Southern Wine & Spirits of America Celebrates $100 Million Commitment to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program with a Statewide Book Drive

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Event at PenTab Academy in Miami wraps up a statewide book drive by the beverage distribution company and recognizes the largest single donation in Step Up For Students' history.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America President Wayne Chaplin, second from left, helps celebrate his company’s historic $100 million contribution to Step Up For Students.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor, celebrated its $100 million tax redirection to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program for the 2015-16 school year with a statewide book drive hosted by their employees. This is Southern’s sixth year participating in the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, bringing the company’s total contribution to $190 million since 2011.

Southern’s President & CEO Wayne E. Chaplin honored their Step Up For Students contribution today during a celebratory book drive at PenTab Academy in Miami. This is the largest contribution to the program by far and will provide nearly a quarter of the total scholarships Step Up For Students expects to award for the 2015-16 school year.

“At Southern, we know that education is invaluable, and that a quality education offers a world of possibilities,” said Wayne E. Chaplin. “As a leader in our industry and in our local community, we take great pride in leading the way to support Step Up For Students, and in providing thousands of deserving Florida children with scholarships for the 2015-16 school year.”

In recognition of the scholarship contribution, Southern’s employee-driven volunteer group, the VolunCheers, held a statewide book drive during National Literacy Month in September. The VolunCheers program was created to encourage Southern’s employees to donate their time, resources and talent in support of local nonprofit organizations, schools and community based programs.

The books were presented to schools in five Florida cities – Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland and Jacksonville – and included Southern VolunCheers in each city visiting local classrooms to read to the students.

“Southern Wine & Spirits continues to demonstrate their commitment to our Florida communities through their incredible generosity and care for Florida students. With this remarkable donation, thousands upon thousands of scholarships will be awarded to Florida students,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students. “We are grateful for our partnership with Southern, and along with our Step Up families, are deeply appreciative of their tremendous support in creating brighter futures for these students and their families.”

Step Up For Students helps administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which provides K-12 scholarships to qualified low-income families throughout Florida. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions. The program allows recipients to choose between a scholarship to help with private school tuition and fees, or a transportation scholarship to assist with transportation costs to an out-of-district public school.

During the 2015-16 school year, Step Up For Students expects to serve more than 77,000 students throughout Florida, with more than 17,000 who will directly benefit from Southern’s $100 million contribution. In Miami-Dade County this school year, more than 380 schools participate in the program with more than 20,000 students benefiting.

About Step Up For Students
Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization responsible for helping administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The scholarship program is available to students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch and students who are in foster care or who are homeless. It provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or transportation help to an out-of-district public school. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions.

Step Up For Students also helps administer state-funded Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for Florida students with certain special needs. With the PLSAs, recipients may use the funds for a variety of approved services including private tutoring, occupational therapy, instructional materials and other services.

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About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,000 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, visit:

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