Syngenta tops up ag scholarship funds

Scholarship funds supported by Syngenta Canada for post-secondary agriculture students will get top-up funding from the company against the funds’ declining income.

“The recent economic downturn has had a catastrophic effect on many university endowment scholarship funds, forcing universities to terminate scholarships or reduce funding,” the Guelph-based crop protection arm of the Swiss agribusiness said in a release Monday.

“Endowment funds rely on profits generated from investments to pay out scholarships, but in the current economic climate many university investments have seen sharp declines.”

Syngenta, which described itself as a “major donator” to university scholarship endowment funds, said it has now put up additional funding for Canada’s “top agriculture universities” to maintain payments for eight Syngenta Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships in the 2009-10 school year.

The University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Guelph, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Universite Laval and McGill University all got top-up funding of up to $50,000 each from the company, Syngenta said.

“Giving back to Canadian agriculture is so important to Syngenta and our employees that the decision to help universities fulfill their scholarship commitments by increasing our donations was an easy one to make,” Syngenta Canada president Jay Bradshaw said in the company’s release Monday.

Syngenta is “the first company to offer additional funding for scholarships during these difficult economic times,” said Kathy Hay, associate vice-president for advancement at the University of Guelph, in the same release.

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