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FFVA scholarship program receives $50,000 gift

From left: Sonia Tighe; Mike Joyner; Mike Stuart; and Alan Hair

MAITLAND, Fla. – The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) BB #:153753 and the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation (FSCF) recently received a $50,000 donation from FFVA Mutual Insurance Co. to fund the Mike and Karen Stuart Scholarship.

The donation was announced during FFVA’s 77th annual convention in Naples on Sept. 14.

“During Mike Stuart’s long career with FFVA, his leadership and influence played a significant role in the success and growth of FFVA Mutual,” said FFVA Mutual President and CEO Alan Hair during remarks at FFVA’s convention.

“This contribution is an exciting way for us to say thank you for his many years of service to our organization. Our hope is that this contribution will be the first step toward endowing this scholarship so that it will continue in perpetuity. Please join us in making this hope a reality.”

A focus of FFVA and its foundation is to identify and develop leaders to be strong advocates for Florida agriculture and help foster a pipeline of talent in the industry. In an effort to instill passion for the agriculture industry, engage with a new generation of young leaders and foster a workforce dedicated to the future of Florida agriculture, FFVA created the Mike and Karen Stuart Scholarship in 2021.

The scholarship encourages and supports college students who intend to pursue a career in the specialty crop industry.

The scholarship is in recognition of the devotion and many years of service to the specialty crop industry that former FFVA President Mike Stuart and his late wife Karen provided. Mike Stuart worked in the fruit and vegetable industry throughout his more than 40-year career. From 1992 until his retirement in 2018, Stuart was president of FFVA.

“Thanks to the generous support of FFVA Mutual and others in the industry, the Foundation will now have the financial resources to provide scholarships to deserving students for years to come,” said FSCF Executive Director Sonia Tighe.

“We have already seen significant interest from individuals and organizations in supporting this scholarship fund and encourage the industry to match FFVA Mutual’s contribution. We are deeply grateful to be on the receiving end of such generosity.”

The 2021 scholarship recipients are Elanie Mason and Roberto Ortez. Both recipients are currently in their third year at the University of Florida.

Donations to the Mike and Karen Stuart Scholarship can be made by visiting BidPal.Net/FFVA2021.

About the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association:

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is a full-service organization serving Florida’s grower-shipper community for more than 70 years. FFVA represents a broad range of crops: vegetables, citrus, tropical fruit, berries, sod, sugar cane, tree crops and more. Its mission is to enhance the business and competitive environment for producing and marketing fruits, vegetables, and other crops. You can follow FFVA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About FFVA Mutual Insurance Co.:

FFVA Mutual is a Florida-based regional insurance carrier specializing in workers’ compensation solutions since 1956. Rated A- (Excellent), FSC VIII by A.M. Best, the company insures a variety of industries and writes business in ten states (AL, FL, GA, IN, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN, and VA). More information about FFVA Mutual is available at

About the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation:

The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1991 by the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association to support research and educational activities that benefit Florida’s fruit and vegetable producers and farmworker families. The mission of the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation is to benefit the general public through initiatives that provide solutions to challenges facing specialty crop producers and their stakeholders. The Foundation has raised more than $8 million through public support, government grants and special events.