Southern Wine & Spirits of America Leaders and VolunCheers to Celebrate $30 Million Tax Credit Contribution for Step Up For Students Scholarships at Miami School

October 29, 2014 | Miami, Fla. – Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor, had 30 million good reasons to visit Jeremiah Academy in Miami today. And students there had just as many reasons to cheer during their morning assembly, where company leaders delivered good news for thousands of K-12 students in Florida. The excitement was sparked by the $30 million check Southern’s President & CEO Wayne Chaplin presented at the school—representing the company’s 2014 commitment to the Step Up For Students Scholarship program across the State of Florida.

He encouraged the students to study hard and do well in school. “As an important part of Southern’s charitable efforts, we will continue to give back to our local communities to ensure that tomorrow’s future leaders—that’s all of you—receive a great education,” Chaplin said to the students. “Education is the building block to a successful future, which is why we’ve partnered with Step Up For Students for the past five years.”

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Southern joined the Step Up program as a corporate donor in 2010 and has contributed a total of $90 million in that time, including today’s pledge funding more than 5,500 scholarships for this school year. Southern’s $30 million contribution this year is the largest one-time contribution in the program’s history.

Step Up For Students administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to qualified families throughout Florida. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions. The program allows recipients to choose between a scholarship to help with private school tuition and fees, or a transportation scholarship to attend an out-of-district public school.

“Education is the building block to a successful future, which is why we’ve partnered with Step Up For Students for the past five years.”Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. President & CEO Wayne Chaplin

During the event, members of Southern’s employee volunteer group, VolunCheers, presented the school with new and gently-used books from the company book drive and completed a reading activity with the students. About 75 percent of the students at Jeremiah Academy are using a Step Up scholarship this year.

“Since joining the program, Southern Wine & Spirits has provided more than 18,500 scholarships for Florida students,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill. “Knowing what just one student can achieve with a little extra help from the scholarship makes Southern’s contributions that much more meaningful to us and all of the families who benefit. Southern’s partnership with our program has had a tremendous impact on Florida’s children and their continued support of this program will pay off in the future in the form of well-educated citizens.”

Step Up For Students expects to serve approximately 69,000 students throughout Florida during the 2014-15 school year. In Miami-Dade County there are more than 330 participating schools and approximately 15,000 benefiting students.

About Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization responsible for administering the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The scholarship program is available to students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch and students who are in foster care or who are homeless. It provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or transportation help to an out-of-district public school. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions.

Step Up For Students also helps administer state-funded Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for Florida students with special needs. With the PLSA’s, recipients may use the funds for a variety of services including private tutoring, occupational therapy, instructional materials and other services.

For more information, visit www.StepUpForStudents.org.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,000 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly.

For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see: http://www.southernwine.com.

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