DAVENPORT -- More than $41,000 in scholarships was awarded to 58 Quad Cities students this year by the League of United Latin American Citizens' Davenport Council 10 and Moline Council 5285.
The Davenport Council of the civil rights group has been providing scholarships to students of all ethnicities since 1978, according to LULAC Davenport Council 10 President Jazmin Newton-Butt. Over the years, they have awarded $535,000 in scholarships.
For the past two years, LULAC Davenport has partnered with LULAC Moline, founded three years ago, for the scholarship program.
"We saw that we got a lot of the same applications," Ms. Newton-Butt said.
Because of the geography of the Quad Cities, she said, they serve the same areas and it made sense for them to work together.
The two LULAC councils created a committee to review the over 70 scholarship applications they received. They evaluated them based on objective categories, like grade point average and ACT scores, as well as subjective categories, like personal essays.
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"It's becoming more competitive," Ms. Newton-Butt said.
She said the scholarship is one of LULAC Davenport's biggest priorities.
"Civil rights isn't our only mission," Ms. Newton-Butt said. "We place probably a greater part of our time raising money for those scholarships."
The organization hosts events every year to raise money for the scholarship program, including bingo nights, a golf outing, the Fiesta Queen competition during VIVA Quad Cities and the East Moline Mexican Independence Parade.
The proceeds from these events are partially matched by the national LULAC organization to fund the scholarship program.
Ms. Newton-Butt said LULAC Davenport often receives cards and letters from scholarship students expressing their thanks. Some of these scholarship winners also join the organization to give back after they graduate college.
Aiding education programs is especially important to LULAC Davenport, according to Ms. Newton-Butt. She said this year they will also be giving Monroe and Jefferson Elementary Schools, in Davenport, $500 each to help the schools.
Last year, the organization gave these schools the money needed to repair musical instruments.
"We try to help the community that we're a part of," Ms. Newton-Butt said. "Each year we find some way to contribute in one way or another."