As of Oct. 1, Fillmore Central Dollars for Scholars has a new name - Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation.

The local scholarship committee was recently informed that the annual fee to be affiliated with Scholarship America would be raised. The committee has always felt there should be no administrative costs and all locally contributed dollars should go directly to students. Therefore, they have officially disaffiliated from Scholarship America.

All assets of the former Fillmore Central Dollars for Scholars are being transferred to a designated education fund operating under the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). The new affiliation with SMIF will afford many benefits, the main one being that local dollars will grow along with the successful investments of this larger organization. As a designated fund under SMIF, the Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation legally maintains its tax exempt 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Service Code.

The purpose of the Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation remains the same - to provide scholarships to graduates of Fillmore Central High School in pursuit of higher education. The application process will remain the same. Application forms are available at the Fillmore Central High School guidance office. The local selection process and committee will remain the same.

Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation's mission is to provide scholarships to graduates of Fillmore Central in pursuit of higher education. Contributions of cash and/or gifts of commodities (grain) are being requested. Cash contributions can be sent to Joyce Hellickson, Treasurer, 23997 County 14, Preston, MN 55965.

The Gift of Grain Authorization enables farmers to deliver donated grain to local elevators which will then be sold for the benefit of the FC Scholarship Foundation.

A donation of grain may provide significant tax savings over giving cash. By contributing crops to the Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation, the farmer avoids including the sale of the cash crop in his or her income, which results in the potential savings in self-employment tax, federal income tax and some state income tax. The farmer may still deduct the cost of growing the crop.

The process is simple: When delivering the donated grain to the local elevator for sale, the farmer would fill out an "Authorization of Disbursement of Grain Funds" form, which authorizes the elevator to record the amount of bushels to the account of the Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation. For more information, call Vicky Tribon, Board Chair, at (507) 886-1970.

The new Fillmore Central Scholarship Foundation will continue to distribute scholarships to deserving local graduates, just as the committee has done for the past 26 consecutive years. To date, 184 scholarships have been awarded, totaling $77,750.