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Our History

There has been a long history of Sisters High School graduates receiving financial assistance for educational pursuits from local individuals, companies, and organizations. Eventually, the number of scholarships offered began to outstrip the Sisters School District’s ability to adequately administer the scholarship process. In 2006, a handful of community members recognized a need and began supporting Sisters High School graduates with post-secondary education and vocational training.

 

In 2008 this group of individuals, in concert with the school district and Sisters High School, proposed the need for an independent organization with the sole purpose of managing the selection process and the collection, disbursement, and accounting of scholarship funds. On November 10, 2008, eight co-founders established Sisters GRO, acquiring the IRS non-profit status, 501 (c)(3). It was at that point that Sisters Graduate Resource Organization stepped up to offer administrative assistance to those donors desiring help with awarding scholarships. The organization became the only nonprofit in the community focused solely on the development of financial support for higher education for Sisters High School graduates.

 

Sisters GRO is proud of having accomplished the following:

  • Disbursement of over 1,200 local scholarship awards and over $1,750,000 in student financial aid (as of 2021).

  • Implementation of an online application process to increase access and efficiency of the program (2020).

  • Hiring of a part-time Program Director to ensure sustainability of the program for years to come (2020).

  • Maintaining a fair, streamlined, scholarship application review and selection process meeting IRS requirements.

  • Instituting the Spread Process option for donors to fairly distribute scholarship awards to more applicants (2013).

  • Developing lasting relationships with existing and new donors to help them support our graduates in pursuing higher education and training.

  • Fundraising to establish a scholarship endowment fund - Sisters GRO Endowment for Dreams - developed with the Oregon Community Foundation (2011).

  • Annual coordination of the Senior Celebration, where scholarship awards are presented and every senior applicant is individually recognized.