On Thursday, March 5, 2009, the Sons of Poland Benevolent Foundation of the Association of the Sons of Poland (ASOP) honored the Kosciuszko Foundation with a Meritorious Service Award at a reception held at the Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey. Chairing the evening’s event were ASOP’s newly elected Vice-President, Louis J. Gill and Director, Dorothy Jaworski, along with Master of Ceremonies Celeste Oranchak, daughter of Director Helen Oranchak and Vice- President of International Advancement at the Felician College in Lodi, New Jersey. ASOP’s newly elected president Frank Knurowski presented the award.

The goal for this evening was to raise funds for scholarships and achievement awards distributed each year by ASOP to member high school seniors. Last year’s successful fundraiser enabled the Association to distribute more scholarships and awards in larger amounts than in previous years.

A gourmet buffet in addition to an open bar of premium liquors was offered. Among the organizations sending their representatives were the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Polish American Congress of Downstate New York, The Polish University Club of New Jersey, CENTRALA of Passaic and vicinity, Wawel Bank, and the Polish Peoples’ Home of Passaic.

The Sons of Poland Benevolent Foundation hosts an award reception each year as a way of expressing gratitude to an individual or organization whose efforts reflect the Association’s commitment to the education of our children for the benefit of society and the future. Such an individual last year was Dr. Richard J. Hunter of Seton Hall University. This year the Kosciuszko Foundation was acknowledged for decades of generous support of both American and Polish students. In 1923, the Polish American Scholarship Committee was established by Dr. Stephen Mizwa to provide higher education at American Universities for Polish students. By 1925 it was changed into a foundation and a living memorial to Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish General, patriot, and hero of the American Revolution. Over the years, the mission of the Kosciuszko Foundation expanded to include Americans whose higher education encompassed the history and culture of Poland as well as the education of Polish Americans.

Today, over one million dollars is distributed annually to Polish-Americans and Polish students. Membership and participation at annual fundraisers such as the Debutante Ball held each spring at the Waldorf Astoria provide the funds for this noble organization to continue to enrich the educational and cultural lives of both America and Poland.

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