Sons and daughters of Hispanic business owners and high school participants of an intensive entrepreneurial training program could be the recipients of a new college scholarship to help them pay for the education they need to be a success in their careers.
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In downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) and Wells Fargo announced that they have partnered to create a first-time scholarship program that reinforces their commitment to higher education and entrepreneurship.
Wells Fargo has donated $100,000 in scholarship funds to the HSF to support college-bound students who are dependents of USHCC members or past participants in BizFest, an intensive entrepreneurial training program for Hispanic high school students.
The scholarship is poised to help students like 17-year-old Aranza Garza, a participant in the USHCC BizFest program who dreams of someday having a neurology firm.
Garza, a student at J. Economedes High School in Texas, is applying to colleges and plans to major in pre-med and business administration.
Coming from a low-income, immigrant family, Garza says she’s “really excited” about the scholarship opportunity. Garza was in Los Angeles on Tuesday for the USHCC 33rd Annual Convention where the new scholarship program was announced.
Wells Fargo’s $100,000 donation will provide 40 scholarships to students like Garza.
Applications for the new scholarship became available yesterday, Sept. 19; the deadline to apply is Dec. 15.
Candidates must be of Hispanic heritage, be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, be a relative of a USHCC member, among other requirements.
President and CEO of USHCC Javier Palomarez called Wells Fargo’s donation “truly visionary.”
“Education is a critical and imperative business issue for this country, if we don’t fix education, our economy falls apart, it’s that simple,” he said.
“Education is the first step in establishing a path to future empowerment – today’s college students are tomorrow’s community leaders, corporate executives and small business owners,” said Palomarez. “The State of Small Business Poll results released by the USHCC today highlight 72 percent of Hispanic business owners want to grow a business and create a legacy. The surest path to achieving this is ensuring our children go to college.”
A recent Pew Hispanic report indicates that for the first time, 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics enrolled in college exceeded 2 million and their college enrollments have reached a record 16.5 percent.
Yet, Latinos are amongst the lowest performing students in public schools.
“We know that Latinos are one in every four public school children in this country… the US cannot go to number one [in academics] in this world until the Latino population takes our rightful place as the next group to step forward in the latter,” said HSF CEO Frank Alvarez. “It’s not just a Hispanic community issue, it’s an American issue.”
Alvarez said the relationship between Wells Fargo, the USHCC and HSF exemplifies how corporations can be a catalyst for growth while supporting what matters most to the community.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with organizations like Wells Fargo and the USHCC that are dedicated to enriching the lives of Hispanic students,” he said.
Tim Hanlon, head of Philanthropy for Wells Fargo, said there is no better way Wells Fargo can spend this money and he believes this will not be a one-time donation.
“We want the US economy to turn around and small business is one of the big drivers there, and if the only thing the scholarship does is take the financial burden off a small business owner, off an entrepreneur, as they try to send their child to school, than that’s what we need to do,” he told EGP.
USHCC represents nearly 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. and also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
For more information and to apply for the scholarship visit www.HSF.net
For more information on USHCC visit www.ushcc.com