(June 5, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) Frieda Caplan, founder of Frieda’s Inc., always has been a proponent of politics and family-operated businesses.

So, when her daughters — Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s, and Jackie Caplan-Wiggins, vice president and business development manager of Frieda’s — were looking for a way to uphold their mother’s legacy, they opted to provide a generous grant to establish the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program. The scholarship enables employees of family-run businesses to attend the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference, Karen Caplan said.

“We thought it was a great way to honor our mom,” Caplan said of the program, which was founded in 2001 and is administered through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation. “My mom’s a pioneer in our industry and has always had special place in her heart for family businesses, and always has been very active politically since she was a student at UCLA in the 1940s.”

The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation is accepting applications for the four scholarships for employees family-run companies to attend the Washington Public Policy Conference, Sept. 10-12 in Washington, D.C., said Victoria Backer, United Fresh’s senior vice president, member services and foundation.

The four recipients receive complimentary airfare, hotel and registration to attend the conference, Applications are on United Fresh’s Web site at www.unitedfresh.org., and are due July 28, Backer said.

The recipients are chosen based on the content in the applications, explaining why they want to attend, what they hope to gain from going, their produce background and involvement in their company, Backer said.

The selection process has become increasingly challenging, because the number of applicants continues to rise, Backer said.

“Overall, it’s the quality of application, the role they play in the family business, their ability to play advocate for the industry and the potential value for the candidate,” Backer said.

Applications should be sent to the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation, attention Beth Berman. They can be e-mailed to bberman@unitedfresh.org, faxed to (202) 303-3433, ext. 408 or mailed to United Fresh Foundation, Attn: Beth Berman, 1901 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C., 20006.