The Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDF), a regional affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, recently celebrated 34 years of its scholarship program alongside over 300 HDF Scholars. The ceremony, held at Johnson County Community College’s Yardley Hall, awarded $619,905 to Hispanic high school and college students from the Kansas City metro area.
In 1983, leaders of the local Hispanic community along with the Hall Family Foundation created HDF with the intention of helping Latinos in the Kansas City area give back to their communities. In line with its mission to empower Latino families in Kansas City, HDF has given more than $3 million in grants to organizations that support the local Hispanic community. This year, to ensure success in local students, HDF focused on helping organizations centered on education.
HDF alumni, Jackie Madrigal and Chato Villalobos spoke to guests and scholars about their experience with the Hispanic Development Fund and how their involvement in the organization has helped them navigate their professional lives as Latino leaders in their communities.
Chato Villalobos, an 18-year member of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, was the 2017 recipient of the Consensus Civility Award and has been recognized by Mayor Sly James and the City Council for his dedication to immigrant communities in Kansas City. He also writes and performs as a proud member of the Latino Writers Collective.
Jackie Madrigal works as a teacher at Shawnee Mission North High School. Her emphasis focuses on the study of English, ranging from English Language Learners to United States Latino Literature, which is the only high school-level course of its kind in the Midwest. Jackie spoke of her own high school experience as a Latino student and how it propelled her desire to make Latino history and culture more accessible to students.
Keynote speaker Daniel Borzutsky drew from his experience as an educator at Wilbur Wright College working with Latino and immigrant students. He emphasized the importance of students learning to advocate for themselves and their community. Daniel is the son of Chilean Immigrants and is a Chicago-based writer, poet and translator. He is the 2016 winner of the National Book Award for Poetry for his collection, The Performance of Becoming Human.
Scholars accepted awards ranging from $500 to $4,000 and expressed appreciation to all of the generous donors who support HDF and allow students to pursue their dreams.
The Hispanic Development Fund is a regional affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and works with area nonprofits, organizations, schools and community members to provide leadership and represent a voice for the Latino community.
Authored by: Hope Thompson, Communications Intern