In 1998, a young Tampa venture capitalist named John Kirtley discovered the lack of educational options available for low-income children and decided to take matters into his own hands. Kirtley, working with the national Children's Scholarship Fund, created the Children's Scholarship Fund of Tampa Bay to provide privately funded scholarships for low-income children to attend a K-8 school of their choice. In three months, with little publicity, his program received 12,500 applications for 750 scholarships. His passion was born. In 2001, Kirtley took his cause to the Florida Legislature. Lawmakers responded by creating the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, also known as Step Up For Students, for low-income students in grades K-12. The program was set up to give corporations a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for the money they contributed and to give students a scholarship to a qualifying private school or transportation to an out-of-district public school. In the first year, the scholarship limit was set at $3,500 and the program limit at $50-million.