Academics People and Community

Mayor announces Venture Miami Scholarship Program

In an initiative that City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said curates philanthropy in a high impact way, the University of Miami is one of four local academic partners to offer STEM scholarships beginning this academic year.
Representatives of four local universities and colleges at the Venture Miami press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.

From left are Bridgette Cram, interim vice president for innovative education and student success, Florida International University; Jeffrey L. Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, University of Miami; Jaffus Hardrick, president, Florida Memorial University; City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez; Madeline Pumariega, president, Miami Dade College; and Commissioner Manolo Reyes.

City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez announced a partnership between Venture Miami, The Miami Foundation, and local tech-focused companies to launch the Venture Miami Scholarship Program. “Today marks a momentous milestone for the City of Miami,” the mayor said from the former Pan American Airlines Terminal Building at Miami City Hall on Wednesday.

Supported with funding from Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin, the program provides tuition support to city residents in need who have been accepted into STEM and other in-demand occupation programs at participating local colleges and universities, including the University of Miami.

“The whole purpose behind the Miami Movement was to create a boundless stream of opportunities for our residents to jump-start their careers in the economy of tomorrow, and the Venture Miami Scholarship does just that,” Suarez said, adding that the initiative curates philanthropy in a high impact way. 

The University of Miami “takes great pride in contributing to the betterment of the local community,” said Jeffrey L. Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. Other academic partners of the Venture Miami Scholarship Program include Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, and Miami Dade College.

“We understand the importance of investing in our community and providing our high school graduates an opportunity to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics,” Duerk said. “More than a concentration on any one of these fields, higher education is currently flourishing in an era of heightened connection and collaboration between disciplines and institutions.”

Venture Miami is creating an innovative environment for sustaining these connections, sharing knowledge, and developing solutions to challenges, he added.

Commissioner Manolo Reyes, a former high school teacher who would urge his students to pursue degrees and careers in STEM, called the Venture Miami Scholarship program “a gamechanger for our youth.”

According to Griffin, an entrepreneur and investor who recently relocated his investment firm from Chicago to Miami’s financial district, this effort “will help remove financial barriers for students who are pursuing technology, engineering, and science degrees—further accelerating Miami’s path to becoming an international leader in finance and technology.”

The program is launching with an initial $500,000 allocation from the City of Miami, which is being matched by Miami Dade College, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, and the University of Miami.

“The University of Miami is a global leader in research, innovation, and technology advancement, and we are in full support of the Venture Miami initiative to grow our community for generations to come,” said John Haller, vice president for enrollment management. “Our connection to the Venture Miami Scholarship partnership with the City of Miami will ensure that the University of Miami will continue to attract and provide an exceptional education to high achieving students throughout the South Florida community.”

When public and private sectors collaborate to promote education in the community, it allows Miami to become a city of opportunity for everyone, said Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.

“The Venture Miami Scholarship will make sure that our growing tech and innovation ecosystem reflects the rich diversity of our vibrant Miami community, by putting education and learning into the hands of all those who are our future workforce,” she pointed out.

Griffin has issued a $1 million challenge grant to build sustainability for the fund, in addition to an initial $250,000 gift. The Miami Foundation is responsible for managing all facets of the scholarship's funding and execution.

Venture Miami Scholarship funds will be available for the spring 2023 semester. Learn more about the scholarship and eligibility.