tampa Bay area. USFSM will hold a community “Watch Party” on the airdate and celebrate along with Machado. More details will be forthcoming.

The 20th Anniversary USF Sarasota-Manatee Brunch scholarship event is on Sunday, November 3, 2013, when guests will once again celebrate making higher education possible for local students during an afternoon of food and tropical splendor under the tents on the North Tamiami Trail campus. For more information on making contributions to USFSM, contact the Advancement team at 941-359-4603.