Florida SBDC at USF Receives SunTrust Foundation’s 2018 Lighting the Way Award and $75,000 Grant

Florida SBDC at USF Receives SunTrust Foundation’s 2018 Lighting the Way Award and $75,000 Grant [TAMPA], October 18, 2018 – Recognized for its philanthropic contributions to the Tampa Bay region, the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida was awarded a 2018 Lighting the Way Award and $75,000 grant by the SunTrust Foundation.

The SunTrust Foundation’s Lighting the Way Awards recognizes select nonprofit organizations that strengthen their local communities through programs that help people better their circumstances and gain financial confidence.

“We’re committed to building stronger communities, and our nonprofit partners are addressing community needs in innovative and very meaningful ways,” said Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation. “The Florida SBDC at USF is improving the lives of many people, and we applaud their mission, long-term service and the impact they’re making where it’s most needed.”

Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida SBDC at USF, and Kaushal Chari, associate dean of research and professional programs at University of South Florida Muma College of Business, were on hand in Atlanta for the awards ceremony Wednesday evening.

“We really appreciate Suntrust Foundation recognizing us for all of the work we’ve done with small businesses that want to expand both domestically and internationally,” she said. “This will help our businesses take advantage of international markets so that they can expand and grow.”

Grant funds will be used to assist small businesses in the Tampa Bay region, in taking advantage of international opportunities that already exist in the market. It will also allow the Center to continue to provide government contracting technical assistance to businesses so that they can take advantage of opportunities that exist with local, state and federal entities.

Established in 2008, the SunTrust Foundation is committed to supporting a wide range of financial well- being efforts through grants and partnerships with local philanthropic organizations. To date, the SunTrust Foundation has awarded more than $140 million in grants to organizations across the United States.

Pictured (L-R): Kaushal Chari, associate dean of research and professional programs for USF Muma College of Business; Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida SBDC at USF; and Scott Cathcart, Suntrust chairman and CEO, Florida Division

About the Florida SBDC Network: 

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained and saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; $1.4 billion in capital investments; and 4,159 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s headquarters. The Florida SBDC Network is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

About the SunTrust Foundation

The SunTrust Foundation is dedicated to SunTrust Bank’s purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being by engaging organizations to advance financial confidence. Grants and activities focus primarily on financial empowerment, but also include education, health and human services, civic improvement and cultural growth. The SunTrust Foundation supports American Red Cross disaster relief efforts and contributes as a United Way Global Corporate Leader. Established in 2008, the SunTrust Foundation has proudly provided grants totaling more than $140 million throughout the United States.