An executive committee was elected whose members later became the Trustees. Donations ranging from 5 shillings (25p) to £50 flooded in, totalling over £500. Invitations were sent to Heads of Secondary Schools and Colleges in Warwick, Leamington and Stratford areas to nominate a student for the first bursary of £10, which was awarded in July 1939.
Further additions have since been made to the Trust's funds to enable the amount to be substantially increased and awards continue to be made annually. There is no examination and candidates are not interviewed, so much depends on the information provided by heads of schools and their colleagues about the achievement, personality, interests and home circumstances of those who wish to be nominated.
The Trustees do not necessarily confine awards exclusively to students who share Miss Harris's interests, although applicants should have embarked on their final year as 'A Level' students and be intending to go on to higher education. In choosing the recipients regard is not only given to academic attainment but also to their circumstances, character and promise, in its widest sense, as it is designed to help any promising student to whom such a grant would give encouragement and support.
The calibre and merits of candidates are always very high and the choice is often difficult. Therefore the no award of a bursary should not be regarded in any way as a failure: this would have been the last thing that Mary Dormer Harris would have wished.