Successful first year for Washington apples license plates

The specialty license plate recognizing the state's apple industry has been successful in its first year, with 747 purchased as of June 30. Part of the proceeds go toward scholarships offered by the Washington Apple Education Foundation.

WENATCHEE — Washington apples specialty license plates had an impressive first year of sales with 747 purchased as of June 30. A portion of the sale proceeds — $28 from each sale — go toward college scholarships offered by the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF).

The specialty plates were approved by the state Legislature last year. The first plates became available to Washington drivers on July 1, 2020. The plates feature the iconic Washington Apple Commission logo on a bright blue background.

Funds from the specialty plate sales benefit students in central Washington’s tree fruit-growing communities. WAEF annually awards more than $1 million in scholarships to students with family ties to the tree fruit industry.

With current sales, the plates will provide about $20,000 in revenue for WAEF students and programs annually. In addition to scholarships, the foundation provides professional development, career exploration and mentorship for its scholarship recipients. Currently, WAEF serves about 300-350 students annually.

Specialty plates are purchased from the Department of Licensing. They may be personalized within the department’s standards or assigned the “next up” number. To learn more about the plates, visit the Washington Apple Education Foundation’s website at waef.org or contact its office at (509) 663-7713.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation is the charity of the tree fruit industry. Its mission is to impact lives through access to educational opportunities. The foundation is funded through voluntary donations from industry and community members.

Jennifer Witherbee is executive director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation.