Sunshine Health will fund scholarships for 2,625 deserving students with a $20 million contribution to Step Up For Students, the nonprofit organization that manages the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
A longtime partner of Step Up For Students, Sunshine Health has generously funded 8,738 scholarships since 2004 through contributions totaling more than $59.5 million, including its most recent contribution of $20 million. The income-based scholarship program is funded by tax-credited contributions from corporations. The K-12 scholarships allow Florida students to pursue and engage in the best learning environments for their individual needs by attending private or out-of-district public schools.
Sunshine Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, is one of the largest healthcare plans in Florida and is committed to transforming the health of the community one person at a time.
A healthy body starts with a healthy mind, and Step Up scholarships help students like Yonas Worku. Yonas emigrated from Ethiopia when he was 5 and, with the help of a Step Up scholarship, attended Sacred Heart Catholic School before going to Bishop John Snyder High School in Jacksonville.
“Step Up was a big help,” Yonas said. “A very big help. We didn’t have any money. It was paycheck-to-paycheck.”
Yonas said he wanted to help his mother, but when he talked of getting a job, she told him to work on school.
“I realized that education was the most important thing in this country and that through it, Yonas can become a better individual,” said his mother, Zinash Tekleweld, who now works as a school janitor. “Education is the key to getting anything that he wants. I realized that it can open many doors for him in the future.”
Yonas recently graduated as valedictorian from Bishop John Snyder High School and is currently taking classes at the University of Florida, where he will major in computer science.
Just like Yonas, thousands of Florida schoolchildren are benefiting from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program managed by Step Up For Students.
“We are committed to improving the health of communities across Florida,” said Nathan Landsbaum, Sunshine Health President and CEO. “Education is an important Social Determinant of Health. We are proud to increase our support of Step Up For Students and provide even more Florida schoolchildren with the educational opportunities they deserve.”
Since 2002, Step Up For Students has awarded more than 1 million Florida Tax Credit Scholarships. More than 1,800 private schools participate in the scholarship program statewide.
“Because of this incredible contribution from Sunshine Health, thousands of Florida’s students are provided the educational options they need to succeed,” said Doug Tuthill, Step Up For Students president. “We are grateful for their continued partnership and commitment to transforming the lives of Florida’s schoolchildren.”