Ford Joins with LULAC to Deliver $180,000 in Grants to Empower Latino Students to Graduate

July 11, 2014

Contact: Jossie Flor Sapunar

  • Ford Motor Company Fund and the League of United Latin American Citizens announce 2014 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grant winners
  • Winning LULAC councils receive grants to implement high school dropout prevention programs
  • Ford Driving Dreams has invested more than $1 million and assisted more than 1,000 students and 44 LULAC councils across the country since its 2010 launch

NEW YORK, NYC – Ford Motor Company Fund and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today announced the 2014 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grantees, as they work together to reduce the high school dropout rate among Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of public schools. Eight LULAC councils will each receive a $20,000 grant over two school years to implement a high school dropout prevention program in partnership with an educational entity. The eight LULAC council grant recipients are:

  • Anaheim, CA #2848
  • Atlanta, GA #950
  • Chicago, IL #5284 – LNESC
  • Chicago, IL #5238
  • Houston, TX #4968 – LNESC
  • Milwaukee, WI #334
  • South Bend, IN #5001
  • South Jordan, UT #44040

Additionally, two grantees from the 2012 recipients – Council No. 23047 in Queens, N.Y., and Council No. 21006 in Silver Spring, Md. – were selected to receive a $10,000 grant to continue their programs with Ford support for an additional school year given their success. These model councils will continue programs that uniquely promote on-time high school graduation using student engagement activities ranging from mentoring to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and arts related activities.

All council grantee recipients were announced at LULAC’s 85th Annual National Convention in New York City.

“Education has been a top priority for Ford Fund since its start more than 60 years ago,” said Joedis Avila, manager of community outreach, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “For the fifth consecutive year, Ford Driving Dreams Through Education will continue to make a life-changing impact on our young people and ensure that they have the education necessary to compete in our global economy.”

Recent studies from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicate that while high school dropout rates are decreasing and college enrollment is increasing for Hispanics, Hispanic youth continue to lag behind white youth in both measures.

“In the past decade, Hispanic dropout rates have decreased by half, and that’s something to be proud of,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “We must work together to continue this positive trend and create meaningful opportunities at the local level to help students succeed in school. I congratulate all the LULAC councils grant recipients for making a difference for Hispanic students. Our work with Ford Motor Company Fund is critical to our success.”

According to NCES, Hispanic students are the fastest-growing segment of the public school population; nearly one in four students is Hispanic and more than 12 percent of them are dropping out of high school. Given that Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and are expected to more than double from 53.3 million to 128.8 million by 2060, their educational development is essential to our nation’s growth and success.

High school student, Efrin Martinez, is a participant of the Ford Driving Dreams Through Education program at the LULAC Queens Council #23047. Martinez shared his enthusiasm about his participation at LULAC’s After School Program in Science Art and Technology. “I realize there are many new things I can learn. Participating in the after school program, I am involved in science and engineering projects, go to museums that I do not have the opportunity to visit, and meet new people. I am now more confident with myself and eager to learn and do more to improve my grades in school and achieve success,” said Martinez.

Ford Driving Dreams Through Education started in 2010, and to date 44 grant recipients have worked to keep more than 1,000 students on the road to graduation. The grant selection process considers the best practices for engaging students, including mentorship programs, after-school volunteer and extracurricular programs, and parental involvement. The winning programs also must be sustainable, reflect the local education landscape, and rely on partnerships with local education institutions. The eight new LULAC council grantee recipients will begin to implement their programs this fall, and the two model councils will continue their existing programs with Ford support for one additional school-year. For more information on Ford Driving Dreams, visit www.LULAC.org/ford.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.

About the League of United Latin American Citizens
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.

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