Hillels of the Florida Suncoast is so grateful to Crofton Cares for their exceptional generosity. The multi-year grant we received from Crofton Cares has allowed us to hire Akiva Bakst, a full-time Program Director for our Hillel chapter at the University of Tampa, to create meaningful programs that will help our students at UT build strong Jewish identities while they are in college. Prior to joining Hillel in 2022, Akiva worked as a Customer Service Representative at the Glazer Family JCC and as a freelance artist and graphic designer. Akiva is a graduate of the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While he was a student at Ringling, Akiva served as president of Gulf Coast Hillel working with the Hillel director to plan and coordinate events and represent Jewish life and culture on the Ringling College campus.
Director of Operations
Hillels of the Florida Suncoast
November 28th, 2022
Dear Southard Family,
I hope this email finds you well and that you had a meaningful and happy Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to update you on the outcome of this year’s Trunks of Hope. Through the campaign we surpassed our goal and raised a total of $28,566! There were several supporters who give to this campaign specifically because of your match!
We can’t thank you enough for having the vision and leadership in providing a match to support our most popular resource – our teaching trunks! It’s because of our resources like our trunks that we are reaching more students in Florida and beyond than ever before! We aren’t even at the midpoint of our fiscal year, and we have already impacted almost 200,000 students! Your support of this program is more important than ever as we see a rise in Holocaust distortion and antisemitism. Our goal is to reach every student in our state and we are well on our way. Thank you for supporting The Florida Holocaust Museum and for your commitment to Holocaust education.
Interim Executive Director
We had a fun day with Cole Galloway and his team yesterday as our kiddos tested out harnesses and adapted cars on the Amy and Mike Southard Adaptive & Inclusive Playground. The objective of the harnesses is to get kids moving in social spaces regularly. Once they do, they will want to move more, play more and communicate. Everything flows from having the ability and freedom to move.
Crofton Cares is honored to serve as a Silver sponsor to the upcoming “The Magic of UCP” gala on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at the InterContinental Hotel Cleveland. The event will feature stories of the “magic” that happens every day at UCP. The Mission of UCP of Greater Cleveland is to empower children and adults with disabilities to advance their independence, productivity, and inclusion in the community. UCP of Greater Cleveland was founded in 1950 and is a leader in disability services in Northeast Ohio.
Click here to see the full list of sponsors.
Crofton Cares is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2022-2023 Scholarship program is Toluwanimi Ajani. Toluwanimi is attending New York University where she is pursuing a business major with a concentration in Finance and Computer Science. Her personal experience in watching her Nigerian immigrant parents come to America and struggle to navigate a totally different financial system has made her aware of the need to teach financial literacy to the underserved groups in America, including immigrant families and low-income families. Her goal is to empower families like hers with greater financial literacy through educational initiatives and the use of financial technology (FinTech).
“I would like to develop applications and websites to gamify financial education to make learning finance fun for children and teens. I also want to work with organizations that pioneer financial inclusion. I aim to help develop impact investment platforms through which investors can contribute towards crowdfunded microloans to underserved communities and minority-owned businesses. The Crofton Cares scholarship will not just help me pay for college, it will help me embark upon the road to professional and academic success.”
~ Toluwanimi Ajani
The Crofton Cares Scholarship is awarded to one student, annually. The scholarship is a renewable, merit-based scholarship of up to $25,000/year and will cover tuition and fees, room and board, and books for up to four years (8 semesters). The actual award amount will be adjusted for other scholarships the student receives. Funds can be applied toward a two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational/technical school. Eligible students must reside in either the Tampa (FL) Metropolitan Area or Cleveland (OH) Metropolitan Area, have a minimum, unweighted high school GPA of 3.5 and a minimum 1280 SAT (or 28 ACT), and demonstrate financial need.
Crofton Cares recently made a generous donation to Breakthrough Public Schools in support of their 2022 Summer Literacy Experience program. Breakthrough Public Schools is one of the highest-performing networks of free, public charter schools in Ohio with five campuses serving nearly 3,400 students throughout the city of Cleveland.
