New store supports USF scholarship program

Following the Crate & Barrel’s preview party, more than $18,000 was donated to the First Generation Scholarship Program (FGSP) at USF.

Crate & Barrel held the pre-opening party Wednesday to celebrate the store’s new location at International Plaza. More than 200 attendees including USF alumni and local business owners donated to FSGP.

Along with private donations from the pre-opening party and a disclosed portion of the store’s first-week sales, the state of Florida matched one-hundred percent of the funds raised by Crate & Barrell.

 “There were two goals (at the party), one to raise money and two to raise awareness. [The foundation and Crate & Barrel] have a wonderful partnership,” said Joel Momberg, chief executive officer of the USF Foundation.

This was the first time one of Crate & Barrel’s pre-opening parties was geared toward education, said Bette Kahn, chief executive officer of Crate & Barrel. She said the store approached USF about the opportunity.

“We believe in education. Many of my Crate & Barrel’s employees have a history in education or are ex-teachers. Like Obama, we believe in education,” Kahn said.

In 2006, the Florida legislature passed the First Generation Matching Grant Program that provides financial support to students whose parents never attended college, Momberg said.

There are 4,000 USF students that are considered first generation college attendees, Momberg said.

“[FGSP] was very appealing and emotional. The state of Florida agreed to meet our donation,” Kahn said. “As a whole we thought this scholarship was a compelling reason to help.”

Attendees had to pay $25 to enter the pre-opening party. USF graduate Nancy Alfredson said she wanted to support FGSP because she was a first generation college graduate.

“I was invited from the Alumni Association and I’m a large supporter of the (FGSP) program,” she said. “I was a first generation graduate and I was able to make it through college because of grants and scholarships. It really is a terrific program.”

Ivonne Rodriguez, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, is a FGSP recipient and attended the party.

“If it wasn’t for the scholarship I wouldn’t be attending any university,” she said. “I knew my family wasn’t able to help me because they struggle to make their household payments.”

FGSP assists students with paying tuition, housing, food, a laptop and provides $700 for books each semester.

“I am very grateful because I would not be here without FGSP,” Rodriguez said.

Additional donations to FGSP can be made directly on the USF Foundation website at