Since its founding in 2002, access to post-secondary
education has been the central focus of the Stars Scholarship Fund. The
formation of the organization grew out of desire to address the great need for
At inception, the grassroots non-profit was named South
Texas Academic Rising Scholars (STARS) Scholarship Fund and was founded by Mr.
Joe LaMantia, Jr and his family. The LaMantia Family owns and operates one of
the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in Texas, L&F Distributors.
The story of STARS began decades before inception with Mr.
Joe LaMantia, Jr. In 1974, Mr. LaMantia was appointed by Governor Dolph Briscoe
to the Board of the Texas Department of Corrections. He was reappointed in 1983
by Governor Mark White and served as the Vice-Chairman for over 10 years.
During his tenure, Mr. LaMantia saw firsthand the problems facing the Texas
Border Region. He recognized that education was the key to improving the
poverty, crime and high unemployment faced by the community.
Under Mr. LaMantia's leadership, L&F Distributors formed
a partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) in 1994 and in eight
years raised over $5 million and awarded over 2,600 scholarships to the
students in south Texas. The success of HSF prompted efforts to create an
organization that centered on south Texas, in the communities which L&F
In 2002, upon joining forces with his family and respected
business leaders from the community, Mr. LaMantia established South Texas
Academic Rising Scholars (STARS) Scholarship Fund, which awarded scholarships
to students from south Texas. This initiative was prompted by the conviction
that an educated citizen is essential to the growth and future success of south
Texas. Mr. Joe LaMantia, Jr. serves the organization as Chairman of the Board
In 2012, the South Texas Academic Rising Scholars (STARS)
Scholarship Fund Board of Directors unanimously approved a name change to Stars
Scholarship Fund. This change was prompted by the desire of the organization to
expand into west Texas and to serve a greater population of students.
Today, Stars Scholarship Fund partners with hundreds of
local and national businesses, organizations, colleges, and universities
annually. Together, the community has helped Stars disburse over $31.7 million
dollars since its start in 2002. Stars Scholarship Fund has helped over 15,400
students from south and west Texas receive a higher education through scholarships to
The Stars Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to qualified
students from the community annually. Recipients are selected on the basis of
scholarship, academic achievement and financial need through a general
application process. Academic achievement is determined using applicant's
official academic records. Financial need is determined in evaluating the
applicant's submitted FAFSA documentation. The goal of our organization is to
assist students who do not receive enough or any federal aid to cover the Cost
of Attendance at their institution. Stars Scholarship Fund strives to ensure
that deserving individuals are not denied the opportunities for learning and
discovery that are available in a university setting.
The cornerstone of the Stars Scholarship Fund lays in its
family of dedicated volunteers and devoted sponsors. Unlike most non-profit
organizations, Stars Scholarship Fund commits 100% of every dollar donated by
sponsors directly to scholarships for the students of south and west Texas to
attend the college of their choice. All Stars Scholarship Fund expenses,
including overhead and salaries, are generously underwritten by L&F Distributors.
View a full timeline of our history here.