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Caplan Scholarship Program Helps
Family Businesses Learn Public Policy

There are so many opportunities available for young people to rise in today’s produce industry if you know where to look.

  • Jay and Ruthie Pack have generously supported the Pack Family/PMA Career Pathways Fund to bring a select group of college students and faculty advisors to PMA’s annual convention and exhibition.
  • The Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation honors Joe Nucci and brings students and faculty to PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA.
  • United has its annual Leadership Class, and now we get a reminder that it is time to apply for the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship, which brings representatives of family businesses to attend United’s Washington Public Policy Conference:

Scholarships Give Family Businesses Opportunity
to Get Involved, Make Their Voices Heard

Washington, D.C. — United Fresh Produce Association announced today that it is now accepting applications for the 2007 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program. The Program awards up to four scholarships for employees of United Fresh member, family-owned businesses, to attend United Fresh’s Washington Public Policy Conference (WPPC).

The four scholarships recipients are selected by an advisory committee and receive complimentary airfare, hotel, and registration to attend the conference, which will be held September 12-14, 2007 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel. This annual conference brings together hundreds of produce leaders from all sectors of the industry to interact personally and share ideas with Administration officials, congressional leaders, and industry colleagues.

“Attending the Washington Public Policy Conference was truly an amazing experience that opened my eyes to a whole new element of the produce industry!” said Kari Valdés, Mills Family Farms, 2006 scholarship recipient.“As a food safety professional, I was unsure how relevant my experiences would be in Washington, but I quickly found out that this is a conference for the entire produce industry. I left Washington with a whole new perspective about the importance of being involved at all levels. This is definitely a conference that I will continue to attend.’

The 2007 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program was established in 2001 through a generous grant from Frieda’s, Inc. by Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins; it is administered through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation. The goal of the program is to increase family business’ involvement in government relations and produce industry advocacy.

“This program is a superb opportunity for members of family businesses to better understand how decisions made in Washington can affect their business,” said Victoria Kuhns, United Fresh’s senior vice president of member services, foundation.“With 300 industry peers all coming together to promote the produce industry, this scholarship program is a great way to get your feet wet in the political scene and understand how you can have an impact.”

To apply for a Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship, participants must complete an application form and briefly write why they want to attend the WPPC and what they hope to gain from the experience. The application can be downloaded from United Fresh’s website and must be received by July 27, 2007.

When Frieda’s daughters Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins endowed this scholarship, they wanted to honor their mother who both founded a family business and recognized early-on the importance of having a voice in Washington, D.C.

It is a great idea. This program can help family businesses, who might not be of a scale where they thought government relations was an important item, to get involved.

A small wholesaler, a small farmer — the type of people who wouldn’t normally spend money on this kind of thing, can get the chance to attend WPPC to get exposure to these issues.

The application process is open and as long as you work with a family business and the business is a United member, you qualify. You don’t even have to be a member of the owning family.

The conference is really a fantastic event. If you haven’t walked the halls of Congress, met regulators and legislators, it is well worth the time to see the produce industry march on Washington. And with this scholarship program, you can do it for free.

We all get so caught up in our day-to-day business, it is good to detach sometimes and see the big picture, which includes how government affects the trade and your business.

And you never know where a little involvement will take you. Frieda started a family business and became famous for air freighting kiwifruit from New Zealand to America. In the fullness of the time, the business grew to provide the kind of livelihood where her daughters could endow such a scholarship program.

By the way, that picture of Karen Caplan with Alan Greenspan, the longtime Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is a goof with a cardboard cutout. Karen did, however, just recently complete her term as a Director, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Los Angeles Branch. During her term she was responsible for providing the Federal Reserve with input on what was really happening to the economy. She shared one of those reports with Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, and you can read it here.

Maybe you too will be called upon to help our country by working with the very highest levels of government. A great place to start is by applying for the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship to attend United’s Washington Public Policy Conference. Download the application right here.

By the way, if you want to know a little more about Frieda, you can read an interview PRODUCE BUSINESS conducted with her 20 years ago. To this day, she is the only industry member to get a solo gig on the cover of PRODUCE BUSINESS. Read her thoughts here.

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