A Week for ABAC Scheduled February 18-25
TIFTON—In the 50th version of the annual scholarship fundraiser called Dollars for Scholars and An Evening for ABAC, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is traveling a different path in A Week for ABAC on Feb. 18-25.
“This year, since we cannot safely schedule an in-person event, we will be hosting a week-long electronic auction and donation appeal to support funding for ABAC student scholarships,” Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones, who coordinates the event for the ABAC Foundation, said.
“There will be a week’s worth of online activities and articles released during February 18-25 surrounding the auction and donation drive. Since COVID has had such a tremendous impact on parents’ ability to do normal business, scholarships are more important than ever to ensure students can pursue their academic dreams and prepare for their careers.”
ABAC Chief Development Officer Deidre Martin said one focal point of A Week for ABAC will be ABAC’s 113th birthday on Feb. 20.
“Through this virtual event, we will celebrate ABAC’s birthday and the funds raised from sponsorships will go directly to support student scholarships,” Martin said. “Sponsors will be prominently featured through our website and social media efforts and will receive an ‘ABAC Birthday in a Box’ filled with treats and ABAC gifts delivered prior to the week for their own celebration at home.”
Martin said sponsorship opportunities for the special week in the history of ABAC are still available by contacting her at (229) 391-4907 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorships so far are led by the Bostelman Family at the $20,000 Summa Cum Laude level.
Southwell/Tift Regional Health System and Colquitt Regional Medical Center are at the Magna Cum Laude $15,000 level, and President’s list sponsors at the $5,000 level include Sodexo, Allstate Construction Group, Synovus/Synovus Trust, and Georgia Farm Bureau.
Dean’s List sponsors at the $2,500 level include McLendon Acres, Ardry Trading Company/James Holcomb, Julie Hunt, PCOM South Georgia, South Georgia Banking Company, Georgia Power Company, and Robert and Barbara McLendon.
Friend of ABAC sponsors at the $1,600 level include Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Perry, Barber Contracting, the firm of Moore, Clark, DuVall, and Rodgers, Dixon Gin-Jaclyn Ford, Michelle Higdon, and William and Kelly Bowen. Other donations include the Georgia Cotton Commission at $1,500 and in-kind donations from WALB-TV and Georgia Crown Distributing Company.
“In the run up to the events of the week, sponsors are being very generous about continuing their contributions despite the fact that they will not be gathering for the in-person event they’ve helped support since 1972,” Jones said. “It is our hope that everyone will join us for these online events, and even more so, participate in the auction and donation appeal.”
Jones said An Evening for ABAC in 2020 generated a record response when the event raised $125,189 which resulted in 50 ABAC student scholarships.
Community support has been ongoing since 1972 when the ABAC Foundation sponsored a fundraiser featuring Anita Bryant to complete the funding for the Chapel of All Faiths. The banquet attracted 426 patrons and netted $22,612. In 1973, Eddie Arnold came to town for another ABAC Foundation-sponsored event, and the legendary program called Dollars for Scholars was born.
Dollars for Scholars became the social event of the year in Tift County with entertainers such as Ray Stevens, Louise Mandrell, Debbie Reynolds, Kathy Mattea, Marie Osmond, Helen Reddy, Lee Greenwood, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan, and the Temptations.
Trisha Yearwood attracted the largest crowd for Dollars for Scholars in 2006 when over 1,800 patrons attended her show. The ABAC Foundation changed the name of the event to An Evening for ABAC in 2008 and focused its efforts entirely on raising funds for scholarships.
Jodie Snow, an ABAC alumnus who was a scholarship recipient when she was a student, is now the ABAC Foundation’s chief operating officer. She knows how vital that scholarship support is to the students.
“The debt assumed by many students is staggering,” Snow said. “If ABAC students are to leave school with a minimum debt load, most will require financial assistance. The advancement office and the Foundation are crucial to maintaining affordability for an ABAC student’s education and allowing them to graduate with minimum debt.”
Martin echoed those sentiments.
“The times we are living in require resilience and creativity,” Martin said. “Our approach to A Week for ABAC this year will demonstrate both. Now more than ever, scholarship support is critically important to our students and their families.”
Interested persons can discover more information on A Week for ABAC at www.abac.edu/weekforabac .
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