Empowerment. It’s a cornerstone of Prospanica’s mission. Founded in 1988, Prospanica, formally the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, strives to empower the Hispanic and Latin community to achieve its full professional, educational and social potential. At a time when minimal diversity was seen at the executive level in business, Prospanica knew they needed to make a significant investment in the next generation of leaders.
Thus, the organization created its scholarship fund, assisting students pursuing undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. Since 1989 Prospanica has granted more than $5 million in scholarship funds to Hispanic and Latinx students who have entrepreneurial aspirations.
Through this fund, Prospanica has had the opportunity to have a great effect on the lives of countless students from across the nation, all with different backgrounds. Who are these students? They are the first of their family to attend college; they are DACA recipients; they are community leaders and activists; they are mothers and fathers going back to school later in life. Through the gift of the scholarship, Prospanica is connecting with the community in a meaningful way, aiding dreams as they become reality, empowering students.
At a young age, Kevin Garcia understood the importance of education and entrepreneurship. His parents, immigrants from Mexico, instilled in him the belief of striving to be the best possible version of himself in every situation. This belief followed him on the weekends when he helped his family with their booth at the local flea market and every weekday at school. It would eventually shape his dreams to work in a field that would one day allow him to support his family.
“My parents sacrificed a lot for us, and I believe that getting a college degree is my way of paying back my family’s sacrifices,” Kevin said.
Kevin is currently pursuing a dual degree in finance and psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. He was first introduced to Prospanica in 2017 after a schoolmate approached him about starting a chapter at their school, and once he learned more about the organization, he was hooked. He has been extremely active in his community and is honored to receive the 2019 Prospanica Scholarship.
“Knowing that being a part of an organization that invests in the education of [the Hispanic] community reinforces my commitment to [Prospanica and] advocating for our community,” he said.
With the help of this scholarship, Kevin will be able to continue his educational aspirations and his work in the community. Kevin is also the president of the Illinois Coalition Assisting Undocumented Students’ Education, an organization comprised of undocumented and DACA students dedicated to assisting others in their educational pursuits.
Roshelle Savdie Lechter
As she began her master’s degree in international business at Brandeis International Business School, Roshelle Savdie Lechter felt the weight of financial commitment required to continue her education. She was first introduced to Prospanica Boston through a friend, and as she spent more time in the organization, the more she identified with the sense of community Prospanica had cultivated. During this time, she had learned of and applied for the scholarship and was blown away by Prospanica’s generosity when she was selected as a recipient.
“Being in school for [five] years entails a huge financial responsibility, and thanks to the Prospanica scholarship and help from Brandeis International Business School, I was able to complete my studies,” Roshelle remembers.
Since completing her master’s degree, Roshelle moved to New York City and is now a content marketing specialist for Yopo.
Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders
Like Kevin and Roshelle, scholarship recipients often are very active in their communities, giving time and energy to improve their cities one step at a time. They go on to leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies. Through this crucial investment, Prospanica has been able to help add much-needed diversity to corporate America.
These major advancements do not happen within a vacuum. To truly affect change, Prospanica understood that they needed to work directly with those who would one day be employing these students. They began to partner with several major corporate partners with the same diversity goals as Prospanica. Microsoft, John Deere, and ExxonMobil stepped up to the plate in 2019 with generous contributions to the Prospanica Scholarship fund. These are only a few of the many corporations who’ve made a significant financial contribution to the fund.
While the immediate result and satisfaction is apparent, the Prospanica Scholarship benefit goes deeper than just to the recipients. Having a rich diversity at the executive level of major corporations provides young students and upcoming entrepreneurs role models with whom they closely identify. This, in turn, empowers the next generation to continue their educational endeavors, leave legacies of their own, and invest in their communities.
Learn more about the Prospanica Scholarship at prospanica.com/scholarship. The Prospanica Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations made to the Foundation are tax-deductible and go to programs like the Prospanica Scholarship. More information on the Foundation can be found at prospanica.org/donations/.