The High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield is kicking off its 25th year with plans to award more scholarships to Fairfield's college-bound students, to seek new corporate sponsorships and individual contributions, and to end the fiscal year with a fundraising gala to celebrate a quarter-century of service to the community.

The total amount awarded by the foundation now exceeds $1.6 million with $105,000 raised last year. The scholarships are distributed to high school seniors during an awards night at each of Fairfield's two public high schools.

Among the many grants the foundation awards are memorial scholarships, PTA scholarships for graduates of Fairfield's public schools, and scholarships funded by various community, alumni and business organizations. Factors that will earn a student financial aid vary according to the wishes of each scholarship's funding sponsor. These might include academic performance, financial need, music achievement, athletics, community service, ethnic heritage, choice of career or major, and membership in a sponsoring organization.

The nonprofit High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield was founded in 1989 by Mary Kay Frost, a member of the current board of directors, and Barbara McMahon, who together saw the need to help Fairfield's public high school students meet the rising costs of a post-secondary education.

"We didn't have much to start with," Frost recalled of the foundation's early days. "But ... we were able to gain traction over the years and establish a large number of scholarships we give away annually for a variety of criteria, not solely academics."

To commemorate its milestone 25th year, the scholarship foundation has set a goal of $25,000 in new contributions. A sponsorship drive will be launched to enlist corporations and local businesses to establish scholarships and the foundation is planning an expansion into social media.

The foundation has also elected several new board members. They are: Bart Surrick, Michelle Mittola, Jerry McTigue and April Burggraf, and two new student representatives, Paul Arancio and Will Downey, both seniors at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

For more information about the High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield, including how to establish a scholarship, apply for one, or make a donation, visit www.fairfieldscholarshipfoundation.org