Times staff report
Longtime philanthropist and Golden Flake heiress Joann Bashinsky this week announced the establishment of the Joann Bashinsky Scholarship Fund at Miles College. The $168,000 gift will provide three four-year scholarships to competitively selected students who lack the financial resources to attend college.
Bashinsky, of Mountain Brook, is the widow of Sloan Y. Bashinsky, who was the founder, chairman, and CEO of Golden Flake Foods – a 96-year-old Birmingham-based company. Mr. Bashinsky was also the majority shareholder of Golden Flake Enterprises.
“This gift exemplifies the passion Mrs. Bashinsky has for improving the lives of young people in our community and ensuring that opportunity and access to education is available for all those who seek it,” said Bobbie Knight, Miles College President.
“We are grateful for Mrs. Bashinsky’s investment in our students. This gift allows us to continue providing a quality, affordable, mission-driven educational experience to all students who pursue their collegial journey at Miles College,” Knight added.
Funding from the endowment will provide four-year tuition and fees to business administration or criminal justice majors seeking higher education, who have the ability, but not the financial resources, to attend college.
“I am extremely passionate about children having access to education,” Bashinsky said. “I have been able to send countless students to other colleges around the state and now it is my honor to work with President Knight to help as many students as we can attend Miles College. These young people deserve the best that life has to offer and I hope my gift will help them achieve their dreams.”
Bashinsky, 88, is known for her generosity.
The Bashinsky family has provided more than $1 million in scholarship money.
Her late husband started scholarships for Golden Flake employees’ children through the foundation to send children to private schools and colleges. It first sent Golden Flake employees’ children to school before expanding.
At the University of Alabama, she donated the funds to create and maintain the Bashinsky Computer lab.
Similarly, her gifts to Samford University have received widespread acclaim locally as they help faculty staff and students alike.
She also gives generously to Big Oak Ranch, an Alabama-based ‘Christian home for children needing a chance.’
More than 2,000 children have called Big Oak home, and the organization receives no federal money. Therefore, it relies solely upon the generosity of individuals such as Bashinsky.
Her personal estate is estimated to be worth $80 million, and her entire estate was valued at $218 million.
Pennsylvania-based Utz Quality Foods bought Golden Enterprises for $141 million in 2016.