Jul 20, 2020
Tree fruit industry scholarship luncheons replaced with student celebration film

In years past, the Washington Apple Education Foundation would be gathering together scholarship recipients, their parents and donors for two annual scholarship celebration luncheon events held in late July in Yakima and Wenatchee.  With the restrictions on group gatherings, this year the foundation gathered videos from students instead.  These videos were pulled together in a six-minute celebration film honoring the recipients.  The film released on social media today.

The Scholarship Celebration Film titled “Celebrating Our Future,” is on the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) website, www.waef.org, on its Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn pages and can also be accessed by texting the word “Apple” to 56512. Students share what obtaining a college degree means to them and express appreciation for the support they receive. 

“A couple of months ago it became clear that we would not be gathering 1000+ students, parents, donors and volunteers together for our annual celebration luncheons,” shared WAEF chairman Chris Willett.  He adds, “At that time, this idea was launched as a way an even larger group of people could enjoy the happiness we each feel when attending the luncheon.  I suppose it’s a bit of silver lining though we do plan to return to the in-person celebration next year.”

WAEF chairman Chris Willett is vice-president growing and sales operations for North America for T&G Global, the promoters of Envy, Jazz and Pacific Rose apples.

The traditional annual events are important fundraisers for WAEF, in addition to recognizing students and scholarship donors.  This year, the foundation has provided a Text to Give option for those that want to support student success.  By texting the word “Apple” to the number 56512, those interested in donating to WAEF are taken to a website where contributions can be made and/or the film can be viewed.

Funds raised through these annual events support student success at college.  It is the goal of the foundation that their scholarship recipients not just enroll in college but that they graduate on-time and prepared to launch their careers.  To that end, throughout the year WAEF hosts career development workshops, provides care packages, organizes campus and regional networking events, and cultivates a supportive student community.  These activities happen with the assistance of about 200 volunteers from the tree fruit industry and fruit growing communities.

The Scholarship Celebration Luncheons are presented by Northwest Farm Credit Services.  Additionally, sponsorship support this year came from AgroFresh, Alegria & Company, Allan Brothers, Chelan Fresh, CliftonLarsonAllen, CMI Orchards, Columbia Valley Fruit, Conover Insurance, Cowiche Growers, CPC International Apple Company, Crunch Pak, Gilbert Orchards Inc., Good Fruit Grower, GS Long, Heritage University, Homchick Smith & Associates, HR Spinner Corporation, Kershaw Companies, Key Bank, Legacy Fruit, Matson Fruit, McDougall & Sons, Moss Adams LLP, North Cascades Bank, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Orchard-Rite, PayneWest Insurance, Sage Fruit, T&G Global, Tree Top, USI, Valley Tractor & Equipment, Washington Fruit & Produce, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, Yakima Pomological Club and Yakima Valley Community Foundation. All sponsors stayed on board with their support of WAEF even though the traditional in-person events were not able to occur.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) is the charity of Washington’s tree fruit industry.  WAEF supports over 300 students annually with scholarship support in excess of $1 million.  Funds for the scholarships are raised through annual donations from fruit growers, packers, suppliers and interested community members.  For more information on WAEF, visit their website, www.waef.org, or contact the foundation’s office at (509) 663-7713.

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