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Press Release for Friday, January 18, 2008

Otis Smith Kids Foundation Donates to UNF Scholarship Program

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The Otis Smith Kids Foundation donated $56,000 to the University of North Florida, establishing the Otis Smith Kids Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund in support of the Florida First Generation Scholarship Program, a state matching gift initiative.

“The Otis Smith Kids Foundation is honored to provide scholarship funding for first generation students. Education is the core of our mission, and we are excited that students will have the opportunity to continue their education at an outstanding institution. The leverage of the matching program is a bonus,” said Otis Smith, president of the Otis Smith Kids Foundation.

The state match on the annual distribution from the endowment will add $2,300 annually, funding two scholarships each year. This will allow students who want to attend UNF the opportunity to be the first in his or her family to go to college.

“The generosity of the Otis Smith Foundation to establish this endowment will greatly enhance opportunities for students who are the first in their families to attend college,” said Pierre Allaire, vice president for Institutional Advancement at UNF. “Scholarships are essential for those students who need the financial assistance necessary to fulfill their dream of an education.”

First Generation Scholarship Program funds are awarded to students who are the first in their families to seek a four-year degree. The program began in 2006, when former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature appropriated $6.5 million statewide to be matched by private donations. Last year, more than 300 UNF students were awarded First Generation scholarships.

The Otis Smith Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to provide programs and services to disadvantaged Northeast Florida children in the areas of education, personal development and recreation.