HMSHost Helps Improve Education Access for Florida Schoolchildren with $500K Contribution to Step Up For Students Scholarship Program

MARCH 1, 2019 |

HMSHost celebrates with Step Up For Students at Impact Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. Pictured (adults from left to right) are HMSHost Vice President of Business Development Stephen Douglas and Step Up For Students COO Anne White. They are joined by students who are benefiting from the scholarship.

TIAA Bank announced a $1.5 million contribution to Step Up For Students. Pictured (adults from left to right) are Step Up For Students Development Officer Renae Sweeney, TIAA Bank Senior Vice President and CRA Officer Joseph Hernandez, and Step Up For Students COO Anne White. They are joined by students who are benefiting from the scholarship.

– To make a lasting impact on the quality of education for Florida’s youth and the next generation, global restaurateur HMSHost contributed $500,000 to Step Up For Students for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for lower-income K-12 students.

Through the tax-credit scholarship, Step Up, a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization, is serving nearly 100,000 students for the 2018-19 school year. HMSHost’s contribution helps eligible students throughout Florida access education options to meet their learning need. HMSHost attended Step Up’s annual Rising Star Awards ceremony in Jacksonville on Feb. 28 at Impact Christian Academy to celebrate the success of outstanding Step Up scholars.

“HMSHost, as a leader in business and an active community member in cities all over Florida where we operate restaurants in airports, understands how important it is to support continuing the growth and development of our neighbors and fellow citizens,” said HMSHost President and CEO Steve Johnson. “We are proud to help make this investment in the education of Florida’s youth and thank the Step Up For Students organization for the great partnership and opportunity to have a bigger impact in the community by providing scholarships to those that need it most.”

HMSHost’s $500,000 contribution funds 74 scholarships. Over the last three years, HMSHost has contributed $1.4 million, the equivalent of 217 scholarships.

“We are excited that HMSHost has partnered with us again to provide educational options for lower-income families in Florida,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students. “We are grateful for their continued generosity and commitment to helping students in our community.”

Step Up For Students K-12 scholarships for financially disadvantaged children are funded through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Dollar-for-dollar tax credits are provided to companies for certain tax liabilities when funding these scholarships through state-approved scholarship funding organizations. Parents use these scholarships to help pay their children’s tuition and fees to a K-12 private school, or for a transportation assistance scholarship to an out-of-district public school.

HMSHost’s network spans the state of Florida. Working with Step Up For Students supports and strengthens the Company’s active role in Florida’s communities, where 2,600 HMSHost associates operate restaurants and serve Florida’s traveling public in over 128 restaurants and cafés in nine of Florida’s major airports.

About HMSHost

Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe and at more than 100 travel plazas in North America. The company has annual sales of nearly $3.3 billion and employs more than 41,000 associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of €4.6 billion in 2017, the group operates in 31 countries and employs over 58,000 people. It manages approximately 4,000 stores in about 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Step Up For Students 
Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization that helps administer 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 program 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.

A first-of-its-kind study on the long-term effects of the scholarship program by The Urban Institute found that students who use the scholarship four or more years are up to 43 percent more likely to go to college and up to 29 percent more likely to earn an associate degree than their peers.

Step Up also helps administer the state-funded Gardiner Scholarship for Florida students with certain special needs, plus two new scholarships, the Hope Scholarship for public school students who are bullied and the Reading Scholarship Accounts for third- through fifth-grade students enrolled in public school who struggle with reading.

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Media Contacts


Sean Matthews


Step Up For Students

Ashley Zarle


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