The Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is awarding eight new named scholarships for the first time this year. The move brings to 25 the total number of named scholarships—those established in honor or memory of an individual or company—presented each year.

This category of PPEF scholarships offers outstanding students attending a two-year or four-year accredited undergraduate college or university a one-time award of $1,000 toward their education. It is funded at three levels. At the Associate level, the named scholarship is awarded for five consecutive years; at the Colleague level it is awarded for 12 consecutive years, and at the Lifelong Friend level, the scholarship is endowed in perpetuity.

Among the new scholarships is the Lifelong Friend level scholarship in the name of Bill Schmidt, Sr., CEO of Largo, Florida-based supplier Hit Promotional Products, who passed away in April 2016. The scholarship is funded by a personal gift of $50,000 from Schmidt’s wife, Liz, and son, CJ, Hit’s president.

Industry buying group Reciprocity Road has also endowed the Reciprocity Road Roadie Scholarship at the Colleague level, while six Associate level scholarships are new for 2017:

  • Ted E. Dennison, MAS, Scholarship
  • Maureen & Thomas Dugan Scholarship
  • PMANC Campbell M. Brown Memorial Scholarship
  • PPAS Scholarship
  • Jack & Marty Nadel Scholarship
  • Paul E. Smith Scholarship

“Reciprocity is not a usual name for a business enterprise or a scholarship. However, it is fundamental to our members’ beliefs and values,” says Rod Brown, chief financial officer at Reciprocity Road member company MadeToOrder, Inc. “In our formation, Reciprocity Road committed to systemic giving back. We are so proud and excited to work with PPEF and participate in helping to fund education through our Reciprocity Road Roadie Scholarship. We want to both reward students and remind other companies that giving back is good business.”

The Premier Group, an alliance of suppliers and distributors, sponsored the Paul E. Smith Scholarship in honor of one of the group’s founders, who currently serves as the group’s chairman emeritus. Jeff Marks, current chairman of the group, says, “The group has consistently supported the business practices of all members and helped each of us to improve. Paul has been instrumental in all of those years as a supportive supplier member and tireless contributor to the group. It is an honor for the group and its members to support this worthwhile scholarship in Paul’s name.”

Funded by PPAI and donations from the promotional products industry, the PPEF scholarship program enables youth and professionals to continue their education at the collegiate level.

In 2016, PPEF awarded $150,000 in academic scholarships and since its inception in 1989, has awarded more than $1.56 million in financial assistance to 926 recipients. The program will award $175,000 in total scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year. For more on PPEF, click here.