AAUW Sheboygan Branch Scholarship Foundation History

Shortly after Sheboygan Branch of the A.A.U.W. (AAUW Sheboygan) was founded on June 20, 1923, the Branch led the fight against illiteracy in Sheboygan and pushed for vocational and college guidance in high school. From 1925-1935, the Branch gave scholarship pins/medals to outstanding high school girls and, until the early ‘50s, sponsored teas to counsel them on college and careers. In 1926 a $250 contribution launched the Branch Loan Fund for College Women, which continued until 1967. 

Over the years – especially from 1943-1955 – World War II’s eventual end and its aftermath resulted in societal changes that affected the status of women. Beginning in the mid-1960s when “baby boomers” came of age, more women were graduating with a college education; for example, in 1967-68 the Branch membership directory listed 232 members, and by 1980-81 there were 308. National bylaws were eventually amended to accept two-year degree recipients for full membership.

The Sheboygan Branch developed a local scholarship award to support nontraditional students (someone who does not go directly to college from high school) in their educational journey. In 1990, the Branch’s first scholarship of $500 was awarded. By 2000 the award was $1,200, and by 2010 the award was increased to $1,500. In 2020 the award was $2,500 due to a combination of ongoing contributions, wise investments, Branch fund-raising activities and bequests from members. In 2022 the Branch’s 44th scholarship award was raised to $3,000.

In March of 2005, the Local Scholarship reorganized and became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization; the Scholarship Committee’s work would be done by the officers of the new Scholarship Foundation. The Branch’s Board of Directors and those of the Scholarship Foundation would be separate yet inter-related, with the Branch Financial VP and President as members of the Scholarship Foundation Board. 

Over the past 33 years, 44 scholarships totaling $62,100 were awarded to nontraditional area students. (This total will increase annually.)