In the summer of 2022, Breakthrough Schools launched a summer literacy program to ensure that their scholars graduate as readers, with a focus on using best practices surrounding teaching foundational literacy skills at K-2 and when teaching comprehension in all subjects. The Summer Literacy experience, which averaged 37 participants per day, was focused on teaching K-2 scholars the foundational reading skills necessary in small groups while they also were having fun.
Meet Blake Delgadillo, a past Crofton Cares scholarship recipient and recent graduate from the University of Tampa Class of 2021. Majoring in Biology with a pre-health concentration, Blake plans to go to medical school to become a surgeon.
In this video, Blake talks about what it meant to him to win the Crofton Cares scholarship award and how it led to opportunities he might not have had such as leading the public speaking department, student mentoring, and tutoring.
As a token of appreciation for our support, UCP of Greater Cleveland recently presented Crofton Cares with a beautiful decorative plate designed and painted by Tyrone Peacock, a freelance artist with cerebral palsy who has attended UCP programming for over 20 years. In 2012, Tyrone founded a business to produce paintings and share his love of art. You can view Tyrone’s work on his TikTok page @tyronepeacock10.
Crofton Cares recently made a $5,000 contribution to Ohio End of Life Options, a non-profit organization advocating the rights of qualified terminally ill Americans to be able to direct their own end of life care and have access to all health care options, including Medical Aid in Dying.
The $5,000 donation was part of the Linnemann Family Foundation Matching Campaign, which raised just over $67,000 on behalf of Ohio End of Life Options. Michael Southard, who founded Crofton Cares with his wife Amy, shared why he supports Medical Aid in Dying;
“I experienced my father suffering at the end of his life, and I understand the value of having the option of medical aid in dying for the terminally ill.”
To learn more about Ohio End of Life Options by clicking here.
Thanks to the generosity of Amy and Mike Southard through Crofton Cares, the University of Tampa is able to award a merit-based scholarship that covers full tuition and fees, room and board, and books for four years to a deserving high school senior who plans to attend the university. In addition to that, Crofton Cares also supports deserving high school seniors who are student members of Starting Right, Now – a Tampa Bay-based program for homeless teenagers.
Read the entire release from the University of Tampa by clicking here.
We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You!
As our 7th annual Trunks of Hope campaign comes to a close, we are inspired by the generous support we’ve seen. It is because of people like you – members, donors, visitors, volunteers, Board Members, and more – that we can ensure that teachers and students have the free holocaust education tools they need in the classroom.
Together we raised $27,716.00 and, with the matching gift that brings our total to $52,716!
Thank you for being a part of our #TrunksofHope campaign! This included over 130 different gifts from our generous donors.
A special thank you to Mike and Amy Southard, through their charitable foundation, Crofton Cares, for matching $25,000 in contributions.
Thank you for helping us bring the gift of Holocaust education!
To learn more about the Florida Holocaust Museum, click here.
The Florida Holocaust Museum (FHM) has launched its 7th Annual Trunks of Hope campaign to ensure teachers and students have the free Holocaust education tools and resources they need as they return to the classroom – whether that classroom is at school or at home.
This year, when a donation is made to the campaign, thanks to a matching pledge, the dollars will go even further. That is due to the generosity of Amy and Michael Southard through their charitable foundation, Crofton Cares. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000.
Crofton Cares has announced today the recipient of its $25,000 scholarship program. Manith Humchad, a graduate of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, will receive this year’s scholarship from the Crofton Cares foundation, and the scholarship is renewable for three additional years, provided Humchad maintains his eligibility.
“I am ecstatic to be chosen as the winner of the Crofton Cares Scholarship Award,” said Humchad. “It means a lot to me that I can pursue a degree and to not be held back by the burden of student loans and other financial stresses.”
The Crofton Cares Scholarship Award is provided to one student, annually. The winning student must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. He or she must attend a two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational/technical school. Students must reside in the Tampa, Florida or Cleveland, Ohio areas, and they must have test scores of 1280 SAT or 28 ACT, or higher. The program also examines extracurricular activities, community service, and financial need.
Humchad, who also earned a Huntington Bank Scholarship, added that the Crofton Cares award was helpful because the program allows him to direct the money to room and board — something not every scholarship program will contribute to.
