Germantown - As post secondary education has a rising price tag, every little bit can help.
A group in Germantown has been supporting its high school students in their educational endeavors for the past three decades.
The Germantown Scholarship Fund organization works tirelessly all year raising funds for Germantown students' educational careers post-high school. The fundraising for the 2013-14 school year culminated last week with the grand finale: a sold out dinner and auction that typically raises between $50,000 to $60,000, GSF President Deb Stresing said.
"Despite the storm, it was a total success," she said.
Thanks to dedicated volunteers and a supportive community, the nonprofit organization will hand out between 75 to 80 scholarships in spring.
Germantown public, private and home-school students can now apply for a scholarship. Applications are available at germantownscholarship.org. In March, the recipients will be announced.
"The Germantown Community Scholarship Fund excels at providing a wide range of post secondary educational opportunities to students," Germantown School District Superintendent Susan Borden said. "Their endowment continues to grow because of their strong focus on students - like our mission, that focus on students is vital to success."
Paying it forward
Vice President of Helsan Development in Germantown Jennifer Miller was a scholarship recipient, who went on to find success after attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Any scholarship makes a difference in your future," Miller said. "I was very thankful to get a scholarship, plus it's meaningful because it's from an organization in an area where you grew up and they are supporting you and investing in your future."
After graduating from college, Miller paid it forward, serving on the GSF board of directors for 10 years. She acted as president from 2002-2004.
"It's always been a very well supported organization and even more as the time has gone by. They've done a great job in continuing to grow the auction and raise more money and work on their endowment," Miller said. "They are a great organization and they really care about the kids."
Continuing a strong tradition
GSF started in 1981 by the Germantown Rotary Club, which donated $10,000 to begin the trust fund. The first auction was held in 1986.
Since its inception, the organization has awarded more than $1.95 million in scholarships to 2,010 students, naming up to 80 recipients each year.
"Back then it wasn't anywhere near 80 scholarships," Stresing said.
A $200,000 donation in 1990 from the Germantown Volunteer Fire Company greatly increased the trust fund. Not only is GSF able to provide students with money for education, they are now able to offer five grants to Germantown School District teachers to help them enhance learning in the classroom, Stresing said.
All of the work GSF is able to do, she said, is because of the Germantown community.
"It's the tremendous community support we've received, all of our donors, all of our auction attendees, it's a beautiful relationship with the school system - it's a combination of all of it," Stresing said.
To donate to the organization, visit the GSF website.
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