Valencia Fundraiser to Feature International Wines and Food

The local philanthropic landscape has changed in the last few years. As the economy struggles and rebounds slowly, the effects have been felt by area non-profits. One key to thriving is partnering to raise money and sustain services.

It is in this spirit of partnership that Valencia College Foundation and Orlando Health Foundation join together to host A Taste for Learning on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Rosen Shingle Creek. An international wine sampling and auction, A Taste for Learning will generate monies for health care scholarships and medical education in our community.

Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts are given directly to student scholarships and medical education.

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

When Taste was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine and 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 as in-kind contributions. The generosity of those willing to offer the venue, food, wines, auction items and décor has resulted in $1.97 million dollars in student-support scholarships.

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

Guests will enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections donated by BB King’s Blues Club, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que (Alafaya/UCF location), Cabin Creek Catering, Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana at the Westin Imagine Orlando, Godiva Chocolatier, Raphsodic Bakery, Rosen Shingle Creek, T-REX, The Little Bean Company, The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Tijuana Flats, Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant and Bar and Yak and Yeti.

This year’s generous sponsors include ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek, McCree General Contractors and Architects, Freeman Co., Orlando Magic, Walt Disney World Resort, Bright House Networks, Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services of Orlando Inc., Baker Hostetler, Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Company, Dr. Jay and Mrs. Randye Falk, Old Florida, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Signature Systems of Florida, Skanska USA Building, Terra Firma Construction Management Inc., UCF Regional Campuses, Universal Orlando Resort and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

Valencia Foundation was named one of the strongest two-year college endowments for the sixth consecutive year by the NACUBO-Commonfund annual endowment study (National Association of College and University Business Officers). The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Valencia one of two public colleges to their Circle of Excellence for Educational Fundraising, an unsolicited award based on their investigation of the past three years of giving data supplied to the Voluntary Support of Education Survey.

Last year, Valencia won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, announced in a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In a competitive, year-long process, the Aspen Institute think tank, along with a panel of prestigious leaders in philanthropy, journalism and higher education, selected Valencia as the No. 1 community college for academic excellence among 1,200 institutions nationally.

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