About 250 people attended the Tech for All gala this week in Miami to celebrate more than $6 million raised primarily for the Venture Miami Scholarship Fund.
The fund pays for city students who need financial help to go to college. It was started by Venture Miami, an arm of the city focused on promoting the growing technology sector.
Citadel’s billionaire founder and CEO, Kenneth Griffin, paid for the soiree held Wednesday at the Miami Heat arena. He also donated $1 million to the scholarship fund.
The Miami Foundation, responsible for managing the scholarship fund, organized Wednesday’s gala, partnering with Venture Miami and the City of Miami.
The money was raised late last year, and the gala was originally scheduled for November, but Hurricane Nicole forced its postponement, Lindsey Linzer, vice president of community investments for the Miami Foundation, said. A small portion of the money raised will go to area nonprofits focused on tech equity, she said.
The Venture Miami Scholarship Fund provides tuition support to provide gap funding for city residents who have been accepted into science, technology, engineering and math programs at colleges and universities including Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Miami. It is for students in high school planning to go to college or individuals who recently graduated from high school.
Erick Gavin, Venture Miami’s executive director, said he didn’t have an estimate of how many students would be helped by the $6 million fund but said helping students who meet the criteria is an ongoing effort.
“I want every student in the city of Miami who is a Pell Grant recipient an who is attending one of the four-year universities to have the ability to go to college debt-free,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal..”
Students can apply for the scholarship.
Linzer of the Miami Foundation said the fund remains open to donors.
When the fundraising launched last October, Griffin agreed to donate $1 million as a challenge grant along with an additional $250,000 gift. The City of Miami provided $500,00, which was matched by Miami Dade College, FIU, Florida Memorial and UM. Firms Amazon and Novo also have made donations.
Griffin, a Florida native, led one of last year’s most significant U.S. corporate relocations when he announced moving the home of his hedge-fund and securities trading firm to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood after 32 years in Chicago. And his company has acquired land on Brickell Bay Drive for $363 million to eventually build an office tower.