WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The seventh annual ThanksUSA scholarship application season opens on April 1, 2012, giving families of U.S. troops the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. This year's competition boasts more support than ever, thanks to new sponsors and fundraising events.
A charitable effort that mobilizes Americans of all ages to "thank" our active-duty service men and women, ThanksUSA provides scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel across all the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves and the families of the fallen and wounded. Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2012, online at www.ThanksUSA.org.
"We are thrilled to be offering scholarships to university, college, and vocational school students, marking our seventh year in this national campaign to thank our troops by giving the gift of education to their families," said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. "This year we are buoyed by new partners and events, including Hills Brothers Coffee, our Irish-American Awards, a country music benefit concert and the 'Tennis Thanks the Troops' campaign."
- Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes – Hills Bros. Coffee has partnered with ThanksUSA on a nationwide drive to help dozens more applicants win individual scholarship awards of $3,000 each. "Hills Bros. Coffee is proud to support the efforts of ThanksUSA and sponsor 50 scholarships for military families through the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign," said Sarah Mullin, brand manager of Hills Bros. Coffee.
- Irish-American Public Service Awards – ThanksUSA held their inaugural Irish-American Public Service Awards in March, sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The St. Patrick's Day celebrations honored Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Governors Jim McDonnell (R-VA) and Martin O'Malley (D-MD) for their outstanding public service on the national stage and in their respective states and for their dedication to America's service men and women.
- "Tennis Thanks the Troops" – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic (USTA Mid-Atlantic) will jointly champion "Tennis Thanks the Troops" to benefit ThanksUSA. Over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year, tennis enthusiasts will be able to participate in a number of tournaments and activities with a minimum donation of $5. "Tennis pros, players and fans will be giving back to our troops by enjoying the sport they love," said Tim Heckler, CEO of USPTA. "Raising our rackets for our military heroes and their families is our way of showing how much we appreciate their sacrifices both in the world's hot spots and at home." The Bryan Brothers "Tennis Thanks the Troops" PSA will begin running on the Tennis Channel in April.
- Country Music Benefit Concert – The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and ThanksUSA will hold a concert in support of military families to kick off the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April. The concert will feature country music talents Rodney Atkins and a performance by Texas and Nashville singer-songwriter Lucas Hoge.
- Second Year Scholarships – This year marks the second year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens and another generous donation from Kaplan University. "Military families have sacrificed tremendously during the last 10 years, and they ask for little in return," said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University. "These scholarships will help enable them to pursue their educational goals. It's an honor to work with ThanksUSA in providing this opportunity again in 2012."
ThanksUSA was launched by two Virginia girls who wanted to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms. Since its inception in 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit, has provided nearly $7.5 million in scholarship assistance to military families throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.
"The generosity of the American spirit is wonderful. Every year individuals, foundations and our partner corporations make it possible to support our military families who give each of us so much through their selfless service," said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA. "In 2012 we look forward to awarding up to 500 scholarships, totaling $1.5 million."
Continued support for ThanksUSA's education goals comes from donors including the ESA Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Folds of Honor Foundation, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Paladin Capital Group, the Apollo Group, the Rumsfeld Foundation, CSC, Intelligent Decisions, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and others.
For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information visit www.ThanksUSA.org.