Our History

There has been a long history of Sisters High School graduates receiving educational scholarships by local philanthropic and service 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, the then superintendent of schools, Elaine Drakulich, realized the need for an organization with the sole purpose of managing the selection process and the collecting, disbursing, and accounting for 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 1,100 local scholarships (as of 2021)

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

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

  • Instating 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—the 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 (in attendance) is individually recognized.