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Tomorrow Fund awards inaugural grants

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Ret Boney

DURHAM, N.C. — A new charitable fund has awarded a total of $39,000 to three North Carolina colleges, which will use the money to smooth the path to higher education for young Latinos.

The Tomorrow Fund for Hispanic Students, administered by the Triangle Community Foundation, was created in the fall of 2009 and awarded its first round of grants this summer, with Meredith College, North Carolina A&T and High Point University each receiving $13,000.

Unlike a traditional scholarship fund, the Tomorrow Fund awards grants directly to schools, which in turn use the money either to help Hispanic students with school-related expenses, or to improve the college experience for Hispanics.

“Realizing that Hispanic students often come from families with high levels of poverty, and many are the first in their families to attend college, they asked colleges and universities to apply for grants,” Andrea Bazán, president of the Triangle Community Foundation, says of the fund’s advisory committee. “I think it’s a unique way to increase access to higher education for Hispanic students.”

The fund was created in August of last year by Diane Evia-Lanevi, a former journalist whose family came to the U.S. from Cuba when she was a child.

During its first year, the fund raised $49,000 and aims to exceed that amount in it second year.

Evia-Lanevi will have help from the Tomorrow Fund’s three advisory boards.

Its local advisory board is made up of 10 individuals, including Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, head of El Centro Hispano, and Nayely Perez-Huerta of El Pueblo.

The six-member corporate advisory board includes Brad Wilson, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, who hosted a fundraiser for the fund, bringing in almost $10,000.

And its national advisory board includes advocates like Teresa Rivero, program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Knowing these folks, I know they’ll want to exceed what they did last year,” says Bazán.

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