Bank OZK donates $3.5 million to fund 503 scholarships

Leaders of Bank OZK’s Florida team were on hand for a $3.5 million donation to Step Up For Students. Pictured from left to right are Jillian Metz, Step Up For Students’ Vice President of Development; Megan Gulick, Assistant Director of Development at Step Up For Students; Alan Randolph, Bank OZK’s regional director of community banking for Florida and New York; Joyce Odongo, Bank OZK’s Community Development Officer; Step Up For Students scholarship recipients Lamari and Yunuen; Kerry Ward, President of Bank OZK’s Sarasota and Manatee County Division; Debra Tyler, President of Bank OZK’s South Florida Division; Jeremy Fioravanti, President of Bank OZK’s Southwest Florida Division; and Ken Ronecker, President of Bank OZK’s Tampa Bay and North Florida Division.

Bank OZK has made an investment in the future by donating $3.5 million to Step Up For Students, a nonprofit scholarship funding organization in Florida. The gift will provide 503 schoolchildren in Florida the option to go to the K-12 school that best meets their academic needs. The funds have been allocated to 10 counties across the state where Bank OZK operates.

“Bank OZK is committed to making a difference in our local communities, and one of the best ways to do that is through education,” said Alan Randolph, Bank OZK’s Regional Director of Community Banking for Florida and New York. “No matter where a person may start, a solid education helps to level the playing field and open doors to career opportunities and success. We are proud of the difference we are making across Florida with our partnership with Step Up For Students.”

Since 2017, Bank OZK has funded 885 scholarships through contributions to Step Up For Students totaling $6 million.

Step Up For Students empowers parents to pursue and engage in the most appropriate learning options for their children with an emphasis on families who lack the information and financial resources to access these options. Families may choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or with transportation costs to attend a public school in another district. Step Up For Students is serving more than 100,400 students in the 2019-20 school year.

“We are thankful for Bank OZK’s commitment to providing educational options for economically disadvantaged Florida families. Their generosity is helping to make a difference across our state,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill. Our program is working because of the generosity of organizations like Bank OZK.”

Funding Education

Bank OZK’s $3.5 million donation to Step Up For Students will provide need-based scholarships to 503 schoolchildren across 10 Florida counties where Bank OZK has banking offices.

Designated Counties Proposed Allocation No. of Scholarships

Lee                                        $600,000                              87

Broward                               $500,000                              72

Charlotte                              $500,000                              72

Duval                                     $500,000                              72

Dade                                      $400,000                              57

Marion                                  $400,000                              57

Manatee                               $200,000                              29

Sarasota                                $200,000                              29

Hillsborough                         $100,000                              14

Pinellas                                 $100,000                              14  

Total                                      $3.5 million                        503