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Pinellas philanthropists give $50,000 to USF student relief fund

Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton contributed to the United Support Fund, which has raised nearly $300,000 to help students pay for necessities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ellen Cotton, left, and Kate Tiedemann have donated $50,000 to a fund to help University of South Florida students during the coronavirus pandemic. The two previously have given millions to USF St. Petersburg.
Ellen Cotton, left, and Kate Tiedemann have donated $50,000 to a fund to help University of South Florida students during the coronavirus pandemic. The two previously have given millions to USF St. Petersburg. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times (2016) ]
Published Apr. 20, 2020

Longtime supporters of the University of South Florida, philanthropists Kate Tiedemann and her spouse, Ellen Cotton, have gifted $50,000 to the school to aid students through the coronavirus pandemic.

The money goes toward the USF United Support Fund, created last month by university president Steve Currall in response to the virus. He has said it will help students “keep their dreams alive."

“We are so grateful to Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton for their ongoing support of our students,” said Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg. “In the midst of a global pandemic, they continue to be kind, compassionate and dedicated to helping our future leaders develop the knowledge and skills needed to improve our communities while completing their degrees.”

Related: Jeff Vinik gives $50,000 to help USF students through the coronavirus

The couple’s gift brings the support fund’s total to about $283,000, all of which will be distributed through the Stay AFLOAT fund. It was created by the USF Foundation to help students pay for food, toiletries, rent and other necessities so they can continue their education.

Tiedemann and Cotton are responsible for more than $15 million in contributions to the university. Their largest gift of $10 million came in 2014 and gave the USF St. Petersburg Kate Tiedemann College of Business its name.

“An education has the power to change a person’s life,” Tiedemann said in a news release announcing the recent gift. “Ellen and I want to do everything we can to help these students remain in school and complete their degrees, despite the challenging and uncertain circumstances they are currently facing.”

Students can apply for up to $1,000 in assistance by filling out an application and submitting it to the financial aid office. They must include a signed statement explaining their need for emergency funding and what it will be used for, as well as provide “documentation supporting the amount requested," according to the application.

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