gtk SWA-HISPANIC-SCHOLARSHIPSouthwest Airlines currently garners community partnerships with more than 400 nonprofit organizations across the nation; that is more than four times the number of cities we currently serve. Among those nonprofit organizations, we have proudly supported the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) for 12 years. By partnering with HSF, we are able to make a difference in the lives of Latinos throughout the nation. Southwest Airlines supports many organizations that focus on making the dream of education a reality. While there are a great number of Latinos who aspire to graduate from college, it is simply not a possibility for many students without the help of organizations like HSF.

It is an honor to play a role in shaping the future of these young men and women. Since we have supported HSF for more than a decade, I have had the privilege of seeing the long-term impact HSF has made on the students they help. I feel confident that the students they have helped would agree that they would not be where they are today without the unwavering support of HSF.

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Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the nation’s leading organization working to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree. 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.

As President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of scholarships to deserving Hispanics, Frank Alvarez knows firsthand the hardships faced by many of the students who are helped by HSF. Alvarez himself was one of those students.

“I joined the military because I dropped out of college and because career opportunities were almost non-existent at the time,” Alvarez tells Giving Back Magazine. “It wasn’t until I returned that I was able to enroll in East L.A. Community College and earned my AA degree with honors. That was the beginning of my career.” Alvarez went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University and earned his Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

For the past five years, Alvarez has been President and CEO of HSF. He joined the organization following more than 30 years of executive healthcare leadership experience. He says the best part of his job is the satisfaction of seeing young people receive an HSF scholarship and embark on a journey to achieve their dreams. “Their story is MY story,” he says. “Had I not qualified for and received a Ford Foundation Scholarship, I would not have been able to continue my studies, to be the first in my family to graduate from college, nor would I have been able to send all four of my children to college and see them start their own journey to success.”

Education is what Alvarez calls “the point of inflection in my life,” the point where his life changed, and along with his, the lives of his children and grandchildren. “Like other peoples before, the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, and others, Latinos are poised to grab the next rung on the ladder to the middle class,” he notes. “By moving the generally perceived academic finish line from high school to a college degree, Latinos will be a point of inflection for their own family, their community and further strengthen this great country.”

For Alvarez and for HSF, the work is just beginning and, for the sake of our country, must continue. Hispanics are the youngest and fastest-growing group in the United States numbering over 50 million. Hispanic youth make up nearly a quarter of all children in U.S. public schools. Currently, Latinos are behind other groups in education and especially college degrees, with only 19% of Latinos holding a 2-year degree or higher, but this is something HSF is working to change.

Alvarez further points out that by 2018, two thirds of all new jobs created will require some college education and, we must ALL be ready or American enterprise will be threatened. “We all have a stake in this outcome,” he says.

“Latino college attainment is not a Hispanic issue alone, it MUST be an American Priority,” he continues. “The future of our country depends upon ALL of its citizens being better educated. The demographic projections conclude that by the middle of the 21st century, one-third of the U.S. labor force will be Latino. If that work force is under-educated, we ALL suffer.”

For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund please visit: