The holiday season is about more than Santa Claus, Christmas parties and eggnog; it's about giving back. The Gemperle Family has announced the new Gemperle Family Farms Scholarship Fund to help fund higher education for children and grandchildren of Gemperle Farms employees.

"Helping our employees send their kids to college is one of the greatest gifts of gratitude we can give to those who have helped make our company successful," Gemperle Family Farms President Steve Gemperle said. "When you change someone's life with education, you have an impact for generations to come."

The company recognizes the vital need for higher education in local Stanislaus County, where only 16 percent of adults over 25 have a college degree while the remainder of California averages around 32 percent. The company feels a responsibility to help resolve this discrepancy and has pledged up to $10,000 in scholarship funds in 2016.

"We are hoping our scholarship program can serve as a model for other medium-sized companies in Stanislaus County. A lot of work needs to be done to help bridge the gap between Stanislaus County and the rest of the state," Gemperle stressed. "We hope other businesses will partner with the Stanislaus Community Foundation to help families with limited financial means afford higher education."

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Awards for scholarship will range from $1,000 to $3,000 per year and are available to all current employees who have been employed for a minimum of three continuous years. The applicant must attend an accredited two or four-year college or university, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and maintain a continuous, full-time enrollment of at least 12 units per semester.

"The majority of our employees have been with us for over five years. While we already offer a generous employment package with paid vacation and holidays, health insurance and a profit-sharing and pension plan for retirement, we knew we could do more," Gemperle explained. 

To find out more information or to submit an application, please visit www.StanislausCF.org. The Stanislaus Community Foundation Scholarship Committee, an independent community and volunteer organization, will review and select the final applicants. Finalists will be selected based on financial need, academic merit and personal statement.