Last year may have been full of dividend-slashing, but more and more companies are now committed to sending more money back to their shareholders in 2010.

Readers of the Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We'll start with Parker Hannifin (NYSE: TJX). The motion and control technology specialist is moving its dividend 4% higher to $0.26 a share. The company battles the delicate balance between maintaining a strong balance sheet and returning a chunk of its free cash flow to its shareholders. In other words, it wouldn't be rewarding its investors with meatier quarterly checks if it weren't optimistic about its ability to make even more money in the near term. This marks the 54th consecutive year the company has succeeded in raising its payout.

Enterprise Product Partners (NYSE: EPD) is also energizing its distributions. The provider of midstream energy services is powering up its quarterly payout by 6%, to $0.5675 per unit. Some limited partnerships manage to come through with annual rate upticks, but Enterprise makes it a refreshing quarterly experience. It has been able to boost its disbursements 32 times since going public a dozen years ago -- including each of the past 23 quarters.

People's United Financial (Nasdaq: PBCT) is jacking up its quarterly dividend by 2%, to $0.155 a share. The Connecticut-based banker may have posted sharply lower first-quarter earnings than it did a year earlier, but those numbers were weighed down by merger-related and system conversion expenses related to February's acquisition of Federal Financial. Strip those items away, and People's United actually improved on the bottom line.

Finally, H.B. Fuller (NYSE: FUL) has applied a thicker coat to its yield. The maker of sealants, paints, and adhesives is raising its payout 3% higher to $0.07 a share. Shareholders aren't surprised. Fuller has managed to bump its rate higher for 41 consecutive years.

Companies are starting to return more of their money to their investors, and shareholders aren't likely to complain. Insurer Donegal Group (Nasdaq: DGICA) (Nasdaq: DGICB) and motorsports promoter International Speedway (Nasdaq: ISCA) have also boosted their distributions in recent days. Donegal has reported adverse effects of winter storms on its financials, and International Speedway's earnings fell short of expectations, but those crises didn't stop either company from pushing its dividend higher.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions, with market-thumping results.

Want to see what we're recommending these days? Give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get hiked will be your interest.

Enterprise Products Partners is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.