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iContact co-founders make good on scholarship promise

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The founders of iContact have created a competitive scholarship fund for children of people who were employed by the company from its start in 2003 through its sale — making good on a promise made when the company was sold in February.

Co-founders Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton donated $1.2 million to create the scholarship fund this month.

iContact, which provides email marketing services to businesses, was started by Allis and Houghton when they were students at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Morrisville company was acquired in a deal valued at $169 million by Maryland-based Vocus, which develops marketing and public relations software. At the time of the sale, Allis said the scholarship fund would be created.

A month after the acquisition, Vocus laid off one third of iContact's 250 employees. Allis is now based in San Francisco where he is an angel investor.

Applications for the scholarships are available through the Triangle Community Foundation web site The foundation will manage the scholarship fund, review applicants and select which students will receive the funds.  Awards will range from $1,000 to $10,000 each year and be given annually for 40 years.

The first scholarships will be awarded later this year.

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About the blogger

Mary Cornatzer has worked at The News & Observer for more than 25 years, covering the local music industry, state movie industry and travel. She has been the paper's Business editor since 2000. Contact Mary at 919-829-4755 or e-mail her.