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ThanksUSA Scholarship Application Season Opens for 2013: Hundreds to be Awarded 

Children and spouses of U.S. troops are invited to apply for ThanksUSA scholarships beginning April 1, 2013.  The organization’s eighth annual application season helps military families pursue a university, college or post-secondary vocational education.

“These scholarships reflect Americans’ gratitude for the commitment and sacrifices of our military men and women and their families,” said ThanksUSA CEO and Chairman Bob Okun.  “The gift of education is our way of saying thanks for their service.”

ThanksUSA provides need-based scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty personnel across all the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, as well as families of the fallen and wounded.  Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2013 online at www.ThanksUSA.org.

ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships so far and expects to exceed 3,000 scholarships by the end of 2013.

“In past years, we’ve received thousands of requests during the six-week application period –  a clear indication of the support our military families need,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork.  “We expect an equally strong response in 2013. Our aim is to benefit 500 new recipients who most need and deserve the opportunity to transform their lives, but lack the resources to do so.”

The 500 ThanksUSA scholarships are valued at $1.5 million in total and are made possible by continuing campaigns and events.

  • Tennis Thanks the Troops – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is championing this campaign for a second year, calling on its members, pros and tennis enthusiasts to participate in tournaments, raffles and other activities to benefit ThanksUSA starting Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year.
  • Stevens Commemorative Scholarships – 2013 marks the third year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens.  An additional 40 scholarships are expected to be announced at a special event honoring the late Senator and other Congressional World War II veterans.
  • Kaplan University Support – Also entering its third year as a ThanksUSA partner is Washington-based Kaplan University. Kaplan University provides a full scholarship to attend the school as well as a number of partial scholarships to cover 55 percent of tuition costs.  “Kaplan University is once again pleased to participate with ThanksUSA and to offer scholarship opportunities to our military families,” said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University.
  • Jackson Casey Scholarship Fund –In partnership with ThanksUSA, the Fund, whose mission is to keep the memory and spirit of Jackson Casey alive throughout the community, was created to provide need-based scholarships to the children of active-duty military from Virginia with an emphasis on Northern Virginia. Through donations and the annual Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament, the Fund raised more than $200,000 in 2012. For the 2012-2013 school year, 15 scholarships totaling $45,000 were awarded in Jackson Casey’s name.

Support for ThanksUSA’s education goals also comes from donors including Altria, Apex, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, ESA Foundation, Folds of Honor Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Intelligent Decisions, Lockheed Martin, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Paladin Capital Group, Pershing Square Foundation and others.

ThanksUSA was the idea of two Virginia sisters, Rachel and Kelsi Okun, who were compelled to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms.  Since 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit has provided nearly $8.5 million in academic scholarship assistance to US military families throughout all 50 states, and all branches of service, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.

For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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About ThanksUSA

Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, please visit http://www.ThanksUSA.org.

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American Tennis Rallies for Military Families With ThanksUSA

Lisa Raymond (photo by ©Michael Baz, Australian Open)

Washington, DC, May 9, 2012 – ThanksUSA today announced that Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) No. 1 Doubles Player and US Open Doubles Champion Lisa Raymond will serve as a national spokesperson for the charity, which aims to thank America’s troops through the gift of education. Ms. Raymond is partnering with Men’s Doubles Champions Bob and Mike Bryan to team with tennis clubs, professionals, players and fans around the world to help provide ThanksUSA scholarships to military families.

“I am honored to become a spokesperson for ThanksUSA,” said Ms. Raymond. “These scholarships open up limitless opportunities to the spouses and children of our troops. I encourage everyone to give back to our future heroes.”

The Bryan brothers also produced a public service announcement for ThanksUSA that is being featured on the Tennis Channel and on TV stations in major markets.

The new nationwide Tennis Thanks The Troops campaign launched this month in honor of Military Appreciation Month. The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is leading the effort with ThanksUSA, with support from the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic (MAS) through their tournaments.

“We are proud to be a part of a program that allows our members the chance to give back to those who are serving our country and their families through the invaluable opportunity of education,” said USPTA CEO Tim Heckler.

“United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic strongly supports the efforts of ThanksUSA in providing the gift of education to our military families,” said Rod Dulany, MAS executive director. “Through ThanksUSA, the MAS Clubs are giving back to the troops that support us. I hope everyone joins us in this worthwhile project.”

Tennis facilities are holding ThanksUSA tournaments, sports clinics, auctions and other fundraising events, with a special focus on Memorial Day, to raise money in support of the ThanksUSA mission to provide need-based scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty men and women across all the U.S. Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves.

