Education in Coral Gables Receives Major Investment as Coral Gables Community Foundation Awards Nearly $400k in Scholarships


Education in Coral Gables Receives Major Investment as Coral Gables Community Foundation Awards Nearly $400,000 in Scholarships

CORAL GABLES, FL (May 4, 2022) – The Coral Gables Community Foundation doubled down on its support for college scholarships in 2022, with awards totaling $388,000 – a 60% increase over the year earlier.  The growth is attributed to generous, engaged and visionary fund holders joining the Foundation to award more scholarships than ever.

Eighty-nine senior students from five area high schools were awarded scholarships from its 16 scholarship programs: the Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Four-Year Scholarship; the Culinary Arts Scholarship; Dr. Thomas Deal Scholarship; Garcia Perseverance Scholarship; Coral Gables Bar Association Scholarship in Memory of Ervin Gonzalez; Kerdyk Family Trust Music Scholarship; Ralph V. Moore Scholarship for Cavalier Excellence; Julian Perez Memorial Scholarship; Dave Ragan Jr. Memorial Golf Scholarship; Rotary Foundation of Coral Gables Scholarship; Shine Bright Scholarship; Jeannett Slesnick Community Spirit Scholarship; Luke Sturgill Memorial Scholarship; the Lady Suzanna P. Tweed Scholarship; and the Mitchell Zuñiga Scholarship. 

Dignitaries, Foundation Board Members, donors and the scholarship recipients and their families celebrated at the annual Scholarship Reception hosted jointly with the City of Coral Gables at THēsis Hotel with catering by Chef Niven Patel. 

 The students receiving the awards will be graduating this year from Coral Gables Senior High School; International Studies Preparatory Academy (ISPA); Miami Senior High School; Belen Jesuit Preparatory Academy; and Cutler Bay Senior High School. 

Education is a top priority in Coral Gables, as evidenced by the visionary and generous individual fund holders behind the scholarships. Scholarships created in 2022 include: 

  • Realtor and civic leader Jeannett Slesnick recently created the Jeannett Slesnick Community Spirit Scholarship Fund, which recognizes students for communications, journalism, leadership and/or historic preservation at several area high schools. 
  • The Shine Bright Scholarship, which seeks to foster leadership, was created by Matthew T. Meehan, chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee and the entrepreneur behind ShineWater beverages, Future Proof and The Times Properties.
  • The Luke Sturgill Memorial Scholarship, which encourages those pursuing vocational or technical school. It was established in Luke’s memory by his aunt and Coral Gables resident, Laura L. Russo. Russo is a prominent Coral Gables attorney and a past chair of the Foundation’s Board. 
  • The Dr. Thomas E. Deal Scholarship provides four-year college tuition assistance to a graduating senior from Coral Gables Senior High School who plans to pursue a career in medicine. It is the brainchild of his daughter Sarah Deal, her siblings and her spouse, financial planner and Gables High Alumnus Steven Tonkinson. 

Several fund holders have supported the Scholarship Program for many years. The Kerdyk Family Trust Music Scholarship Fund will be twenty years old in October. On behalf of her family’s fund, Coral Gables entrepreneur and LPGA tour golfer Tracy L. Kerdyk and sister Kim enjoyed selecting four students for thousands of dollars worth of scholarships to encourage student music education in public schools. 

The Batchelor Foundation has supported the Scholarship Program for several years, and The Kirk Foundation supported this year’s awards. 

“Each year, the Coral Gables Community Foundation has the privilege of honoring students who have excelled academically and shown outstanding service to their community,” said Venny Torre, chair of the Foundation’s Board and CEO of Torre Construction and Development, adding that he believes that today’s scholarship recipients will be the ones awarding even larger scholarships years from now.

“The generosity of our fund holders and donors has allowed us to invest over one million dollars in our community’s education over the last few years” said Matthew Meehan, Scholarship Committee Chair and Foundation Board Member.  Mr. Meehan concluded the ceremony with a challenge to the students to give back to the community that has supported them and to use their education and skills to make a difference by paying it forward to the next generation. The crowd roared its approval. 


Isabella Ahumada; Isabella Alvarez; Stephanie Andrade; Bernardo Andrade; Andres Aparicio; Esperanza Barrios; Valentina Bernal; Maia Berthier; Katherine Blanco; Sabrina Bonavita; Jose Caballero; Angel J. Cardona; Danny Cen; Marianpaola Chacon; Adan Corea; Ashley Cruz; Sarya Dany; Andrea Delgado; Romulo Delgado Gonzalez; Melissa Elmhorst; Melanie Estrada; Jana E. Faour; Abigail Felan; Jose Fernandez; Thais Forbes; Alexander A. Franco; Alia Gamez Ibarra; David Gonzalez; Lea Graham; Lauren Gregorio; Maria Belen Guillen; Frederick Eagan Hanselmann; Emma Hardie; Ava Jackson; Alana Jefferson; Joshua Johnson; Ethan Kaddour Moore; David Kuper; Nataly Leiva; Ella Londoño; Faith Mackenzie; Princesa Madriz; Ana Maestre; Kennedy Martin Jones; Julian H Mesa; DeeAnne Montero; Alan Morffi; Justin Morina; Dioslyn Oliva; Elizabeth O’Meara; Natalia Pallas; Isabel Perez; Amanda Perez; Amanda Perez Romero; Noora Pharaon; Chris Rico; Grace Rodriguez; Marta Rodriguez; Lenny Roque; Benjamin Sanchez Pla; Jasming Senel; Lawrence Stampino Strain; Paulina Texier; Jennifer Urbina; Mariangel Valcarcel; Maria J Vega; Natalie Verdesoto; Alejandro Villarreal; Gabriel Wagner.


The Coral Gables Community Foundation is honored to partner with fundholders to administer several scholarship funds in the community as well as manage the Foundation’s own scholarship funds. The Foundation and its fundholders have proudly awarded over $1 million in scholarships in just the past few years.


Led by community leaders, the Coral Gables Community Foundation works to improve the quality of life for those who live, work, learn and play in the City Beautiful. For 30 years, the Foundation has been at the forefront of the evolving needs of Coral Gables by effectively bringing together beneficiaries and benefactors to fund programs with the greatest impact and benefit to “The City Beautiful.” Established in September 1991, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, through its discretionary, donor-advised, and scholarship funds, awarded over $9 million to worthy causes. For more information, please visit

For more information or for media resources and interviews, please contact Marketing and Program Manager Robertson Adams, via or 305-446-9670. 


  • Scholarship Programs
  • Gables Foundation is on Twitter: @CGCF and Instagram: @CoralGablesCF 
  • Tag your posts with #CGCFscholarships2022
  • Video and photos from the event will be linked here within a few days.