Alumni-owned Atilus Donates Bitcoin to Create Scholarship Fund
Atilus, the Bonita Springs-based web design and internet marketing company owned and operated by two Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) alumni, has created an endowed scholarship fund with the first donation of bitcoin to the university.
Atilus President and CEO Zachary “Zach” Katkin and Director of Operations Harry Casimir created the Atilus Bitcoin Scholarship Fund with a pledge to donate $25,000, half of which is in the form of bitcoin. While the digital currency is increasingly being used to purchase goods and services, the donation to a university is among the first of its kind.
The scholarship will be awarded to rising juniors or seniors with grade point averages of at least 2.75; who demonstrate leadership in student clubs and organizations; have completed, or are enrolled in, a university sanctioned internship by the first day of classes; and who demonstrate financial need.
“Harry and I started our company at FGCU and we both received an education centered on technology,” said Katkin (’07, Liberal Studies). “Atilus owes a lot to the university and we thought the idea of giving back using the future of money – bitcoin – would be the perfect union of philanthropy, technology and our alma mater. Giving back is one thing, but giving back in a meaningful way that furthers the discipline in which one was educated – and helps advance the institution of which many of us at Atilus are the products – is even better!”
Casimir (’05, Computer Information Services) added that he, too, feels fortunate to be able to establish a scholarship at his alma mater at such a young age.
“We have found there are many ways to give back and stay connected to the university,” he said. “One way is to make a multi-year gift, which is what we did, and which quickly adds up.”
Bitcoin is a global decentralized form of digital currency in wide use on the Internet for secure monetary exchanges. It can be exchanged and converted into cash.
“We are proud to accept this generous and innovative donation that will enable future generations of students to gain educations,” said Christopher Simoneau, vice president for Advancement and executive director of the FGCU Foundation. “It is especially rewarding that the gift comes from successful alumni who launched their business while they were still students at FGCU.”
In addition to leading Atilus, Katkin is involved in a variety of community organizations and was named the 2012 Alumnus of Distinction by the FGCU Alumni Association. He is on the board for Voices for Kids and is also active in the FGCU Alumni Association, Literacy Council Gulf Coast and Possible Dreams International, among others.
Casimir, a decorated veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, is also CEO and founder of Dixivox, SA, a company he co-founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It provides voice and short message service solutions in Haiti, where he was born and raised. He currently serves as chairman-elect of the FGCU Alumni Association and is on the board for the Literacy Council Gulf Coast.
Learn more about Atilus and its bitcoin scholarship initiative at www.atilus.com/bitcoin.