Calumet Educational & Literary Foundation, Inc. Proudly encouraging and helping young adults pursue their educational goals P.O. Box 2085, Augusta, Maine 04338-2085
A HISTORY OF THE CALUMET EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION Taken from the writings of Raymond Fecteau & Maurice Violette
Since its founding in 1922, Le Club Calumet's aim has been to promote the "development of Franco-Americans." Over all of these years, the "club" has supported this goal by advising students to pursue higher education. Beginning in 1922, Le Club Calumet appointed a committee to encourage students to continue their education by enrolling at Cony High School.
Later, in 1947, Albert J. Lemieux suggested the club set up a scholarship fund for students of Franco-American descent and in 1949 awarded the first 4-year scholarship to Phil Coulombe to attend the University of Maine. In 1957, Irenee Pelletier proposed that all club members be assessed $1.00 on the anniversary of their birth to be deposited into an educational fund to help students pursue a post high school education. The birthday dollar program continues to this day.
The accumulated funds served their purpose for many years until the demand outgrew the supply. In addition to an ever-depleting account, it was cumbersome to manage the education awards. As a result, a new way had to be devised. The new system would operate under government regulations, provide for a complete accounting of funds and expand financial aid across the community.
In 1965, a group led by Maurice Violette, Paul Lambert and J. Leo Lachance spearheaded an effort to organize a system that would exist as a separate entity with its own charter. Others who participated in this exciting venture were: Arthur Bouchard, Conrad Castonguay, Robert Lacasse, Normand Laflamme, Armand Beaulieu, Henry Breton, Alphonse Boucher, Richard Dumont, Leo Levesque, Armand Demers, Robert Levesque and Alfred Douin.
On March 1, 1967, the Calumet Educational and Literary Foundation, Incorporated was launched under the watchful eye of the State Attorney General's Office, the Maine Corporation of Banking and the Internal Revenue Service. The "Foundation" became a tax exempt group with all funds raised to be expressly used for educational purposes.
Initially, the Foundation's assistance programs were authorized to grant interest-free loans to students enrolled in vocational programs, technical colleges and formal colleges and universities. This no-interest approach was successful for many years but eventually the workload became too much to bear. Even though Loretta Paradis managed to keep up with students' status, payment schedules, etc., the time it required led to a new way to do business.
While casually shooting pool one day, Ray Fecteau and Ray Lausier had a novel idea and they quickly enlisted the skills of Maurice Violette to develop it. "Why loan the money?" they asked... "let's give it away!" So, in 1988 the Foundation voted to convert the no-interest program to a grant program as it exists today.
Around this time, the Foundation adminstered two scholarships in addition to grants. As of 2006, the number of scholarships/awards stands at twelve and the Foundation awards 40-50 grants each ranging from $500 to $850! The Foundation has a proud history and expects to reach greater heights to help more students in these days of ever-increasing educational costs.