Metro Weekly

LGBTQ scholarship fund launched in honor of Pulse victims

Scholarship fund will provide ten $4,900 awards annually to help out LGBTQ youth pay for college

The Victims of the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy

An Orlando businessman has launched a scholarship program in honor of the victims of last year’s Pulse nightclub massacre. It will benefit LGBTQ students by helping them with the costs of higher education.

Barry Miller, president of the Orlando-based real estate firm The Closing Agent, is working with the GLBT Center of Central Florida to launch “The 49 Fund,” reports The Orlando Sentinel.

Each year, on June 12, the anniversary of the massacre, the fund will provide 10 scholarships, each worth $4,900, to deserving out LGBTQ students who are pursuing post-high school educational opportunities.

“As the one-year anniversary of this horrible tragedy approaches, it is the appropriate time to memorialize the lives lost by providing assistance through scholarships to deserving LGBT students who are committed to helping others right here in Central Florida,” Miller said in a statement.

Students seeking to apply for a scholarship must be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year institution on a full-time basis, hold at least a 3.0 GPA and “demonstrate a commitment to improving the Central Florida community,” according to a press release from The 49 Fund. Survivors of the Pulse massacre and immediate family members of the victims will be given special consideration. The deadline for applying for a scholarship is March 31.

The 49 Fund’s website says that the goal is to raise $1 million to ensure that the funds can be invested in order to continue awarding annual scholarships “in perpetuity.” To reach that goal, Miller and the GLBT Center are encouraging people to donate what they can.

“We want really everyone to contribute,” Miller told the Sentinel. “Yes, hopefully, some of the bigger companies will give us $49,000, but we’ll take donations of $4.90 and $49 all day long, because we want thousands of people to participate.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com