TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s ongoing commitment to lift the state’s most vulnerable children out of poverty and improve their academic opportunities, today the Florida Chamber Foundation announced a partnership with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation to provide Florida Prepaid College Plan Scholarships to children living in Florida’s most economically disadvantaged areas.
Through the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program, the Florida Prepaid College Foundation will match up to $10 million in contributions from Florida businesses, organizations and private donors for college scholarships to children living in Florida’s most impoverished zip codes.
This dollar-for-dollar match from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation will result in a total of $20 million in college scholarships to help Florida students achieve their potential and rise out of poverty.
The scholarship program is part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recently launched Florida Equality of Opportunity Initiative, a culmination of the Florida Prosperity Project, the Florida Business Alliance for Early Learning Project and the Florida Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Project, where Florida’s business community is uniting to help secure Florida’s future through the 39 goals outlined in the Florida 2030 Blueprint. Chief among those goals is to cut Florida’s childhood poverty in half to less than 10 percent by 2030.
“A person’s ZIP code, race, gender, ethnicity, or any other factor should never determine their opportunity to prosper,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson. “Through the Florida Chamber Foundation’s partnership with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation to launch the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program, Florida’s business community can make a real difference by investing resources behind implementing long-term solutions to end generational poverty and close the gap, one college scholarship at a time, giving Florida’s children in the most poverty-stricken ZIP codes another opportunity at earned success.”
Right now, 829,342 Florida children are living in poverty. Half of these children are concentrated in just 15 percent of Florida’s zip codes – resulting in extremely impoverished communities where children face a much greater likelihood of academic challenges, health risks and other obstacles. The Florida Chamber Foundation has identified 10 root causes of poverty, from food insecurity to insufficient transportation. Additional root causes highlighted are inequities in education and workforce development.
The Florida Prepaid College Foundation and the Florida Chamber Foundation will work with key local education leaders and organizations to identify and award scholarships to deserving high school students. Students must demonstrate promising efforts in their classrooms and communities while overcoming significant challenges in their life. Eligible students in priority zip codes will be in grades 9-12, economically disadvantaged, and will commit to remaining crime-free and drug-free. In the first year of the program, priority consideration will be given to students in grades 11 and 12, as they will most immediately benefit from the college scholarship.
“Research shows that a child with a dedicated college savings account is 2.5 times more likely to enroll in college and graduate with a degree,” said Florida Prepaid College Foundation Chairman John D. Rood. “So, for children in these priority zip codes, a college scholarship will send a powerful message: that they have a chance to succeed, that we believe in them, and that their future is not defined by their current circumstances.”
Through this program, business leaders can be part of the solution to the problem that is so prevalent in Florida communities. With matching funds from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, participating organizations can make an impact of up to $20 million to help Florida students achieve their potential.
Learn more about the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Equality of Opportunity Initiative at https://www.flchamber.com/EqualityFL/.
Learn more about the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation at www.pathtoprosperityscholarship.com.