Last year brought us a lot of dividend slashing, but more and more companies are committing themselves to sending out money to their shareholders in 2010. Motley Fool Income Investor readers certainly appreciate that trend, so let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We can start with Casey's General Stores (Nasdaq: CASY). The convenience-store operator is juicing up its quarterly dividend by 18% to $0.10 a share. It comes at a perfect time, as Casey's is trying to rebuff a hostile takeover bid. Sweetening the pot for shareholders may make them more patient -- and loyal.

John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW-A) (NYSE: JW-B) caught David Gardner's eye last year, when he recommended the nonfiction publisher to Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers. The 203-year-old publishing house may also be catching the eye of yield chasers, boosting its quarterly payout 14% to $0.16 a share on Thursday.

Oil-Dri (NYSE: ODC) is the world's largest maker of kitty litter, but freshness counts on its distributions as well. Oil-Dri's new quarterly rate of $0.16 a share is a 7% improvement over its previous disbursements.

Finally, we have HEICO (NYSE: HEI) flying higher. The aviation-technology specialist's semiannual dividend is ascending by 25% to $0.06 a share. Investors may recall that HEICO also shelled out $0.06 a share six months ago, but it also recently executed a 5-for-4 stock split. In other words, adjusted for the split, this payout translates into a 25% increase.

Companies are starting to return more of their money to their investors, and shareholders aren't likely to be complaining. BioMed Realty Trust (NYSE: BMR) and Cypress Sharpridge Investments (NYSE: CYS) are two companies that recently fortified their distributions, with rises of 7% and 9%, respectively.

Subscribers to the Income Investor like to see companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter service singles out companies committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what's being recommended these days? Give the service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get a boost will be your interest.

Do higher dividends matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He owns none of the shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.