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Chick-fil-A Bowl supports new scholarship for Atlanta students

Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge

Orange fans have no shortage of excitement over Syracuse University’s move to the ACC, but big-name football isn’t the only reason to celebrate. The affiliation now connects SU to the Chick-fil-A Bowl and new scholarship funding for some of Atlanta’s finest students.

Head football coach Scott Shafer and SU basketball head coach Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73 represented the Orange at the seventh annual Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament in April and received $10,000 as a lead gift to establish the Chick-fil-A Bowl Endowed Scholarship Fund at Syracuse University.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl leads all bowls in the country in charitable giving and has provided more than $15.7 million in gifts over the past decade. In 2006, the Bowl began awarding $100,000 endowed scholarships to each of the teams participating in the ACC and SEC. A year later the Bowl established its partnership with the National Football Foundation’s Play It Smart program, targeted at high school football players from economically disadvantaged environments. Play It Smart provides “academic coaches” in all 11 of Atlanta’s public high schools. The coaches strive to keep the students in school, help them improve their grades and study habits, encourage them to take college entrance exams, and help them transition to college.

“Our support of the Play It Smart program is core to our mission as college football’s most charitable bowl game,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “Being able to help provide these students a strong academic foundation and give them the tools to succeed at the next level is literally a part of who we are. We are passionately dedicated to their success in academics and in life.”

Chick-fil-A Bowl now links its endowed scholarship program to Play It Smart, providing college scholarships for Play It Smart students. All scholarship proceeds from the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament also support the endowed scholarship program, adding an additional $520,000 in available scholarship funds.

The 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament was held at the Reynolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee outside Atlanta, where a 14-team field of NCAA head coaches and celebrity alumni hit the links—all vying for their share of the $520,000 scholarship purse for their respective universities.

As a new ACC member, SU participated in the golf tournament for the first time. Shafer and Boeheim represented the Orange among a field of competitors that included other head coaches, professional golfers, three NFL Hall of Famers, six Heisman Trophy winners, 10 national Coaches of the Year, and 16 Pro Bowlers.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl Scholarship will support Play It Smart student athletes and other Atlanta-area students who choose to attend SU.

“SU alumni and friends everywhere are energized about our move to the ACC, but this new scholarship is a particular point of pride for SU fans in Atlanta,” says Karen Spear executive director of regional advancement at SU. “As we expand our presence and recruitment to more regions, there’s an increasing need for financial resources to support students. The Chick-fil-A Bowl Scholarship and partnership with Play It Smart offers one more avenue for Atlanta students to gain life-changing experiences at SU.”

Currently, the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s endowed scholarship program has endowments at 20 ACC and SEC universities with total assets of more than $2.7 million.