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Step Up For Students honors insurance industry, Tower Hill for generous contributions

By SHELBY HOBBS, Special to Step Up For Student

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Florida insurance companies have been protecting more than just Floridians’ homes this hurricane season, as they have made generous contributions to Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that helps administer the needs-based Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program.

Don Matz, president of Tower Hill Insurance, center, receives a thank you from the fourth grade class at Calvary Christian Academy. Several of the students are recipients of the Step Up For Students scholarship. They are joined by CCA Headmaster Dr. Aaron Gonzalez.

Tower Hill Insurance, a significant contributor from the insurance industry, and Step Up For Students hosted an event Oct. 25 at Calvary Christian Academy in Ormond Beach to celebrate the insurance company’s contributions and the work Step Up continues to do for Florida’s lower-income families. Since 2011, Tower Hill has contributed over $3 million to Step Up For Students, providing scholarships to more than 600 of Florida’s most underprivileged students who are given access to a private school or financial assistance for transportation to attend an out-of-district public school. 

“By investing in the future of our students, we are investing in the future of Florida,” said Don Matz, president of Tower Hill. “One of our top priorities at Tower Hill is to give back to our community as much as we can, and we choose to start with these deserving students.”

Calvary Christian Academy fourth grader Mia Rauseo shares her story with her classmates at an event honoring Tower Hill Insurance. Tower Hill has contributed over $3 million since 2011 to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, providing more than 600 scholarships to Florida’s most underprivileged students. Mia is able to attend Calvary Christian Academy with the help of a Step Up scholarship.

Calvary Christian Academy fourth grader Mia Rauseo shares her story with her classmates at an event honoring Tower Hill Insurance. Mia is able to attend Calvary Christian Academy with the help of a Step Up scholarship.

Step Up For Students provides opportunities to nearly 105,000 lower-income students across Florida this school year with 3,213 scholars in Volusia County.  

“We are so grateful for Tower Hill’s investment in our program and the children who depend on it,”  said Joe Pfountz, CFO of Step Up For Students. “The company’s generosity is crucial to the work our team does and shows just how much they really care about Florida’s kids and its future.”

The typical scholarship student comes from a single-parent household where the average income is $25,353. A recent study found that students who receive these scholarships for at least four years are 40 percent more likely to attend college than their public school counterparts, and 29 percent more likely to earn an associate degree.

During the event, Step Up For Students fourth-grade scholar Mia Rauseo shared her experience.

“I am so happy to be given the chance to come here,” said Rauseo. “And I know it would not have been possible without the help of Step Up For Students and companies like Tower Hill Insurance. I am doing well in my classes and I truly enjoy coming to school.”

 

 

Tower Hill Honors Hispanic Heritage month with record-setting contribution to Step Up For Students

By SHELBY HOBBS, Special to Step Up For Students

TAMPA, Fla. – Step Up For Students and Tower Hill Insurance Group joined together Oct. 10 at Florida College Academy to celebrate the insurance company’s record-setting contribution to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program  (FTC) during National Hispanic Heritage month.

Don Matz, CEO of Tower Hill Insurance, told students at Florida College Academy in Temple Terrace that he is proud to support Step Up scholars.

Since 2011, Tower Hill has contributed more than $3 million to Step Up For Students, providing scholarships to more than 600 of Florida’s underprivileged students who are given access to a private school or financial assistance to attend an out-of-district public school.

“During a time when we recognize the prominent role the Hispanic community has played in building this great nation, I am proud that Tower Hill is working to fund hundreds of scholarships in order to help serve more students,” said Don Matz, CEO of Tower Hill. “It has been a pleasure meeting with so many brilliant, caring students this morning.”

Step Up For Students, the nonprofit organization that helps administer the income-based FTC scholarship program, provides opportunities to nearly 105,000 students across Florida this school year. Roughly 38 percent of students statewide are Hispanic, and the typical scholarship student comes from a single-parent household where the average income is $25,353.

In Hillsborough County, 40 percent of the 4,850 students benefiting from the program are Hispanic. Step Up For Students praised Tower Hill’s generosity, which has been crucial to fueling the growth of the program.

Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill told the crowd at Florida College Academy that Step Up couldn’t help children without the assistance of companies like Tower Hill Insurance.

“The impressive level of support from Florida’s insurance industry is critical to advancing our mission of providing educational options to underprivileged children across the state,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students. “Tower Hill’s contribution is an investment in students and allows them to access the education that best meets their individual learning needs.”

Families and students that have benefited from the FTC scholarship program spoke out in support, urging other leading companies to consider participation. Florida College Academy, located in Temple Terrace, has 258 students in pre-K through eighth grade, approximately 50 percent of whom are Step Up scholars.

Students from Florida College Academy (FCA) from center left to right pose with Step Up President Doug Tuthill, Tower Hill CEO Don Matz and FCA principal Lynn Wade.

“As both a teacher at Florida College Academy and a parent of two scholarship students, I have witnessed first-hand the overwhelming transformation this program has made in the lives of its recipients,” said Stephanie Meier, mother to third- and fourth-grade scholarship students. “I hope that all interested families who qualify for this program are granted the same opportunity that my family has been privileged to experience.”

A recent study of the program found that FTC scholarship students are significantly more likely to attend college and receive a degree. The study compared FTC students to a comparable set of Florida public school students, assessing college enrollment, persistence, and attainment rates. The widely reported study found that students who are on the FTC scholarship program for four or more years are 40 percent more likely than their public school counterparts to attend college and 29 percent more likely to earn an associate degree.