Press Release for Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EverBank Contributes $250K to First Generation Scholarships

Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


 

           

The University of North Florida has received a $250,000 gift from the EverBank to provide First Generation scholarships to students who are first in their families to go to college.

EverBank has made a five-year commitment to provide scholarships to the University, with a preference given to students enrolled at The Bridge of Northeast Florida, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of at-risk children. This donation will be matched by the state on a dollar-for-dollar basis, doubling the impact of the gift to $500,000.

“The First Generation Scholarship program perfectly aligns with EverBank’s community outreach philosophy,” said Blake Wilson, president and CFO of EverBank. “It addresses a critical concern in our community by providing much needed assistance to motivate young people who otherwise might not have had an opportunity to attend college.”

During the annual First Generation Scholarship luncheon today at the University Center on the UNF campus, it was also announced that THE PLAYERS has committed $250,000 over a five-year period.

The $1 million commitment from EverBank and THE PLAYERS will go towards The Power of Transformation campaign, which is a multi-year endeavor to raise $110 million to enhance the quality of education at UNF, with a primary focus on raising additional funds for scholarship assistance. To date, the campaign has raised $69 million.

Wilson sits on the boards of the UNF Foundation and The Bridge and was able to bring the two organizations together. “We see both programs as a natural fit for each other. As young people move through The Bridge, we want to give them the added incentive to get a higher education. This is a tremendous opportunity to help break the generations of poverty and develop new leadership within the community,” he said.

Pierre Allaire, vice president for Institutional Advancement at UNF, said EverBank’s commitment to the First Generation Scholarship program demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together to benefit the community. “The corporate citizenship exhibited by EverBank is remarkable,” he said. “This commitment is a major step in The Power of Transformation campaign and ultimately in our ability to transform the lives of our students.”

The Power of Transformation campaign is a multi-year endeavor to raise $110 million to enhance the quality of education at UNF with a primary focus on raising additional funds for scholarship assistance. To date, the campaign has raised $69 million.

One student whose life has been transformed by the First Generation Scholarship program is UNF senior Amanda Sieusahai. This is the fourth year that the International Business major has been a recipient of a First Generation Scholarship. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean and at the age of 8, her parents moved their family to Jacksonville.

It was apparent to Sieusahai, a graduate of Stanton College Preparatory, that the First Coast was not home for her family and she knew that she wanted to work hard to make their lives better. “I knew that I stood on the shoulders of my great grand parents who were indentured servants in Trinidad, and stood on the shoulders of my parents who never went to college and sacrificed being in their home for my education,” she said.

Her journey at the University has truly been transformational. “I was incredibly timid and I was so nervous to speak up in class or raise my hand,” Sieusahai said. “Deep down, I knew that I was smart and capable of doing great things.” As a graduating senior, she currently has an internship at Wells Fargo and has taken every opportunity to travel by studying abroad in Korea, India and Paris, where she overcame her fear of speaking in front of the class. She is also says she is ready for the next phase of her life.

During her speech today at the scholarship luncheon, she expressed her gratitude to her family and donors “I am truly happy with the progress I have made over the last four years at UNF. I will always remember that I am where I am today thanks to my great grand parents, grand parents, my parents who brought me to Jacksonville and First Generation donors for believing in my future,” stated Sieusahai.

Wilson realized that with students like Sieusahai, The Power of Transformation campaign was a perfect opportunity to extend the bank’s role in the community. “Our bank is all about transformation. It is in our DNA,” he said. “Like UNF, our commitment goes well beyond the doors of our organization. Our success has the potential to create a new generation of leaders all motivated to create a stronger community.”

EverBank Financial Corp., and its EverBank subsidiaries, is a privately-held thrift holding company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida offering innovative banking, lending, leasing and investment products and services of exceptional value.

The company’s balanced mortgage banking, deposit banking and leasing platforms provide diverse revenue streams with proven success in a variety of market conditions. The company has more than $8 billion in assets and over $6.3 billion in deposits. For more information on the EverBank Family of Companies, log on to EverBank.com.

-UNF-