Giving to support innovation

The Luby family aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs

When Joan and Chester Luby moved to Florida in 2005, they wanted to work with a major university in the state to strengthen the future of innovation and entrepreneurship. Through the Joan & Chester Luby Charitable Trust, the couple recently began working with UF Warrington to create the Luby Microgrant Pitch Competition.

The Lubys’ passion for innovation was evident throughout their careers. Chester graduated from the University of Chicago and Yale Law School before spending his career in the automotive industry managing multiple Chevrolet dealerships. He also formed and managed two insurance companies which were created to assist car buyers at their dealerships.

Joan attended NYU and the Pratt Institute. As a professional artist, she expressed her vision through art over the course of her life. Her paintings depict subjects drawn from her love of nature, wildlife and everyday life experiences interpreted with her signature geometric prismatic style. Joan passed away in 2015 after 60 years of marriage to Chester.

The Luby Microgrant Pitch Competition provides $90,000 in microgrants to the top teams. Teams present their business model and make their pitch to judges. The judges pick the top teams in the event, and those teams are rewarded with microgrants to fuel their growth.

“We saw that schools were offering classes and degrees in entrepreneurship, and we knew we wanted to support this endeavor,” Chester said. “I feel strongly that America’s strength comes from innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. We wanted to support this and thus the microgrant competition was created for UF. The dollars from the trust will continue for years to come to fund some of the UF students’ innovative ideas and thus benefiting America.”

Chester reviewed every submitted pitch from the inaugural competition and was impressed with the quality.

“The students’ presentations and ideas showed that the United States will continue to have strength in innovation for years to come,” Chester said. “America’s youth are creative and invested in helping solve America’s problems.”