Universal Property & Casualty Insurance donates $5 million to Step Up


March 10, 2021 | FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.– Step Up For Students announced March 10 a $5 million contribution to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program from Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC), helping 708 lower-income Florida schoolchildren attend the K-12 school that best fits their learning needs.

Since 2017, UPCIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. has generously funded 1,968 scholarships through contributions totaling $13.5 million to Step Up For Students, a nonprofit organization that helps manage the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The program is funded by corporations with tax-credited donations and allows parents and students to choose between a scholarship to support private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to out-of-county public schools.

UPCIC announced a $5 million contribution to Step Up For Students. Pictured (from left to right) are
American Platinum Vice President of Marketing David Ahern, UPCIC Vice President of Marketing Stacey Tomko, UPCIC Spokesperson and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino, and Step Up For Students Development Officer David Bryant.

“Universal is committed to giving back to the communities we serve,” said Steve Donaghy, Chief Executive Officer for Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (UIH). “We are proud to support hundreds of Florida schoolchildren through our partnership with Step Up For Students.”

UPCIC celebrated this donation with a check presentation at their corporate office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dan Marino, UPCIC spokesperson, National Football League hall of famer and former Miami Dolphins quarterback joined the celebration in support of UPCIC’s commitment to Florida schoolchildren.

“Because of the support of companies like UPCIC, deserving students throughout Florida can access the school that best fits their learning needs,” said Doug Tuthill, Step Up For Students president. “UPCIC’s commitment to their community is incredible and because of their continued partnership we are able to provide educational options for lower-income families in Florida.”

During the 2020-21 school year, nearly 100,000 K-12 students throughout Florida are benefiting from a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship through Step Up for Students. About 57% of scholarship children are from single-parent households and nearly 68% are Black or Hispanic. The average household income of families accepted to receive scholarships is $25,755 – a mere 9% above poverty. More than 1,800 private schools participate in the program.

Ashley Zarle can be reached at

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