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Richard Augustine, left, and Ken Little present a cheque from the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst for $50,000.00.

The donor: Ken Little

The gift: Helping to raise $1.3-million

The cause: Scholarships for students in Gravenhurst, Ont.

The Muskoka region of Ontario is known for its luxury resorts and expensive cottages. But many families living in communities such as Gravenhurst, one of the largest towns in the region, struggle to make ends meet.

A few years ago, local businessman Ken Little launched a fundraising drive to fill one important need: to help students from Gravenhurst High School pay for postsecondary education.

Joined by fellows members of the Rotary Club, Mr. Little took his idea to the community and the response has been overwhelming.

In just five years, Mr. Little and the club have raised $1.3-million and set up the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund.

Last year, 43 students received scholarships from the fund worth up to $4,000 apiece.

The group has set up a committee to help select students and the money can be used for any type of postsecondary program, from uni versity courses to apprenticeships.

"We want to help whatever kid we can reach their greatest potential," said Mr. Little, who runs Muskoka Real Estate Services and has been a member of the Rotary Club for 30 years.

Mr. Little and other club members are still raising money and they hope to build the fund to $4-million.

"It really feels good to see so many students doing so well," he added.