By Ivonne Yee-Amor
Café Bustelo & Pilon, coffee brands in The J.M. Smucker Co. portfolio, have announced a $1.25 million gift to Florida International University benefiting student scholarships, the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the construction of FIU CasaCuba.
The gift marks a deepening of the relationship between FIU and the brands. Café Bustelo venues on two campuses have served as gathering places for the FIU community for years; in fact, the Café Bustelo location in the Graham Center at MMC is Café Bustelo’s largest retail store in the United States.
Through this new initiative and partnership between the university and Café Bustelo & Pilon, the success of FIU students — and the university’s continuing endeavor to provide innovative programming to meet the demands of the 21st-century workplace — will be the main focus.
A portion of the gift will create the Café Bustelo® El Café Del Futuro Scholarship for students studying hospitality management. Additional support will fund the development of new curricula and master classes at the Chaplin School that examine the coffee industry. Café Bustelo will be recognized as a founding partner of the Chaplin School’s new coffee initiatives and a partner in the school’s ongoing effort to expand food and beverage education that is focused on consumer experience and education, research and sustainability.
“Our curriculum emphasizes giving students real-world experiences that will prepare them for success in diverse areas of the food and beverage industries. We are excited to work with Café Bustelo & Pilon – brands with worldwide recognition that are loved by Miamians – to create new and engaging academic programming centered on the coffee industry,” said Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School.
The gift will support the mission and construction of FIU CasaCuba, the university’s proposed 57,000-square-foot facility to be located on the university’s west Miami-Dade campus, as the center for the celebration and preservation of Cuban culture and the study of Cuban affairs.
“FIU CasaCuba will be a true home for our heritage. Just as Café Bustelo has become a staple in the homes of many Cuban Americans and other South Floridians, it will be a staple at FIU CasaCuba, too. We are grateful Café Bustelo & Pilon have joined our mission as a pillar of FIU CasaCuba,” said María Carla Chicuén, founding executive director of FIU CasaCuba.
In recognition of this gift, FIU has named Café Bustelo a founding sponsor and corporate pillar of FIU CasaCuba in perpetuity.
“We are very excited about this partnership with FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the future FIU CasaCuba, which gives us the opportunity to deepen the connection with the FIU family and the local community,” said Eduardo Merino, senior brand manager, The J.M. Smucker Co. “Giving back to the communities we serve through our support of education initiatives while bringing people together through every cafecito is at the core of our Café Bustelo and Pilon brand identities.”
Café Bustelo & Pilon’s gift benefits FIU’s Next Horizon campaign, which is advancing student success and research excellence at the university.