Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. and WNBA Announce Second Annual Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award -- Two Tri-State Area Students Will Each Receive a $15,000 Scholarship in Partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund --

NEW YORK, May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second consecutive year, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. have awarded two college students each with a $15,000 scholarship at the league's sixth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon which took place in New York City on Tuesday, May 24.

Ariel Roberts of Chicago, Ill. and Blanca Martinez of Bronx, N.Y. were selected by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, respectively, as recipients of the Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award.  

"Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. congratulates Ariel Roberts and Blanca Martinez on their exceptional academic achievements and their community involvement," said Brian LePorin, Brand Director, BACARDI Rums. "Their dedication to education and betterment to others are all values that our company embraces and both young adults exemplify the values of volunteerism and community service."

"The Inspiring Women Luncheon celebrates the impact women can have by bettering themselves and creating a positive impact in the community," said WNBA President Laurel Richie.  "Through our partnership with Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., this year's event again showcased two dynamic young women who are emblematic of this mission and will provide an assist in making their educational goals a reality."

Blanca Martinez, 22, recently completed her senior year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a 3.60 GPA and a degree in Juvenile Justice. In addition to her studies, she speaks fluent Spanish and English, and plays a very active role in her community.  Whether it is counseling pre-teen and teenage girls through the AmeriCorps Program, working as an assistant teacher at Bright Horizons, starting Backpacks for the Homeless here in New York city, or traveling to Cambodia and New Orleans to help those in need, Martinez is always actively involved in not only her community, but communities in need.  She plans on continuing her education by receiving a Masters Degree in Social Work, focusing on youth and their upbringing.

Ariel Roberts, 24, received her Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance from Howard University in 2008.  She was the class Salutatorian and served as student council president from 2005-2008.  Roberts is currently pursuing a Master's of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and is expected to graduate in 2013. Along with her studies, she is currently employed at Credit Suisse, a mentor in the Street Wise Partners Program in New York, and a mentor and member of the New York Junior League.  Roberts' goal is to help society understand the financial landscape and empower them to make responsible financial decisions through the skills she acquires at Harvard Business School.  

This Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award was created to recognize adult leaders from the African American and Hispanic communities in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), who excel in the classroom, are leaders in the community, and exemplify the values of volunteerism and service.  

Last year, Jeanni Johnson of Elmsford, N.Y. and Jordana Vasquez of Perth Amboy, N.J. were each awarded program's inaugural scholarships as part of the 2010 WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon.  The Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award is conducted in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.  

The sixth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon was attended by more than 400 leaders from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, and politics.  At the luncheon, the league presented television journalist Katie Couric with the 2011 WNBA Inspiration Award, which recognizes an individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family, and community.  Past honorees include United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, and political commentator Cokie Roberts.

About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.

Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. is the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. The company boasts a portfolio of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the United States including BACARDI® rum, the world's favorite and best-selling premium rum, as well as the world's most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended  Scotch Whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® 100 percent blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United States; MARTINI® vermouth, the world-leader in  vermouth; and other leading and emerging brands.

Bacardi has a 149-year history of quality, excellence, ethics and social involvement dating back to the late 1800's in Cuba. Through employee volunteering initiatives, in-kind support and charitable activities, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. has become a valued supporter of hundreds of community organizations across the country.  The company believes strongly in providing support focused on the Environment, Education, Social Services, Arts & Culture and Disaster Relief Assistance.  For additional information, visit www.bacardiusa.com.

About the WNBA

The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women's professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. Following a 2010 season that included a fourth consecutive year of attendance growth, surging WNBA Finals ratings, and strong increases in traffic to WNBA.com and WNBA Mobile sites, the league will tip off its historic 15th season on June 3.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women's health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice, was established in 1987. TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending our 47-member schools, which include public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). TMCF's work is critical to guaranteeing our country a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders.  TMCF achieves its vision of Changing the World . . . One Leader at a Time by focusing on three areas: Scholarships, Capacity Building & Programmatic Support, and Public Policy & Advocacy.  TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization.  For up-to-the-minute information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit www.thurgoodmarshallcollegefund.org.

About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund  

Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford.  As the nation's leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree. HSF has awarded over $335 million in scholarships over the past 36 years and has supported a broad range of outreach and education programs to help students and their families navigate collegiate life, from gaining admission and securing financial aid to finding employment after graduation.  HSF envisions a future where every Latino household will have at least one college graduate, creating an enduring impact on the college outlook of Latino families nationwide, and strengthening the American economy for generations to come. For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund please visit: www.HSF.net

Contact:
Carmine N. Tiso, NBA, (212) 407-8208, ctiso@nba.com
Tori Katz, Corbin-Hillman Communications, (212) 246-3586, tori@corbinpr.com
Joe Gerbino, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (786) 264-8421, jgerbino@bacardi.com

ENJOY RESPONSIBLY.


©2011 BACARDI AND THE BAT DEVICE ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF BACARDI AND COMPANY LIMITED. BACARDI U.S.A., INC., CORAL GABLES, FL.



SOURCE Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.



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