NBA and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. Announce Gold Standard Scholarship Program Regional Winners -- 24 Students to Receive Scholarships Totaling More Than $300,000 in Partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund --

-- Online Voting for Four National Winners Tips Off Today --

NEW YORK, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. today announced the regional winners of the inaugural Gold Standard Scholarship Program.  The twenty-four adult students (aged 21+) from culturally diverse communities will now vie for their chance to receive an additional $30,000 scholarship as four national winners will be selected by public voting beginning today at www.nba.com/goldstandard.  

Through the program, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) selected 24 minority students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees to receive a $10,000 scholarship.  Starting today, fans may go online to vote for the four students -- one male and one female from each organization -- to be selected as national scholarship recipients and receive an additional $30,000 in financial support.  Voting will close on Monday, May 30 and the winners will be announced during a special event in Miami, Fla. in late June.

Information on the 24 Gold Standard Scholarship Program regional winners, 12 each selected by the TMCF and HSF, is available at www.nba.com/goldstandard.  

"Since 1862, BACARDI rum has been the world's most mixable and most sociable spirit brand and like the NBA, is rich in history and tradition," said Brian LePorin, Brand Director, BACARDI . "The collaboration between BACARDI and the NBA is the perfect opportunity for like-minded organizations to showcase our values and establish programs that serve our community. We look forward to continuing this important partnership that is equally committed to providing young adults with the resources they need to reach their goals."

"The NBA is proud to join BACARDI for this new scholarship program and applauds the hard work and dedication that each of the 24 recipients has shown in their classrooms and in their communities," said Mark Tatum, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships.  "With the support and guidance of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Gold Standard Scholarship Program will provide much-deserved assistance to the students as they continue working towards their educational goals."

The Gold Standard Scholarship Program tipped off in September 2010.  Scholarships were awarded to students throughout greater New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and Boston who excelled academically and exemplified the values of volunteerism and service.  NBA Legends Greg Anthony, Rolando Blackman and Felipe Lopez are the official ambassadors of the Gold Standard Scholarship Program and will be on hand to announce the four national scholarship recipients as part of the special event in June.

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 NBA

The NBA, founded in 1946, is a professional sports league and global business that features 30 teams in the United States and Canada.  During the 2010-11 season, NBA games will reach 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.  Official NBA rosters currently feature 83 players from 40 countries and territories.  NBA merchandise is sold in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA.com averages more than 26 million page views per day, with more than 50 percent of the site's visitors coming from outside of North America.  The NBA is the No. 1 U.S. sports league on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with the most fans, followers, and videos viewed on each, respectively.

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 TOGETHER 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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