In 2010 the foundation awarded scholarships to 161 students with $121,000 in scholarships for higher education, and since 1982, the foundation has helped more than 3,000 students across Bartow County attend college by awarding more than $3 million in scholarships.
Paige Miller, executive director of the foundation, said the increase in scholarship funding this year comes in part from a dedicated staff and board.
"I think there's a number of contributing factors [to increased funding]," Miller said. "One, we had extremely successful fundraisers in 2010 that go toward our scholarships. ... We've increased profits for [scholarships] about 200 percent, so that's quite an increase."
She added, "I think what it comes down to, it's more communication, more positive marketing about the foundation that people in the community see that they can help and get on board with a very positive message -- that is, to support education now so students can go out in the world, learn it's skills and experiences, and then come back to make Bartow County a better place."
Miller said what sets the organization apart is that the donors themselves set the criteria for the scholarship, which can range from academic status to community service. She said this creates long-term relationships between students and the community beyond what has already been established by the local school systems.
Looking forward to next year's 30th anniversary, Miller said the foundation hopes to increase it's amount of scholarships as well as include former recipients in the foundation's goals.
"We're looking to add 30 new scholarships for next year and we're also trying to make an alumni foundation from that," Miller said, "so we're definitely looking for alumni that have received scholarships from [the foundation]."
Miller said scholarships are often sponsored by community leaders, organizations and individuals, and are often made "in the memory of" another individual.