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Bandit Scholars Program expands, partners with Community Foundation of the Great River Bend
Applicants from eight counties to be included; donors can make tax-deductible, online contributions
02/27/2014 10:25 AM ET

The Quad Cities River Bandits and the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend are new partners in supporting the expanding Bandit Scholars Program that awards two scholarships annually to Quad Cities-area high school seniors. River Bandits owner Dave Heller and Susan Skora, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, announced the partnership at a press conference Thursday morning at Modern Woodmen Park.

Through the partnership with the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, donors can make online, tax-deductible donations to the Bandit Scholars Program by going to www.cfgrb.org. Fans can also click on the team's website, www.riverbandits.com, and be taken directly to the Bandit Scholars page on the Foundation's website. The application deadline for 2014 has already passed, but beginning with the next scholarship application cycle in 2015, students will be able to submit their applications online through the Community Foundation's website. Furthermore, students from eight Quad Cities-area counties - Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Whiteside Counties of Illinois, and Cedar, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott Counties of Iowa - are eligible for the two scholarships.

"We are delighted to be able to partner with the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend to enhance and expand our Bandit Scholars Program," Heller said. "It will now be easier than ever for fans and organizations to make tax-deductible donations to the program, easier than ever for talented students to apply, and easier for us to continue growing this unique scholarship program, which is one-of-a-kind in minor league baseball. The Community Foundation has an unmatched track record in supporting great causes throughout the region, and we are excited to continue making the dream of free college tuition real for more Quad Cities families!"

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend has been active in the Quad Cities region for the past 50 years and helps donors support hundreds of local causes, including scholarship opportunities on both sides of the Mississippi River. The Community Foundation's mission is simply stated: To better our community by connecting people who care with causes that matter. In 1994, the Davenport Area Foundation became the "The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend," reflecting the growth as a regional resource for both charitable giving and civic engagement. As CFGRB celebrates its 50th anniversary, there is no longer one pooled fund. Instead, there are more than 900 distinct charitable funds, totaling more than $100 million in assets located in 13 affiliate community foundations that serve 17 counties in two states.

"The River Bandits are a vital part of this community. They bring excitement and family fun to the Quad Cities," stated Susan Skora, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. "The Community Foundation is pleased to partner with them as they bring education and internship opportunities to area students."

The Bandit Scholars Program annually awards two scholarships to deserving area high school seniors. Each scholarship pays for the winner's entire first year of tuition and includes a summer internship with the River Bandits following the winner's first year of college.

River Bandits owners Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt founded the Bandit Scholars Program in 2009. The Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship is named in honor of the late Keith Lucier, who passed away in 2009. The Lucier Scholarship and Bandit Scholars Program honors Keith's strong belief in higher education and celebrates his love for sports, learning, charitable endeavors and the Quad Cities community. Lucier graduated from Bettendorf High School and the University of Iowa. He was the River Bandits' Assistant General Manager in 2008.

The Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship benefits a Quad Cities-area high school senior entering the University of Iowa and has been awarded annually to one Quad Cities-area high school senior since its inception. The Bandit Scholars Program expanded in 2012 with the addition of a second scholarship for an incoming freshman on the Illinois side at either Western Illinois University or Black Hawk College. The two 2014 scholarship winners will be announced and honored at the River Bandits' June 15 home game at Modern Woodmen Park.

The River Bandits are the only team in minor league baseball to give away two college scholarships each year paying a student's entire first-year tuition. To help fund the scholarships, the River Bandits hold promotional events, including the annual Frost Fest and the Bandits Race to Home 5K, set for April 12. Race and Fun Run participants receive a registration discount through March 19 by visiting www.riverbandits.com/5k. Fans can also send donations for the scholarship fund to Modern Woodmen Park.

UP NEXT: Opening Day is April 3, so lock in your seats now to see the defending Midwest League Champions in 2014! To order any of the ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000 or visit www.riverbandits.com to download the season ticket order form. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 110 feet over the playing field, is opening this spring, along with a carousel, a new ride called a "Drop and Twist," an expanded 300-foot long zip line, and many other new games and attractions. In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. The team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, just saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.