For the seventh year in a row, the Council of Mexican Federations of North America (COFEM) granted scholarships to 32 low-income Latino students, a total of $340,000.
Each student, in average, took home about $1,000 to cover their college expenses.
To grant the scholarships, the review committee considered a minimal Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0, financial struggle and their immigrant status as undocumented students. They also took into account the students’ effort to serve the community.
“We have granted scholarships of more than $330,000 to more than 310 students since 2008, and they increase every year,” said Anabella Bastida, director of COFEM, who added that the scholarships were established to help the undocumented students attend college.
Silvia Marin, president of COFEM, said that the scholarships are not only an economic support but also a step to stimulate the knowledge and to favor the conditions so young people achieve success.
The first funds for this scholarship program were donated by Dr. Douglas X. Patiño, a philanthropist who advocates for education opportunities for young Latinos.
“Almost 50 percent of the funds are donated by Dr. Patiño or come from people we contact through him. In recognition of his effort, we decided to name one of the scholarships after him,” explained Bastida.
“I love math. Although I will never be a politician nor a lawyer, as a mathematician I am willing to look after my community,” said Figueroa during the awards ceremony.
Achievement Award for La Opinión
Efraín Escobedo, vice president of Public Policy and Civic Commitment at California Community Foundation granted La Opinión an achievement award, not only for reporting on immigrants’ struggles but also for being part of the changes the community needs. The award was received by Damián Mazzotta, general manager of the newspaper.
“COFEM is a key organization in the community and for that reason we have invited it to participate in a joint initiative with the 20 most important organizations to create La Opinión’s Community Council,” said Mazzotta who attended the ceremony with Gabriel Lerner, general editor of La Opinión.
“We launched altogether a campaign to encourage school attendance, a long term fight so children attend school; the community guide to have, in one online and print place, all the services these organizations offer; and finally, we are part of the Protect Yourself Coalition! … Become a Citizen now! aimed at promoting citizenship and vote,” he said.
COFEM also recognized María Blanco, director of the Legal Services for the Undocumented People of the University of California in Davis, for her outstanding work with Latinos.