16th Annual ‘Richard’s Run For Life’ 5K Donates $200,000 To USF’s Latino Scholarship Program


TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 17, 2017 – The 16th annual “Richard’s Run for Life” 5K raised $100,000 for the University of South Florida’s Latino Scholarship Program and was matched by Richard and Melanie Gonzmart’s personal check for another $100,000.

100% of every dollar donated and raised benefits the Richard and Melanie Gonzmart Endowed Latino Scholarship at the University of South Florida. These scholarships go to academically gifted but financially challenged minority students – many of them the first generation in their families to attend college.

It’s a gift that encourages further giving; some of the original recipients are now funding scholarships of their own.

Next year Richard and Melanie will fund 10 new four-year student scholarships, in addition to the eight scholarships already in place.

Richard Gonzmart, 4th generation family member and president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, learned the importance of giving back from his parents, Cesar and Adela Gonzmart. They provided financial support and counsel to USF since the University’s opening in 1960.

Adela initiated the first Latino Scholarship in 1991. Today that first recipient, Paola Sequeira, is a physician at UCLA Medical Center.

After his parents passed away, Richard created the Adela and Cesar Gonzmart Memorial Endowment also the Columbia Centenario Endowment. Both endowments provide fully funded scholarships through the USF Latino Scholarship program.

Richard and his daughter Andrea Gonzmart Williams attend the annual ceremony to award these scholarships and to meet the recipients

“We cannot live on an island that is encircled with others facing economic challenges,” Richard said in 2013. “We all breathe the same air. It is our moral obligation to help young students, to give them a chance, at least a basic chance of a proper education.”

“Richard’s Run for Life” has raised more than $1,153,000 since 2002.

Next year’s race is Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, and will benefit the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. The program seeks a cure as well as new and improved treatment for the second-leading cause of cancer in this age group.

The original Columbia Restaurant was founded in Tampa’s historic Ybor City in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., and is now Florida’s oldest restaurant.  Additional Columbia locations include St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, the Historic District in St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida's town of Celebration, the Columbia Cafe in the Tampa Bay History Center on the Riverwalk in Tampa and the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport. All Columbia locations are owned and operated by 4th and 5th generation members of the founding family except for Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport, which is operated in partnership with HMSHost. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please see ColumbiaRestaurant.com for more information.

The Gonzmart Family Foundation is registered under the Florida Solicitation of Contributions Act, and has been issued the following registration number by the Division of Consumer Services: CH17908. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 800-435-7352 within the State of Florida. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state.  

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Contact:  Angela Geml at 813-248-3000 ext. 17 or a.geml@ColumbiaRestaurant.com