May 13, 2015 was a very special day for 70 student athletes of 35 public high schools in Hillsborough County. The third annual “Heart of a Champion” banquet, which took place at the T Pepin Hospitality Centre and was sponsored by Bob Gries, a prominent capital investment expert and community philanthropist, featured a $1,000 scholarship award to seventy high school seniors. Mr. Gries was joined by Tampa Bay celebrities, politicians, teachers, and coaches, who shared Bob’s vision on extending support to youngsters with demonstrated resilience, empathy, and excellence in humanity – qualities that go beyond their academic achievements and sport performance.
Launched in 2013, the “Heart of a Champion” project accepts applications from students in their senior year. Six candidates–three men and three women –are nominated by Directors of Athletics Departments of each respective school to submit a short essay to the scholarship selection committee articulating what their participation in academic activities and sport has meant for their personal and professional growth. Upon further consideration, two applicants from each school selected as finalists receive the financial aid. Each winner will use the grant amount toward college tuition and other school-related costs. Keynote speakers at the third annual award ceremony included Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former NCAA Wrestling National Division I champion from Arizona State University Anthony Robles. They congratulated the students with this milestone accomplishment and spoke about the positive impact Gries’ charity initiatives have made on community well-being in Tampa Bay area. Robles shared a personal journey from his early life as a person with disability, acknowledging the courage, the efforts, and a lot of hard work it takes people who go through many adversities to overcome various obstacles in life.
Throughout the years, recipients of what has now become Bob Gries’ traditional endowment project have displayed exceptional leadership and maturity in their classroom experience, athletic competitions, community services, charity or other voluntary engagements, including assistance to their teammates and within their households. In keeping with his corporate social responsibility mission, the strategic philanthropist, founder and sponsor of the “Heart of a Champion” award advises that the best athletes and brightest minds deserve to be honored. The visionary economist is convinced that those who stretch out their helping hands to people in need, are true altruists and their resolution and commitment to contribute to a good cause should also be recognized and celebrated.
Bob Gries, the Founding Member and Managing Director of the Gries Investment Funds, known for his disciplined and well-thought approach to successful capital management, provides loans and financing to real estate projects, public and private companies, and professional sports franchises. Having over 20-years of professional business experience, Gries is dedicated to helping communities where he operates. Former director of the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Storm owner, Gaither High School football coach and marathon runner, he now remains active as one of the largest investors in the Tampa Bay area.
Bob Gries – Founder and Managing Director of Gries Investment Funds:
Bob Gries — Proud to Support Tampa Performance Arts Program:
Bob Gries — Offers Expert Investment Strategies to Target Success: