Breakthru Beverage Group Celebrates $65 Million Contribution to Step Up For Students Scholarship Program

MAY 04, 2016 | FORT LAUDERDALE

Breakthru Beverage Florida, one of the largest distributors of wines, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages in the state, Tuesday celebrated its $65 million contribution to Step Up For Students at its Florida headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale.

Breakthru’s donation will provide K-12 scholarships to more than 11,100 low-income Florida schoolchildren for the 2015-16 school year.

Bob Drinon, Breakthru Beverage Group South Region president, left, presented Step Up For Students with a check Tuesday for $65 million which will provide 11,000 low-income children with scholarships to attend the K-12 school of their choice. With him from left to right are Step Up For Students graduate Denisha Merriweather, State Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, Breakthru CFO Eric Roth and Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill

Bob Drinon, Breakthru Beverage Group South Region president, left, presented Step Up For Students with a check Tuesday for $65 million which will provide 11,000 low-income children with scholarships to attend the K-12 school of their choice. With him from left to right are Step Up For Students graduate Denisha Merriweather, State Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, Breakthru CFO Eric Roth and Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill

This is the fifth year Breakthru Beverage Florida has contributed to the nonprofit organization that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The program is funded by corporations that receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for their contributions.

“A quality education can open the doors to endless possibilities. Breakthru is proud to play a role in providing opportunities for financially-disadvantaged children in Florida through our support of Step Up For Students,” said Bob Drinon, Breakthru Beverage Group South Region president. “We hope that more children will have the opportunity to learn in an environment that best meets their academic needs.”

Nearly 78,000 low-income students are using income-based Step Up scholarships for the 2015-16 school year, with tuition scholarships valued up to $5,677 per student. More than 1,600 private schools participate in the scholarship program statewide.

“This program is about empowering people to have choices. It’s about empowering low-income families to be able to match their child with the learning environment that best meets their needs,” said Doug Tuthill, Step Up president. “We are so grateful to have Breakthru Beverage partnering with our mission to provide equal opportunity for all people. We couldn’t do this without their support and generosity.”

Denisha Merriweather, a Step Up scholarship alumna, was a featured speaker at the event. Step Up helped Merriweather attend the school of her choice. “Without the scholarship, I probably would have dropped out of school,” said Merriweather. “Today, I am proud to say, after all the challenges I faced, I am the first person in my family, my whole family, to graduate from college.” Today, she is a college graduate and is continuing her education to earn her master’s degree.

During the event, Drinon and Tuthill also spoke about the scholarships changing the lives of children throughout Florida. Since the scholarship program began in 2001, nearly 480,000 scholarships have been awarded to low-income students like Denisha.

Bob Drinon, Breakthru Beverage Group South Region president, left, presented Step Up For Students with a check Tuesday for $65 million which will provide 11,000 low-income children with scholarships to attend the K-12 school of their choice. With him from left to right are Step Up For Students graduate Denisha Merriweather, State Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, Breakthru CFO Eric Roth and Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill.

About Breakthru Beverage Group

Breakthru Beverage Florida, formerly known as Premier Beverage, is one of the largest distributors of wines, spirits and other beverages in Florida. A member of the Breakthru Beverage Group, Breakthru Florida services a variety of accounts including hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, grocery and retail stores from offices and distribution facilities throughout the state. Breakthru Beverage Group was formed by joining substantial holdings of The Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage Group. The company employs more than 7,000 associates and with its affiliates have operations in 19 markets across the country and Canada. For more information, visit www.BreakthruBev.com.

About Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization that helps manage the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch program, or those who are homeless or in foster or out-of-home care, may qualify. It provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or transportation help to an out-of-district public school. Since 2001, Step Up has awarded nearly 480,000 scholarships.

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

For more information, visit: http://www.StepUpForStudents.org.

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