Dr. Philips Charities honored the leadership and legacy of President John C. Hitt by donating $250,000 to fund scholarships for first-generation students and presenting him with its highest honor, the 2018 James A. Hinson Leadership Award, which is named after Jim Hinson who was the former president, CEO and chairman of the Dr. Phillips Charities. The award and charitable gift were given at a May 9 retirement celebration in Orlando.

“A visionary leader, Jim Hinson took our organization from a successful for-profit family business to one of the region’s most generous and important charitable organizations,” said Dr. Phillips Charities president Ken Robinson. “Dr. Hitt’s vision and leadership remind us of Jim’s leadership.”

Of the $250,000 grant, $200,000 will help first-generation students, with priority given to Central Florida residents attending the new campus, UCF Downtown. The remaining $50,000 will support the Martha Hitt First Generation Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Through a special matching-grant program, the State of Florida will contribute additional funds, bringing the total contribution to $600,000.

“Dr. Phillips Charities is helping to shape the landscape of our downtown educational ecosystem,” said Mike Morsberger, vice president for advancement and CEO of the UCF Foundation. “We are grateful for this long-standing partnership and the tremendous impact it continues to have on our students and our community.”

Dr. Phillips Charities has donated to UCF every year since the university held its first classes in 1968. During Dr. Hitt’s 26-year tenure, Dr. Phillips Charities has invested more than $12 million in UCF and has provided a significant boost to the development of UCF Downtown. In 2016, Dr. Phillips Charities committed $7 million toward construction of the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, the first academic building at the campus.

The $250,000 grant moves UCF closer to the $500 million goal of IGNITE: The Campaign for UCF, a multiyear fundraising effort set to wrap up in 2019. Donors have already given more than $385 million to the campaign to support three priorities: student success, academic excellence, and growth and opportunity.

The James A. Hinson Leadership Award, now in its third year, recognizes an extraordinary Central Florida leader or organization that exemplifies the Dr. Phillips motto: “Helping others help themselves.” Orlando Health received the inaugural award in 2016. In 2017, Edgewood Children’s Ranch became the second recipient.