Republic National Distributing Company takes center stage and donates $65 million to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 

Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), the nation’s second largest wine and spirits wholesaler, announced today a contribution of $65 million to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, which serves lower-income children in Florida.

The donation was announced during RNDC’s state sales meeting, held on a soundstage at Universal Studios Orlando.

RNDC’s donation will allow more than 9,940 K-12 students to attend the school of their choice through Florida Tax Credit scholarships for the 2017-18 school year.

“Making a difference in the life of a student, their family and our community makes us very proud. For many students, having the opportunity to choose a school that best meets their learning needs can propel them on a path toward a better future,” said RNDC Executive Vice President Ron Barcena. “We’re proud to support Florida schoolchildren through the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program.”

This is the sixth consecutive year RNDC has contributed to the nonprofit organization that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for financially disadvantaged schoolchildren. The program is funded with tax-credited donations and allows parents and schoolchildren to choose between a K-12 scholarship that helps with private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to out-of-county public schools.

“Step Up For Students allows lower-income families the opportunity to attend schools they might not otherwise be able to afford. But we couldn’t do this without the support and generosity of our donors,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill. “Since 2012, RNDC has contributed $180 million, providing more than 30,665 scholarships. On behalf of Step Up and the families we serve, we thank you for your continued commitment and generosity.”

Step Up scholarship graduate Orlando Rivera and his mother Deborah DeJesus attended the event to share their story with the RNDC associates. During his junior year of high school, Orlando’s grades had dropped to nearly failing. With help from a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, Orlando was able to change schools and attend Heritage Christian School in Kissimmee.

“Going to Heritage turned my life around,” said Orlando. “Today, I’m a freshman at Embry-Riddle, studying aeronautical science on the airline pilot specialty track. I’d like to thank Step Up For Students and donors like RNDC for making this possible.”

For the 2017-18 school year, Step Up For Students is serving more than 100,000 students throughout Florida with tuition scholarships valued at up to $6,343 per student for kindergarten through fifth grade, $6,631 for sixth through eighth grade, and $6,920 for ninth through 12th grade. More than 1,700 private schools participate in the scholarship program statewide.

Republic National Distributing Company Executive Vice President Ron Barcena presents Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill with a $65 million contribution as Step Up scholarship graduate Orlando Rivera looks on. RNDC’s contribution will fund more than 9,940 scholarships for lower-income students to attend a school that best meets their learning needs. Rivera is a freshman at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with plans to become a commercial airline pilot.

About Republic National Distributing Company
RNDC is the second largest distributor of premium wine and spirits in the United States with operations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. RNDC employs more than 9,500 individuals nationwide. For more information about the company, please visit www.rndc-usa.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 the national free or reduced-price lunch, or those who are homeless or in foster or out-of-home care, may qualify. The scholarship provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or financial assistance to offset the transportation cost to an out-of-district public school. Since 2001, Step Up has awarded more than 680,000 scholarships.

Step Up also helps administer state-funded Gardiner Scholarship 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: www.StepUpForStudents.org

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