St. Petersburg, Fl – Some of the most influential women in the Tampa Bay area have something in common —they’re members of the same group. The USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy or USF WLP was formed 11 years ago, to help support female students and also faculty members. The group, with 250 members, raises money for scholarships and research grants.

“We’re very proud,” says USF WLP Executive Director India Witte. “We’re able to leverage all or our collective philanthropy and leadership strengths to help hundreds of students within the USF system.”

Oreonnia Vil is a scholarship recipient. The 20-year-old sophomore is the first in her family to attend college. Vil says while the scholarship is helping her achieve her nursing degree goals, the support she receives from WLP members is just as important.

“To have a group of successful women see my determination and everything that I’m capable of doing—maybe even before I can see it in myself—means more than anything and is just a blessing,” Vil says. “When I leave any informational meeting or event that we have…I leave so empowered and encouraged.”

On Thursday, October 6 USF WLP holds a major fundraiser in Tampa. The symposium and luncheon featuring keynote speaker journalist Claire Shipman is sold out, but the group is always looking for more people to participate. For more information on USF WLP click here.