April 23, 2024

Press Release

Tampa Bay Hospitality Organizations Offer Scholarships, Financial Resources to Cultivate Future Industry Leaders

| 9/19/2022

Tampa, FL (Sept. 19, 2022) - A hotel developer headquartered in Tampa whose properties are located throughout the Southeastern U.S., has partnered with local hospitality industry leaders to cover college tuition and provide financial support for qualified students committed to careers in the travel industry.

Officials with Impact Properties and its affiliated non-profit organization, the Kanji Family Foundation, the Hillsborough County Hotel Motel Association (HCHMA), the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association - Pinellas Chapter and the Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance have announced two new scholarships that will be awarded at ExTravelganza, a major hospitality industry event held in October.

One scholarship marks an on-going commitment to honoring a longtime hotel general manager, hospitality industry advocate and community volunteer, the late Ron Alicandro. Alicandro, whose experience included serving as GM at the Westin Tampa Bay and Embassy Suites Westshore, will continue to be recognized with the Ron Alicandro Hospitality Management Scholarship that pays the full two-year tuition for a student enrolled in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at the Dale Mabry campus of Hillsborough Community College. The Kanji Family Foundation will now provide on-going support for a scholarship previously established in Alicandro’s name.

“My goal, moving forward, is to grow this scholarship program every year with additional scholarships and getting more hoteliers involved,” said Dilip Kanji, Managing Member of the Kanji Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to “improving the lives of our most under-served populations.” In addition to offsetting educational expenses for students, the Ron Alicandro Hospitality Management Scholarship gives back to the industry, the organizations and the community that its namesake championed, he added.

“The late Ron Alicandro, for over two decades, was a leader of distinction within the HCHMA and Tampa Bay’s hospitality industry. As a former HCHMA President and long-standing Board member, Ron certainly filled the role of  ‘servant – leader,’ often participating behind the scenes without fanfare or profile. I and the HCHMA leadership are so appreciative of the Kanji Family Foundation joining the Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance to honor Ron’s service through this scholarship underwriting,” said Bob Morrison, HCHMA Executive Director.

The Kanji Foundation has also become a funding partner for a new initiative created by the Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance. “The Best of the Best” scholarship award provides additional financial support to students participating in the long established scholarship program supported by the annual ExTravelganza travel auction.

This year marks the 30th anniversary since the first Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance scholarships were awarded. This milestone achievement has generated more than $2 million in tuition funds for deserving students pursuing careers in hospitality and culinary studies at Florida campuses. 

The “Best of the Best” scholarship award represents a special bonus payment of $1,000 per year for three years to “the most outstanding student among the current year’s Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance scholarship recipients.” According to the criteria, a student “must demonstrate either outstanding academic achievement and/or personal circumstances that reflect unique personal factors which were overcome to meet the Alliance’s Scholarship Criteria.”

Information about scholarship opportunities and criteria is available at https://www.extravelganza.org/scholarship-opportunities.html or contact the Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance at 813-810-1641 or email SLewis@hcma.org.

Funds for Tampa Bay Hospitality Alliance scholarships are raised at ExTravelganza which hosts “Tampa Bay’s Premier Travel/Sports Auction.” Attendees are able to bid on premier travel packages, sports memorabilia, hotel stays at popular vacation destinations and more during silent and live auction events.

ExTravelganza will be held at the Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach on Friday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $75 per person and include food, wine and spirit tastings. For information about sponsorships, to donate auction items or to purchase tickets, go to https://www.extravelganza.org, call 727-642-3404 or email Dannette@FRLA.org.


The Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association is a membership-based organization comprised of local hotels, motels and resorts, industry partners and affiliated businesses that collectively contribute to Tampa Bay’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. For more information, go to hchma.org.

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