Major Gifts Allow Florida Tech’s Scott Center to Create Endowment

Renowned Facility Receives Nearly $600,000

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech’s renowned Scott Center for Autism Treatment now has a nearly $600,000 endowment after six benefactors, led by Brevard County real estate developer Fred Sutton, pledged to support the university-based non-profit facility.

“The Scott Center is first and foremost a community resource,” said Lisa Steelman, dean of Florida Tech’s College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, under which the Scott Center operates. “Fees and finances are always secondary to our mission to be a facility that, simply put, helps families. This generous support means that we can continue to focus our energy and innovation on doing what we do best.”

The process began several months ago, when Sutton, a co-founder of Sutton Properties, agreed to donate $100,000 to the Center, which at the time had no endowment. 

The gift entitled Sutton to have a room at the center named, and Sutton issued a challenge to Gary Grant, Florida Tech’s vice president for development: Develop and carry out a plan to receive gifts to name multiple rooms at the Center.

Grant and his team developed the plan and showed it to Sutton, who approved and said he will provide his gift once others have been secured.

Over the next few months, the team did just that, securing gifts from several benefactors. Each will have a room named for them.

Greg Williams, the parent of a Florida Tech student, agreed to donate $31,000 from the Philip S. Harper Foundation. The New York Jets, which chose Florida Tech as the NFL team’s official STEM partner, agreed to donate the proceeds of the 50/50 raffle held at one home game. The first game was in December; the two others will come over the next two seasons.

But Sutton was not done with his challenges. Speaking at the Scott Center’s annual An Evening of Hope XI fundraiser in February, he agreed to pledge another $150,000, in addition to the $100,000 he had already provided, if the university could secure an additional $250,000 in gifts within the next four days.

Hearing that challenge from the audience, Ted Parker, founder and CEO of Revolution Technologies and a member of the Scott Center Advisory Board, agreed to pledge $100,000 if the remaining $150,000 could be secured.

Grant later reached out to Alan Smith, a longtime Florida Tech benefactor who has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 1996. Smith agreed to pledge $50,000. He then contacted another board member, the Distinguished Alumni Award winner Vik Verma, who also agreed to pledge $50,000.

Grant was still $50,000 shy of Sutton’s challenge when he heard from Greg Williams, who had earlier pledged $31,000. Williams agreed to pledge an additional $50,000, bringing his total to $81,000.

Sutton’s challenge had been met, and the Scott Center now had an endowment valued at $581,000 that will ensure its operations have a basis for funding in perpetuity.

“The amazing generosity displayed with these gifts illustrates not just a recognition of the caliber of care and service The Scott Center provides, but also that our university community is comprised of visionary, selfless people who want to make the world around them a better place,” said Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay. “We are deeply thankful to these supporters.”


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