Ford and LULAC Deliver $10,000 to Empower Latino Students in Silver Spring

Dr Butler Ford driving dreams

Joedis Avila, Community Outreach Manager, Ford Motor Company Fund and Dr. Yvette Butler, Director, LULAC Council in Silver Spring, Maryland and Founder of GapBuster Learning Center. Photo: Robert Figueroa

• Ford Motor Company Fund and the League of United Latin American Citizens announce 2014 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grant winners

• Winning LULAC Councils #21006 in Silver Spring, Maryland, receives grant to continue 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, July 11, 2014 – 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 around the country 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. Additionally, two 2012 grantee recipients were selected to receive a $10,000 grant to continue their programs. 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.”

LULAC Council #21006 in Silver Spring, Maryland, was selected to receive a $10,000 grant to continue their program with Ford support for an additional school year given their success. Council #21006 partnered with GapBuster, a volunteer-based program that has helped more than 2,000 students in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland reach their academic dreams since 1999. This new grant is to expand the Leaders-in-Training (LIT) program to 30 students from 9th grade at High Point and Parkdale High School students. The LIT program supplements the academic needs of at-risk and/or potential gang involved minorities through a LifeSkills curriculum, a research-validated substance abuse prevention program to reduce the risk of alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse.

“We are proud to receive a renewal grant of $10,000 from Ford Driving Dreams. This grant demonstrates confidence in our work to address the dropout rate among Hispanic students,” said Dr. Yvette Butler, President of the LULAC Council #21006 in Silver Spring, Maryland. “We have a lot of work to do to help our children achieve academic success. In Maryland, only 72 percent of Hispanic students enrolled in public high schools graduate on time. With Ford Driving Dreams support, we have been able to make a positive impact in our community. In addition, funds from Ford Driving Dreams has allowed us to leverage the opportunity to become a 21st Century Community Learning Center.”

A recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from 2014 indicates 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. 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 drop 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.

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

Posted in gapbuster news, News

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