DETROIT – The Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) at Wayne State University today announced the DTE Energy Foundation awarded a $330,000 grant that will fund scholarships to open doors for students from underrepresented communities through the DTE Energy Foundation/MiHC Scholarship. This grant is the DTE Foundation’s latest commitment to CLLAS, which provides equitable access to quality university education for students interested in U.S. Latino/a and Latin-American cultural studies while enhancing diversity on campus.
“We are so grateful to the DTE Energy Foundation for this historic gift to our Center to support deserving students driven to succeed,” said Dr. Víctor Figueroa, acting director, CLLAS. “With these funds, our students can prioritize their path toward a college degree.”
CLLAS fulfills its mission of delivering opportunities for higher education to students from underrepresented communities through recruitment, advising, learning communities and academic training – and career and graduate school preparedness. Around 70% of CLLAS students are first-generation college students, and a majority are Pell-eligible or come from households deemed as high-need by the WSU Office of Student Financial Aid. Recipients will be able to use the scholarship for tuition or other expenses, such as room and board.
“At the DTE Energy Foundation, we recognize the significant and unique contributions our Latino and Latina friends, family members and neighbors make not only within our organization, but in our schools and communities as well,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “Through our $330,000 commitment to – and longstanding partnership with – CLLAS, together, we’ll empower our future leaders to achieve their dreams and continue to drive our city, state and nation forward.”
2020 DTE Energy/MiHC Scholarship recipients
The first DTE Energy Foundation/MiHC Scholarship funds were awarded in the fall 2020 academic term to Ana Estefania Sandoval and Mindi Ochoa; the remaining funds have been placed into a permanent endowment fund to be awarded to future eligible students each year.
Ana is a first-year student at Wayne State University studying health science. She graduated from Western International High School in Detroit where she participated in the MiHC Scholars Program. Mindi is a first-year student studying criminal justice. She graduated from Melvindale High School and joined the MiHC College Scholars Program in the fall. Both students completed the Summer Enrichment Program at CLLAS and are currently participating in its first-year learning community, which features mentoring, specific general education courses, and other cultural and academic activities.
“I am determined to earn my degree and make an impact in my community as a pediatrician or pediatric nurse,” said Ana Estefania Sandoval. “The scholarship from the DTE Energy Foundation and the academic support from MiHC and CLLAS have helped me to develop confidence and know that I can achieve great things.”
The DTE Energy Foundation has a long history of supporting the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, including gifts totaling $200,000 to the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) to help incoming first-generation college students succeed in core classes and smoothly transition to college-level academics. SEP welcomed its 16th cohort of students this summer, modifying the program to an entirely virtual format.
Additional scholarship funding
The DTE Foundation also awarded a $5,000 grant to Wayne State University to support the Jorge L. Chinea scholarship, which will be awarded to a student who is earning a minor in Latino/a and Latin American studies at WSU, with preference given to those with a demonstrated commitment to community service and engagement.
Priority for this scholarship will go to students who are participating in the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative (MiHC), an organization that provides academic and career support programs to students in high school and beyond. MiHC’s strategic focus is improving Hispanic high school and college graduation rates in Detroit. JoAnn Chávez, senior vice president and chief legal officer, DTE Energy, serves on MiHC’s board of directors.
“The DTE Energy Foundation is helping to fill a great need in our community,” said Anita Martinez, executive director of MiHC. “We are excited to partner with CLLAS in our efforts to support students to and through college.”
CLLAS was established in 1971 as the Latino En Marcha Leadership Training Program and became the Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies shortly thereafter. It was born from grassroots community efforts to establish an educational program to help train leaders led by Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED) and New Detroit, Inc. More than 2,000 students have participated in CLLAS programs over 50 years, including many leaders and professionals in Detroit and the Southeast Michigan Community. CLLAS also offers university courses in Latino/a and Latin American studies and an academic minor.
The next round of DTE/MiHC scholarships will be awarded in fall 2021.
About the DTE Energy Foundation
The DTE Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2019, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $16 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company's service territories. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in communities across Michigan in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Visit DTEFoundation.com to learn more.
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a premier institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 27,000 students.