-- Tri-State Area Students Will Each Receive a $15,000 Scholarship in Partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund --

NEW YORK, July 12, 2010 – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. announced the two adult female students (21+) who will each receive a $15,000 scholarship at the league’s fifth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon in New York City on July 14.


Jeanni Johnson of Elmsford, N.Y. and Jordana Vasquez of Perth Amboy, N.J. were selected by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, respectively, as the recipients of the first-ever scholarships through this program.


“The WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon is a highlight on our league’s calendar and a truly appropriate setting to honor these extremely deserving young women,” said WNBA President Donna Orender.  “Through this new scholarship program, both the WNBA and BACARDI Gold will highlight our shared commitment to advancing opportunities in education among women and letting these dynamic stories serve as inspiration for all those pursing similar dreams.”

“BACARDI® Gold salutes Jeanni Johnson and Jordana Vasquez on their exceptional academic achievements and their community involvement,” said Margaret McDonnell, brand director, BACARDI Rums. “Their dedication to education, community service and betterment to others are all values that Bacardi U.S.A. embraces.”

Jeanni Johnson received her bachelor of science in psychology from Clarkson University in 2008.  She was a presidential scholar in the spring of 2007 and 2008, and was on the dean's list in fall 2008.  She is currently pursuing a master’s of science in social work at Columbia University and is on pace to graduate in 2011.  Along with her studies, she currently works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a social work oncology fellow and New York-Presbyterian Hospital Payne Whitney Westchester Division as a mental health worker.  Her goal is to leave behind a legacy of groundbreaking work in the field of psychiatry.


Jordana Vasquez just completed her second year at Essex County College, where she maintained a 3.57 GPA.  She has been accepted to Pratt Institute, where she will begin studying Architecture in the fall.  In addition to her studies, Jordana speaks fluent Spanish, English and Portuguese and plays an active role in her community.  As Vice President of Leadership for an international honor society, she has implemented and participated in various community service activities; including volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, the 2010 Census and The Walk for World Hunger, just to name a few.  Jordana was also selected for a coveted architecture internship her first year at Essex County College where her goal to continue expressing herself through art and design became a reality.  Jordana plans on gaining a bachelors degree in architecture while continuing to give back to her community.


This scholarship program was created to recognize adult leaders from the African American and Hispanic communities in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), who excel in the classroom, are leaders in the community, and exemplify the values of volunteerism and service.


The fifth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, July 14 at Gotham Hall in New York City, with more than 300 prominent attendees from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, and politics.  The league will present Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, with the 2010 WNBA Inspiration Award, which recognizes an individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family, and community.  Past honorees include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, and political commentator Cokie Roberts.


The WNBA Inspiring Women scholarship program is a precursor to the previously announced Gold Standard Scholarship Program, which the NBA and BACARDI Gold will run.  The program, conducted in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will tip off at the start of the 2010-11 academic year and will award more than $200,000 annually to dedicated students 21 years of age or older to help them reach their educational goals.


About the WNBA:

The WNBA is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  Now in its 14th season, the WNBA features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world.  Following a 2009 campaign that saw regular season attendance increase for the third consecutive year and increased viewership on ESPN2 for the second straight summer, the 2010 season tipped off with tremendous momentum on May 15.

About BACARDI Rums

In 1862 BACARDI revolutionized the spirits industry when founder Don Facundo Bacardi began producing his remarkable light-bodied, smooth rum – BACARDI, the world's favorite premium rum brand. Today, BACARDI rum is produced in Puerto Rico, following the production legacy set forth by Don Facundo – crafted in a five step distillation process, aged in American white oak barrels, and filtered five times for unparalleled quality and smoothness.


About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.

Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. is the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. The company boasts a portfolio  of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the  United  States  including  BACARDI®   rum,  the  world's  favorite and best-selling  premium  rum,  as  well as the world's most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE®  vodka,  the  world-leader  in super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended Scotch  Whisky,  the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States;  BOMBAY  SAPPHIRE®  gin,  the  top-valued premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in the world; MARTINI®  vermouth,  the  world-leader  in  vermouth; and other leading and emerging brands.


About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 6 law schools located in 22 states and the US Virgin Islands with a population of over 235,000 students. Over the last 23 years, TMCF has awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity support, and scholarships enabling more than 18,000 students to attend public HBCUs. It is the only national organization of its type that provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation’s public HBCUs. TMCF also provides internship programs and joins corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for undergraduate and professional schools. TMCF is a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization. Please visit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund at  http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org


About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund's (HSF) mission is to strengthen America by advancing the college education of Hispanic Americans. The organization delivers a range of programs to Hispanic families and students through community outreach and education, affordability via scholarships, college retention and career opportunities. HSF supports a successful path for Latinos to attain a college degree - creating an increasingly valuable asset for a stronger, more competitive America in the 21st century.  Celebrating its 35th year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has awarded over $300M, resulting in approximately 100,000 scholarships to students in need. Visit: www.HSF.net.





Samantha Tager, WNBA, (212) 407-8358 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Carmine N. Tiso, NBA, (212) 407-8208 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cortney Silverman, CORBIN-HILLMAN COMMUNICATIONS, (212) 246-3586,    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Joe Gerbino, BACARDI U.S.A., INC., (786) 264-8421 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it