mark_b._rosenberg.jpgThe 23-year-old Miami Bayside Foundation, whose goal is to stimulate economic development in the city and provide educational opportunities, has announced the award of $203,000 to Florida International University (FIU) to support access to higher education for Miami residents.

The grant is divided into two parts. First, a total of $103,000 will go to support  needy Miami residents seeking higher education and that will be matched at 50 percent by the state, resulting in a total of more than $150,000. The second part is $100,000 toward the First Generation Scholarship Fund and that will be matched at 100 percent, resulting in total funds of $200,000. The scholarships will be available to students starting in the fall.

Rosa Jones, FIU’s vice president for Student Affairs, said the First Generation Scholarship Fund supports universities across the State system but is particularly relevant at the local state university “given that we have more first generation students than any other university in Florida.”

“FIU is a leader in facilitating access to higher education for students who will be the first generation in their families to earn a college degree and have a core commitment to ensuring these students’ receive the financial and academic support needed for lasting success,” Jones said in a statement announcing the grant.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in the statement that the grant demonstrates a shared commitment by the foundation and the university to public higher education and making it possible for academically qualified first-generation or historically underrepresented minority students to pursue higher education.”

Nearly 50 percent of all undergraduate students at FIU receive financial aid and nearly 60 percent of those recipients come from families with an annual household income less than $30,000, the statement said.

More than 7,000 FIU students are the first in their families to attend college and FIU is ranked first in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to minorities.

“We are proud to partner with FIU, Miami’s public research university,” Nathan Kurland, the foundation’s chairman,  said in the statement. “So many of our students need financial assistance to access the opportunities an FIU education can provide.”

In providing funds toward an endowment and a First Generation Scholarship program, the foundation will assist in preventing highly motivated students with limited resources from being forced to attend college only part-time or postpone their education altogether.

“The Miami Bayside Foundation believes that in order to advance our community, we need to start at the real center of innovation,” Kurland said. “Through education, we can truly empower today’s entrepreneurs and the aspiring entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

The foundation is a Miami-based non-profit established in 1988 that has set up and administers a loan program for minority businesses, established a scholarship fund for minorities studying entrepreneurship and business and provides technical assistance to community and development organizations in the city of Miami.

It takes its name from the Bayside Marketplace. Prior to the construction of the mall in downtown Miami, developer Jim Rouse began discussing ideas for an organization that would support minority entrepreneurs in the city and the foundation arose from those talks. Scholarship money provided by the foundation is made possible by an annual contribution by GGP Bayside Marketplace, whose 2010 contribution totaled more than $300,000.


Pictured above is FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg