FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 17, 2011
Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros, Who Won Millions in Lottery, Partner with
Hispanic Scholarship Fund to Create a ‘New, College-Going Generation’ in
Southern California City
Cisneros’ Will Fund ‘Generation 1st Degree Pico Rivera’ with Goal of Having
An Even Bigger Impact Nationwide
PICO RIVERA, CALIF. May 17, 2011— Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros, who won $266 million last year in a multi-state lottery, will partner with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (www.hsf.net) to create a scholarship and community engagement campaign called “Generation 1st Degree Pico Rivera” with a starting amount of $1.25 million.
“We’re incredibly blessed by winning the lottery and from day one we knew we wanted to give back. The people of Pico Rivera mean so much to us and we believe helping more young people go to and graduate from college can make a real difference in their lives and the life of a community we love,” says Jacki Cisneros, whose grandfather was one of the founders of the city. Gilbert and Jacki have lived in Pico Rivera and maintain close ties to the city.
“Jacki and Gilbert are making an incredibly generous donation and, even more importantly, they are asking all who live in or care about Pico Rivera, to step up and make the All-American City famous. They want to leverage their gift to begin a new, college-going generation, in Pico Rivera and then beyond. This dovetails perfectly with our national initiative called ‘Generation 1st Degree’ which aims to get at least one member of every household to earn a college degree, because once there is college grad in the house, others in the family realize they too can pursue and earn a college education,” says Frank Alvarez, HSF president and CEO.
The Cisneros’ gift will accomplish the following:
- 50 scholarships of $2,500 each beginning in 2012 to students from El Rancho High School (the only high school in Pico Rivera); this will total $625,000 over five years;
- Community outreach programs in Pico Rivera to educate and encourage post-secondary learning ($375,000 over 5 years);
- Pico Rivera will serve as a lead community of excellence in what it takes to build “Generation 1st Degree” across the United States ($250,000 total over 5 years); and
- An agreement to create the Frank Terrazas Legacy Scholarship Program; Terrazas was Jacki’s grandfather and this endowment will build over time in order to provide scholarships into the future for Pico Rivera students.
“When we give our students a way forward, when we show them the doors of college are open to them, I know they will respond. We are grateful to Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros for this amazing gift and look forward to this important new partnership with HSF,” says Dr. Myrna Rivera Coté, El Rancho Unified School District superintendent.
“Generation 1st Degree” is an HSF initiative focused on closing the “degree gap” that exists between Hispanic students and their peers. HSF’s vision is for the U.S. Latino degree attainment rate to increase from 19 percent to 60 percent by 2025. HSF estimates that will result in a significant increase in Latino lifetime earnings—from the current $24 trillion to $47 trillion (in current dollars) by 2025 if the goal is met.
HSF’s outreach efforts in Pico Rivera will include materials developed and in use as part of “Your Words Today”, a national Ad Council public service campaign (www.yourwordstoday.org) developed as part of the Generation 1st Degree initiative, which aims to empower parents to be more informed about the college process in order to encourage their children to attend.
Although Pico Rivera is prominently a Hispanic community and HSF is the nation’s largest provider of scholarships to Hispanic Americans, the Cisneros’ gift will be open to all students. They must have a 3.0 grade point average. Other qualification details will be developed by the school district and a newly formed advisory council comprised of community leaders.
About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. As the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree. HSF has awarded over $300 million in scholarships over the past 35 years and has supported a broad range of outreach and education programs to help students and their families navigate collegiate life, from gaining admission and securing financial aid to finding employment after graduation. HSF envisions a future where every Latino household will have at least one college graduate, creating an enduring impact on the college outlook of Latino families nationwide, and strengthening the American economy for generations to come. For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund please visit: www.HSF.net.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Director of National Communications and Public Relations