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The SWFL Children’s Charities has established the “Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Scholarship Endowment Fund” at Florida Gulf Coast University. The proceeds from this endowment will be used to benefit FGCU students interested in pursuing careers in pediatrics.

With the goal of raising $100,000 to fund the endowment, Dr. Brian and Maureen Schwartz, along with Allen and Donna Henry, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and chairwoman of the pre-med program at FGCU, plan to host a Chef Vintner dinner as part of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest in their homes. Additional dinners in the future will continue to grow the endowment.

Dr. Steve Machiz, Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest founding chairman said, “Our mission is to help the children of Southwest Florida. As you know, The Children’s Hospital of SW Florida is our primary beneficiary. We are delighted with our new partnership with FGCU. Establishing a medical scholarship to help deserving residents of SW Florida become pediatricians fits nicely with our mission.”

Upon completion of the $100,000 pledge, the FGCU Foundation will apply for 50 percent in matching funds from the State of Florida Trust Fund for Major Gifts. When fully funded, the value of the gift will be $150,000.

Proceeds from the fund each year will be used for student scholarships for recipients who are enrolled at FGCU in a 3 plus 4 program partnership between FGCU and another Florida medical school – three years at FGCU in pre-med and four years at a Florida medical school to complete their medical school program. The scholarship will be awarded to students at the beginning of their sophomore year. Preference will be given to students who graduated from high school in the five-county Southwest Florida area. Preference will also be given to students who express interest in pediatrics as their chosen medical specialty.

For more information, media representatives should contact Senior Director of Advancement, Linda Lehtomaa at (239) 590-1071.