Valencia Foundation and UCF Foundation Host ‘A Taste for Learning’ Fundraising Event

In light of recent economic struggles, many local residents are turning to higher education as the key to new employment opportunities and job security. While things seem to be looking up for many families, finances can still be tight, especially when including the ever rising costs of tuition and books that can make paying for college seem impossible.

To increase access to higher education and bolster scholarship funding, Valencia Foundation and UCF Foundation are partnering once again to host A Taste for Learning on Saturday, April 2, at Rosen Shingle Creek. An international wine sampling and auction, A Taste for Learning expects to draw over 1,000 attendees to raise monies for scholarships that support students who are the first in their families to attend college. Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts are given directly to student scholarships and are eligible to earn dollar-for-dollar match through the Florida First Generation in College matching grant program.

Tickets for A Taste for Learning are $125 per person or $200 per couple and can be purchased online at

When A Taste for Learning was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits executive vice president, the idea was to create an event that could be sustained by the support of community partners donating all the necessary items for the event. The generosity of those willing to contribute everything needed, the venue, food, wines, auction items and décor for the event, has resulted in $1.67 million dollars going straight to deserving students in need.

2011 will mark the second year that Valencia and UCF have collaborated on A Taste for Learning to raise funds for 2+2 scholarships for the DirectConnect program. DirectConnect is an initiative guaranteeing admission to UCF for all Valencia graduates, and is the most successful community college/university partnership in the nation.

For this year’s tasting and auction, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has invited wineries from around the world to donate hundreds of bottles of their finest wines, as well as providing exceptional auction items. Each year about 100 visit from throughout the country, as well as Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections from Rosen Shingle Creek, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort and Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana, among others, will be served during the event.

This year’s generous sponsors include ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek, Freeman, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Walt Disney World Resort, Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services of Orlando Inc., Jack Holloway Foundation, LarsonAllen LLP, Orlando Event Photographers, Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, FAIRWINDS Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank, Paul and Mary Ann Kinser, McCree General Contractors & Architects, PPI Construction Management Inc., SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, Skanska USA Building Inc., Terra Firma Construction Management, Signature Systems of Florida, Universal Orlando Resort and Williams Company.

For more information or to make a donation, please call (407)582-3150 or visit

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