The Whataburger Family Foundation is a support system funded by team members to help each other in times of need, crisis or family emergency. Each week, thousands of Whataburger team members, from the newest grill cook to corporate office executives, contribute part of their salaries to the fund. The foundation has steadily increased the number of scholarships granted each year based on the growing amount of contributions received. The organization originally awarded eight scholarships per semester.
Scholarship recipients were chosen based on their academic performances, essays and recommendation letters from school officials. All scholarship recipients are corporate or franchise team members or their immediate family. Full-time students will receive $2,000 and part-time students receive $1,000 for the semester to use at accredited two or four-year colleges, universities or vocational-technical schools.
Lexie Hoyt, a marketing coordinator at Whataburger’s home office in Corpus Christi, Texas, is a scholarship recipient for the fifth time and is attending Texas A&M University Corpus Christi to get her bachelor’s degree in business marketing. “I’ve been going to college while working full-time for eight years and my ultimate dream is to walk across the stage to receive my diploma,” she says. “Through the Whataburger Family Foundation scholarship program, the company is showing that it wants to see its team members succeed.”
More than 18.4 million students will attend America’s colleges and universities this fall. With tuition, room and board for an entire academic year averaging more than $14,000, students and their families fight a constant battle between education and debt.1 In Texas alone, the average college tuition rate has increased 58 percent since its deregulation in 2003.
“Pursuing a college education can be financially difficult, but it’s essential for career success today. We’re honored that we can help our team members achieve something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” Shelby Dobson, director of the Whataburger Family Foundation, says. “It’s really a tribute to our own team members’ generosity toward each other that we’re able to award a record number of scholarships this year.”
John Paul McCreary, a team leader at Whataburger in Austin, Texas, has been with the company for nearly seven years and plans to use his scholarship to continue his education this fall at Austin Community College.
“This scholarship allows me to focus on my studies rather than work more hours to pay for additional expenses,” McDreary says.