KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A foundation named after the pharmaceutical company founder who established the Kansas City Royals has announced a $79 million scholarship program to celebrate what would have been Ewing Marion Kauffman’s 100th birthday.

Students from low- and modest-income families in two Kansas counties and four Missouri counties can apply starting next year for the three-tiered scholarship and college-savings program called KC Scholars, The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2dd5wgP) reported. Kauffman was born on Sept. 21, 1916, and died in 1993.

Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the foundation, said the foundation’s contribution, which will be spread over 10 years, is “only the beginning.” Guillies said the foundation expects millions of dollars from the community will be contributed down the road to fund KC Scholars for many years.

Community members worked for a year to design the scholarship program, said Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, director of KC Scholars. She said the scholarship program was designed with a focus toward addressing a national challenge brought by the Obama administration to raise the percentage of Americans with some post-secondary, credentialed education from 42 percent to 65 percent by 2020. By then, two out of three jobs will require some college education.

“We feel like KC Scholars and Kauffman Scholars will significantly move the needle in terms of bringing talent back to the community so that they can make a difference in the community,” Guillies said.

When KC Scholars is running full scale, it will be serving 2,000 students, Tankersley-Bankhead said.

The program includes a traditional scholarship of up to $10,000 a year for five years that would be awarded to 11th grade students with at least a 2.5 GPA. There’s also a scholarship of up to $5,000 a year for five years for adults 24 and older. And there’s a college-savings match that will begin in ninth grade for students who kept at least a 2.5 GPA through seventh and eighth grades.

Whatever the selected students put into their KC Scholars college savings plan will be matched four-to-one up to $5,000, and those students who also meet certain college-ready milestones could get another $2,000 to put toward school.

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com