$1 million in scholarships this year?

Several items were on the agenda for last week's Washington Apple Education Foundation board of directors meeting but the item that continues to capture directors is the push to award $1 million in scholarships.

Though all can agree $1 million is just another number and the important part of the goal is supporting student access and success at college, reaching $1 million will be an exciting milestone the entire industry can take pride in.  Directors discussed who might care about reaching $1 million in awarded scholarships and how we might get there.

Growth areas:

  • Vocational/technical scholarships - This has been of high priority the past year. We are thrilled to see applications coming in from qualified students pursuing a vocational education aligned with work in the tree fruit industry. Individuals and employers interested in growing the talent pool may have interest in supporting this fund.
  • Legacy giving - Several industry leaders and families currently have scholarships at WAEF but potential exists for others to join them. Individuals may see this as a way to continue their life long impacts.
  • Employee outreach - Increase on-the-ground training for employees in warehouses and on orchards about scholarships for their children sponsored by their employer.   Materials and training for supervisors will also be provided so they may better understanding scholarship opportunities. Stronger outreach and education will help increase number of current scholarships offered be awarded.

New Staff

Jillian Rice and Megan Kovanen were introduced to the board of directors. Jillian Rice was hired as WAEF's full-time administrative assistant. Jillian has broad responsibilities from bookkeeping to social media. Megan Kovanen was hired as a part-time resource development coordinator. Megan's primary focus is maximizing financial and mission impact from our annual fundraisers and promotions. With the addition of Jillian and Megan, WAEF currently has four employees. Jose Hernandez has been with WAEF for over a year and focuses on the scholarship program and student support. Jennifer Witherbee is the foundation's executive director.

Board Member Elections

Larry Martin from Halverson NW was elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors. Larry is a long-time volunteer with the foundation serving for several years on the scholarship selection committee and currently on the student stewardship and strategic planning committees. He was nominated by WAEF officers and was elected with unanimous support.

2015 In Review

  • 225 students shared in $857,000 in scholarships
  • 100 students received renewable scholarships (up from 65 in 2014)
  • New student orientation was offered for the first time to help new WAEF students get the most from their WAEF scholarships
  • Parent outreach was offered including translation services as the annual luncheons
  • Two career tours were offered to students with 16 students attending
  • An intern/summer employment panel was sponsored at the WSTFA annual meeting and materials were created to help employers create internships
  • HR professionals were recruited to work directly with students on their resumes
  • Scholarship training was provided to 3900 students this year from 39 high schools, two community colleges, one trade college and four warehouses
  • WAEF hosted a forum at CWU to pull together ESL providers targeting farmworkers with a design to increase effectiveness through shared experiences
  • 150 volunteers assisted in the work of WAEF. Kershaw Companies and Mallory Shindler were honored as volunteer group and individual of the year
  • WAEF volunteers were taken on tours at Heritage University and Perry Tech to learn about some of our local education partners
  • New members Ben Jensen (Orchard Rite), Bob Mast (CMI) and Andrew Sundquist (Sundquist Fruit) joined the board of directors
  • WAEF launched its Alumni Association in September to provide former students with an avenue to support future students
  • Good Fruit Grower is providing ad space to WAEF monthly
  • Nearly 2000 members are on the WAEF Weekly email list
  • An increase in financial support for activities Beyond the Scholarship supporting successful degree attainment and career prep for scholarship recipients continued

Personal Goal Setting

Directors took time to review their individual WAEF goals established in 2015 and set expectations for themselves in 2016 in the areas of personal giving, donor stewardship, networking, donor development and activity involvement.

Thank you to our dedicated chairman Rachel Sullivan for leading the meeting and directors for full providing valuable insight and direction!