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Bacardi Scholars

Bacardi and the National Basketball Association establish a scholarship fund totaling more than $350,000 to assist adult students seeking a college education.

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., today announced the launch of a new scholarship program that will provide more than $350,000 of financial assistance to adult students (aged 21+), from the African-American and Hispanic communities.

The Gold Standard Scholarship Program tipped off today at a special event at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue featuring: David Stern, NBA Commissioner; John Esposito, President and CEO, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Johnny Taylor, Jr., President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Barbara Breier, Senior Vice President of Development & Marketing, Hispanic Scholarship Fund; and NBA Legends Greg Anthony, Rolando Blackman and Felipe Lopez.

The program, which is being conducted in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), is open to eligible candidates through January 2011.  Scholarships will be awarded to students throughout greater New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and Boston who excel academically and exemplify the values of volunteerism and service.  Applications for the Gold Standard Scholarship Program can be found online at NBA.com/goldstandard.

Through the program, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund will select 24 minority students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees to receive a $10,000 scholarship to support his or her educational endeavors.  In addition, four of the 24 students will be selected as national scholarship recipients and will receive an additional $30,000 in financial assistance.

“BACARDI® is proud to announce our collaboration with the NBA to create the Gold Standard Scholarship Program and to present students with the opportunity to further their education by providing the tools necessary to successfully reach their goals,” said Margaret McDonnell, Brand Director, BACARDI rums. “During these challenging economic times, BACARDI continues to reach out to our local community and give back to those who possess the outstanding qualities and values that are representative of our brand.”

“This new scholarship program underscores the shared commitment to giving back that is at the heart of our partnership with Bacardi,” said Mark Tatum, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships.  ”Partnering with two prestigious organizations — the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund — will enable the Gold Standard Scholarship Program to reward hardworking and socially conscious students and assist them in achieving their educational goals.”

NBA Legends Greg Anthony, Rolando Blackman and Felipe Lopez will serve as official ambassadors of the Gold Standard Scholarship Program this year.  Along with being on hand at the tip off event today, the ambassadors will help promote the program during the application process and help honor the four recipients of the $30,000 national scholarships.

“The National Basketball Association and Bacardi USA have been long time supporters of TMCF, and we are grateful for their significant investment in our organization and the over 235,000 students we serve,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF President & CEO.  ”TMCF will identify the best and brightest leaders from the six identified markets, and through the Gold Standard Scholarship Program we will help academically gifted and civic-minded students achieve their dreams of a college education.”

“The Gold Standard Scholarship Program sends a particularly strong message to Latino and African American adults in pursuit of their college education for betterment of themselves, their families and their community,” said HSF President and CEO, Frank D. Alvarez.  ”We appreciate the NBA and Bacardi’s willingness to invest in the Hispanic community through HSF, which is working to place ‘a degree in every Latino household’ and thereby have a dramatic impact on this country’s economy today and in the future.”

The 24 recipients of the $10,000 scholarships from this year’s Gold Standard Scholarship Program will be announced in March 2011. The four national scholarship recipients will be announced as part of a special event in May 2011.

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 2009-10 season, NBA games reached 215 countries and territories in 41 languages.  The league’s worldwide reach is also displayed in the 79 international players from 35 countries and territories on NBA rosters.  NBA merchandise is sold in more than 100,000 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.

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 premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in the world; MARTINI®  vermouth,  the  world-leader  in  vermouth; and other leading and emerging brands.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 6 law schools located in 22 states and the US Virgin Islands with a population of over 235,000 students. Over the last 23 years, TMCF has awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity support, and scholarships enabling more than 18,000 students to attend public HBCUs. It is the only national organization of its type that provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation’s public HBCUs. TMCF also provides internship programs and joins corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for undergraduate and professional schools. TMCF is a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization. Please visit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund at www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org.

About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s (HSF) mission is to strengthen America by advancing the college education of Hispanic Americans. The organization delivers a range of programs to Hispanic families and students through community outreach and education, affordability via scholarships, college retention and career opportunities. HSF supports a successful path for Latinos to attain a college degree – creating an increasingly valuable asset for a stronger, more competitive America in the 21st century. Celebrating its 35th year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has awarded over $300M, resulting in approximately 100,000 scholarships to students in need. Visit: www.HSF.net.

Contact:

Carmine N. Tiso, NBA, (212) 407-8208, ctiso@nba.com

Cortney Silverman, CORBIN-HILLMAN COMMUNICATIONS, (212) 246-3586, Cortney@corbinpr.com

Joe Gerbino, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (786) 264-8421, jgerbino@bacardi.com

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SOURCE Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.