ORLANDO | The Central Florida Foundation announced the recipients of The 49 Fund’s 2018 scholarships at City Hall in Orlando June 9.

Started by Central Florida attorney and LGBTQ activist Barry Miller, The 49 Fund awards scholarships of $4,900 to students who self-identify as an out member of the LGBTQ community, attend an accredited two- or four-year institution of higher learning on a full-time basis, earn a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate a commitment to making Central Florida a better place.

Scholarships were presented to eight local LGBTQ students. William (Billy) Budd, Jonathan (Jon) Covert, Francis Jarusiewicz, Courtney Ring and Neil Rios accepted their scholarships in person. Scholarship recipients Jasmine Flowers, Osher Ostroff and Tena Gordon were unable to attend.

The scholarship recipients in attendance were also congratulated with speeches by Congressman Darren Soto and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

Rep. Soto spoke about the tragic events that led to the creation of The 49 Fund scholarship program.

“We remember the 49 who fell that day,” he said. “We mourned together, we prayed together, but we need to make sure there is a positive legacy from this tragedy, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to help with that legacy of this tragedy than with education.”

Commissioner Sheehan concluded her speech reminding people that this is not an anniversary, but something to commemorate and not forget, ending with “We are Orlando United. We are Orlando Strong.”

For more information on The 49 Fund or to donate, visit The49Fund.org.

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