FAIRBANKS - The Doyon Foundation has awarded almost $377,000 in scholarships to 320 Alaska Native students attending universities across the country.
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This year marked a doubling in the dollar amount of noncompetitive scholarships awarded by the foundation, the nonprofit arm of Doyon Ltd.
The recipients are Doyon enrollees or children of original enrollees.
"Doyon Foundation is investing in you and your goals and your education," past scholarship recipient Tracy Snow told the students during a reception in Fairbanks Friday. "But congratulations to you for investing in yourself, investing in your dreams, investing in your goals."
Among the recipients, 228 are full-time students receiving $800 each and 40 are part-time students receiving $400.
Sharon McConnell Gillis, executive director of the foundation, said the board of directors decided to increase the amount of the individual awards after visiting villages around the region and talking to shareholders about how the foundation could better serve students.
"Tuition keeps rising and we hadn't increased our scholarships in five years, so we thought the time was right to do that," she said.
Also among recipients were 52 students awarded a total of $178,532 in competitive scholarships, with the amounts ranging from $2,000 to $7,000.
Foundation scholarships are funded by corporate donors, including Doyon Ltd. Last year, the foundation also received money from 72 individuals who pledged money for the scholarship programs. The foundation also holds fundraisers.
Doyon Ltd. Chairwoman Georgianna Lincoln said she hopes the scholarship recipients will bring their expertise back to the Doyon region to help solve many of the issues affecting the Native community, such as health care, engineering, forestry management and crime.
"It goes on and on, the needs that we have that you are going to be participating in in the future, if you aren't already," she told the students. "We can't forget who we are and where we come from."