Images courtesy of White Castle, LLC.
White Castle founder E.W. “Billy” Ingram believed in not only supporting those who worked for him, but also in providing opportunities to them to make better lives for themselves and their families. He started his family-owned business in 1921, selling small square hamburgers for a nickel.
The “crave” caught on, and White Castle became the first fast food hamburger chain in the world. An innovator at heart, Ingram led the pack in many ways, including the invention of restaurant “carry-out” in 1927, coining the phrase, “Selling them by the sack.” In 1949, Ingram created The Edgar W. Ingram Foundation as a vehicle to give back to the community. That foundation became a Supporting Foundation at The Columbus Foundation in 1981 and was renamed the Ingram-White Castle Foundation in 1987. Ingram’s legacy of lifting people up inspired his family more than 30 years ago to honor him by creating a scholarship program to celebrate his passion and dedication to learning and education.
“One of Billy’s missions was to help team members,” said Erin Shannon, Corporate Relations Manager of White Castle, and great-granddaughter of Billy Ingram (pictured left). “White Castle was one of the first companies to offer healthcare to its employees, starting in 1924. He wanted to give team members opportunities to better themselves, and helping to make college a reality is one of the ways we honor him today.”
Since 1989, the Ingram-White Castle Foundation Scholarship Program has approved more than 1,000 scholarships totaling over $2 million to help team members and their families achieve their educational goals.
Traditional awards range up to $3,500, and can be used to defray the cost of any educational expenses for full- or part-time studies at any college, university, or career, technical, or vocational school in the United States. The scholarships are open not only to team members, but also spouses, children (including adopted children and stepchildren), and other dependents.
As White Castle celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021, the foundation has added two special scholarships to recognize the historic event. These anniversary scholarships provide up to $40,000 each, paid as $10,000 each academic year for four years. The students selected are chosen from the applications received for the annual awards, and will be notified this summer.
“It’s the dedication of the team members, cravers, and family that has helped White Castle continue to grow and succeed.”
“From the beginning, we’ve wanted to lift up students who needed a boost to help them achieve their educational dreams,” Shannon said. “These scholarships are designed to do just that.” White Castle currently has 10,000 team members throughout 10 regions across the country. Celebrating 100 years is a testament to the foundation built by Billy Ingram and the passionate family members who have followed in his footsteps. “It’s the dedication of the team members, cravers, and family that has helped White Castle continue to grow and succeed,” Shannon said.
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