“Our goal is to give the gift of education to those who sacrifice so much for every American – our military families,” said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. “Tennis enthusiasts are raising their racquets to show how much they appreciate the men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms.”

For more information, visit www.ThanksUSA.org

About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides needs-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

About the USPTA
Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers 70 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development. With more than 300 days of educational opportunities throughout the year, USPTA offers the most comprehensive continuing education program in the tennis industry. For more information, call 800-877-8248 or visit www.uspta.com.

About USTA Mid-Atlantic

The USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section, one of 17 sections of the United States Tennis Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting tennis by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. Mid-Atlantic has been part of the official governing body for tennis in America since 1923. We serve more than 40,000 members in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and eastern and southern West Virginia. Tennis players of all ages and skill levels are involved in leagues, tournaments and programs sanctioned by the section.

About Lisa Raymond (@lisaraymond73)

A native of Wayne, Pa., Raymond is currently ranked No. 1 in doubles on the WTA Tour alongside her doubles partner and fellow American, Liezel Huber. Throughout her professional career of 19 years, Raymond has won 78 women’s doubles events and six major championships. Raymond is the oldest woman ever to win a Grand Slam women’s’ doubles title, winning the 2011 US Open with Huber at age 38 (previous oldest was a 36-year-old Billie Jean King).


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Hundreds of Military Children and Spouses to Receive College Scholarships
in ThanksUSA’s Seventh National Competition

Washington, DC, March 30, 2012 – The seventh annual ThanksUSA scholarship application season opens on April 1, 2012, giving families of U.S. troops the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. This year’s competition boasts more support than ever, thanks to new sponsors and fundraising events.

A charitable effort that mobilizes Americans of all ages to “thank” our active-duty service men and women, ThanksUSA provides scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel across all the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves and the families of the fallen and wounded. Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2012, online at www.ThanksUSA.org.

“We are thrilled to be offering scholarships to university, college, and vocational school students, marking our seventh year in this national campaign to thank our troops by giving the gift of education to their families,” said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. “This year we are buoyed by new partners and events, including Hills Brothers Coffee, our Irish-American Awards, a country music benefit concert and the ‘Tennis Thanks the Troops’ campaign.”

Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes – Hills Bros. Coffee has partnered with ThanksUSA on a nationwide drive to help dozens more applicants win individual scholarship awards of $3,000 each. “Hills Bros. Coffee is proud to support the efforts of ThanksUSA and sponsor 50 scholarships for military families through the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign,” said Sarah Mullin, brand manager of Hills Bros. Coffee.

Irish-American Public Service Awards – ThanksUSA held their inaugural Irish-American Public Service Awards in March, sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations honored Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Governors Jim McDonnell (R-VA) and Martin O’Malley (D-MD) for their outstanding public service on the national stage and in their respective states and for their dedication to America’s service men and women.

• “Tennis Thanks the Troops” – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic (USTA Mid-Atlantic) will jointly champion “Tennis Thanks the Troops” to benefit ThanksUSA. Over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year, tennis enthusiasts will be able to participate in a number of tournaments and activities with a minimum donation of $5. “Tennis pros, players and fans will be giving back to our troops by enjoying the sport they love,” said Tim Heckler, CEO of USPTA. “Raising our rackets for our military heroes and their families is our way of showing how much we appreciate their sacrifices both in the world’s hot spots and at home.” The Bryan Brothers “Tennis Thanks the Troops” PSA will begin running on the Tennis Channel in April.

Country Music Benefit Concert – The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and ThanksUSA will hold a concert in support of military families to kick off the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April. The concert will feature country music talents Rodney Atkins and a performance by Texas and Nashville singer-songwriter Lucas Hoge.

Second Year Scholarships – This year marks the second year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens and another generous donation from Kaplan University. “Military families have sacrificed tremendously during the last 10 years, and they ask for little in return,” said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University. “These scholarships will help enable them to pursue their educational goals. It’s an honor to work with ThanksUSA in providing this opportunity again in 2012.”

ThanksUSA was launched by two Virginia girls who wanted to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms. Since its inception in 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit, has provided nearly $7.5 million in scholarship assistance to military families throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.

“The generosity of the American spirit is wonderful. Every year individuals, foundations and our partner corporations make it possible to support our military families who give each of us so much through their selfless service,” said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA. “In 2012 we look forward to awarding up to 500 scholarships, totaling $1.5 million.”

Continued support for ThanksUSA’s education goals comes from donors including the ESA Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Folds of Honor Foundation, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Paladin Capital Group, the Apollo Group, the Rumsfeld Foundation, CSC, Intelligent Decisions, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and others.

For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information visit http://www.ThanksUSA.org.

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