(Nov. 25, WEB EXCLUSIVE) The California Strawberry industry has raised $45,000 in scholarship money for children of farm workers.

The industry raised the money through two recent golf tournaments; one in Watsonville, Calif., brought nearly 250 golfers and raised $35,000, and another one in Southern California raised $10,000, according to a news release. The money went to the California Strawberry Growers’ Scholarship Fund.

Since 1995, the fund has awarded nearly $600,000 to 358 students to aid in continuing education.

“We recognize the contributions made by farm workers that lead to the success of our industry,” said Steve Jewell, golf tournament chairman, in the release. “The scholarship program is designed to reward parents and their children by relieving some of the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education.”

For the 2008-09 school year, 115 students received scholarships.

High school seniors received 53 scholarships totaling $44,600 and college students received 62 scholarships amounting to almost $80,000.

“Throughout college the scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies and allowed me to participate in various activities that were aimed at helping underserved communities like mine,” said fund recipient Ricardo Gomez in the release.

Applications for the 2009-10 academic year will be available in January at www.calstrawberry.com.