Humchad intends, eventually, to enter medical school.
Crofton Cares is a non-profit charitable foundation that was founded in 2018 by Michael and Amy Southard. Crofton Cares was developed with a mission of improving lives in Northeast Ohio and the Tampa Bay area by supporting endeavors in two areas: education and healthcare.
For more information about the Crofton Cares Scholarship Award, visit CroftonCares.org
Mike and Amy Southard, founders of Crofton Cares, were recently honored as the recipients of the Starting Right, Now, 2020 Soul Award. Starting Right, Now is an organization that is working to end homelessness for youth in the Tampa area by providing one-on-one mentoring, a stable home, and assistance with employment opportunities, financial literacy, and educational achievement. SRN students learn to let go of old behaviors and embrace a new way of being.
“The award represents a metamorphosis of a butterfly, which is very similar to the students’ transformation in Starting Right, Now”, said founder Vicki Sokolik. “SRN is providing for each of our homeless students a safe space to grow in order for them to realize their own potential as a beautiful butterfly.” She continued, “This year the Soul Award is presented to Mike and Amy Southard, who have financially supported SRN and this year went above and beyond by creating a scholarship for one of the SRN students to attend University of Tampa on a four-year ride.”
Thanks to an undisclosed gift from Amy and Mike Southard of Pepper Pike, UCP of Greater Cleveland now offers a new adaptive and inclusive playground at its headquarters near University Circle.
UCP of Greater Cleveland will celebrate the complete renovation and reopening of their brand new adaptive and inclusive playground for individuals with disabilities during an intimate dedication event on Saturday, October 10, 2020. The small gathering, featuring remarks from UCP leadership and families, will take place on the playground beginning at 1:00 p.m. outside of the UCP of Greater Cleveland’s Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Center on Euclid Avenue. During the event, the lead donors of the project will be honored through the official naming of the Amy and Mike Southard Adaptive & Inclusive Playground.
The originally constructed playground that was built over 20 years ago became weathered and worn. Its use by UCP therapists and children was no longer an option. However, due to the generosity of Amy and Mike Southard through their foundation Crofton Cares, demolition of the old equipment and surfacing began in January 2020, followed by spring/early summer construction and was recently completed to be enjoyed by those affiliated with UCP.
“This new playground is literally a dream come true for our staff. When asked a few years ago what they needed to better serve these children with significant developmental disabilities, they immediately answered “an adaptive and inclusive playground,” said Trish Otter, President and C.E.O. of UCP. “As a non-profit organization that operates at a deficit in order to serve the needs of these children and their families, this was a tall order to fill. We are very grateful for this wonderful gift.” This event will be closed to the public; however, members of the media are invited to attend. Social distancing and mask wearing will be adhered to.
About UCP of Greater Cleveland
The mission of UCP of Greater Cleveland is to empower children and adults with disabilities to advance their independence, productivity and inclusion in the community. More than 1,500 individuals with a wide variety of disabilities, not only cerebral palsy, benefit annually from high-quality therapy services, family supports, and community integration and employment opportunities. The nonprofit organization employs 160 individuals offering comprehensive children’s therapy services through LeafBridge, A Center of Excellence for Children, and adult employment and community integration services through OakLeaf, A Center of Excellence for Adults. The UCP of Greater Cleveland headquarters is located at 10011 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106. The agency also operates a location at Highland Hills and at various educational and vocational sites throughout Cuyahoga and surrounding counties. Please visit ucpcleveland.org to learn more.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crofton Cares has made a gift to the University Hospitals COVID-19 Caregiver Support Fund, created to help defray the unanticipated costs of the health crises. These costs range from extensive patient care and testing, medical supplies and research to providing for the protection, wellness and resilience of University Hospital’s staff.
“During this crisis, we wanted to help our community support UH and its caregivers,” said Michael Southard, co-founder of Crofton Cares. “And the best way to help them is to give them the resources they need to fight this battle.”
“In addition, Crofton’s support will help accelerate important research studies and enhance the safety and wellbeing of our caregivers,” added Daniel I. Simon, MD, Chief Clinical & Scientific Officer, University Hospitals and President, UH Cleveland Medical Center.