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DALLAS - On the surface, it was a simple scholarship presentation Thursday afternoon.

But, the $500 grant Brendan Baird won is for whites only and Marcus Carter, an African-American, awarded it.

Just because you don't benefit directly doesn't mean it isn't beneficial, Carter, 27, explained.

The U.S. Army veteran is the vice president of the Former Majority Association for Equality, a group that awards scholarships solely to white men.

It just got really frustrating when every other scholarship you happen to find online you need not apply to based on your ethnicity or gender, said Colby Bohannan, one of FMAFE's founders.

Searching scholarship databases such as scholarships.com and fastweb.com, every group has their own. There are categories for only African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians and even atheists.

But, Carter said as an African-American, he joined the group because he served two tours of duty in Iraq with Bohannan and thinks awarding college scholarships to anyone is beneficial to everyone.

I can't really say I understand where they're coming from, being only 27 years old, I don't feel racially oppressed, Carter said.

Besides Carter, Bohannan said the nine-member board of directors for the FMAFE includes a Hispanic man and two women. All the board members are volunteers and don't take a salary or travel expenses from the group, Bohannan and Carter explained.

Their organization has received more than $18,000 in donations. The two said they wouldn't reveal their biggest donors.

The FMAFE was granted501(c)3 status this monthand has yet to file a Form 990, a public document detailing the group's finances, with the IRS.

Baird's scholarship is one of five the FMAFE is handing out nationwide. The organization is awarding them in Long Beach, California; Columbus, Ohio and Miami Beach, Florida in the coming week.

Half of the 180 applicants were from Texas, Bohannan said.

But, pinpointing exactly which races benefit more from college scholarships is tough. No one measures it.

If somebody else wants to go give it to the Martians of Outer Space, that's okay, Baird explained. I don't have any qualms with that. If these guys have decided they want to do it here and see that as an important cause, I'm more than willing to say 'Yeah, I'll take it' because they speak the biggest color, which is green.

Carter and Bohannan's group isn't the first to give away scholarships to whites only.

There is already one offered at the University of South Carolina and another at the University of Southern Mississippi.

More minorities go to college now than 30 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Education. But, the number of whites enrolled doubles the sum of all minorities.

Still, helping whites find scholarships is what Carter and his colleagues intend to do.

I go to sleep knowing that I am doing something good for society, he said. I'm being a productive member of society in my own heart.

E-mail:jwhitely@wfaa.com

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