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McDonald’s Donates $500,000 in Hispanic Student Scholarships

Scholarship program further enhanced this year with new mentorship program to support exceptional students

To continue being part of the solution to close the education gap for Hispanic students in the U.S., Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), with the exclusive support of McDonald’s Hispanic owner/operators, will award five college-bound Hispanic high school seniors a $100,000 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship, increasing McDonald’s annual contribution to half a million dollars annually.

This year’s five scholarship recipients are: Darinelle Merced-Calderón, Archer, Fla.; Gianfranco Filice, Gilroy, Calif.; Helena Silva-Nichols, Phoenix, Ariz.; Sarah Jackson, Fresno, Calif.; and Elizabeth Manero, Hamilton, Va.

For the first time, this year all five RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients will also be paired with a McDonald’s mentor who will offer support and guidance throughout the students’ college years, fostering continued growth and success.

“The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute applauds McDonald’s for the addition of its first-ever Hispanic student mentorship program, which ensures that scholarship recipients will have the academic and moral support that is key to college success,” said Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) and former judge for the RMHC/HACER National Scholarship. “As longstanding educational partners, we are proud to support McDonald's and RMHC in its unparalleled commitment to the education of our U.S. Hispanic youth.”

"I am incredibly grateful to receive the RMHC/HACER National Scholarship, which is giving me the chance to pursue my dreams of a post-secondary education,” said Gianfranco Filice, one of this year’s five scholarship winners. “With the help of this scholarship, I hope to continue to grow into an impact-driven and results-oriented leader at Stanford University.”

The RMHC/HACER Scholarship was founded in 1985 by McDonald’s owner/operator Richard Castro of El Paso, Texas, with the support of RMHC, McDonald’s Corporation and local McDonald’s Hispanic owner/operators throughout the country. Castro, a former educator, established the scholarship after noticing increasing school drop-out rates among Hispanic students due to financial difficulties. He called upon his fellow owner/operators and the community at large to help remove the financial barrier of attending college.

In 2008, the national scholarship was added, offering four $100,000 awards to Hispanic students. Last fall, McDonald’s increased its annual donation to RMHC, adding a fifth RMHC/HACER National Scholarship to the existing four $100,000 awards.

“We are so proud of our RMHC/HACER winners and want to make sure they are armed with everything they need for success,” explained a champion of the program Ana Madan, member and Vice Chair of the McDonald’s Hispanic Owner Operator Association and one of the 45 percent of women and People of Color who make up McDonald’s Owner/Operator community. “Knowing they are often the first to go to school and leave home, providing a support system for them will make the transition into school and the business world a bit easier for them. We are very excited to have such wonderful students to mentor and look forward to seeing them grow throughout their career.”

To date, more than $31 million in local and national RMHC/HACER Scholarship monies have been awarded to more than 17,800 students. RMHC/HACER, which stands for Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources, counts on the support of RMHC, McDonald’s Corporation, McDonald’s Hispanic owner/operators and other donors for its local scholarships.

“At RMHC, we understand the importance of education and are committed to providing resources to students so they can reach their full potential,” said Sheila Musolino, president and CEO of RMHC. "With the support of McDonald’s, we’re able to provide hardworking, determined Hispanic students across the country opportunities to continue building promising futures.”  

It is fitting that HACER means “to do” in Spanish. National scholarship recipients are selected based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need. The rigorous selection process includes a completed application, essay and interviews with a distinguished panel of judges representing academia, business, media, RMHC and McDonald’s. Past scholarship recipients have attended prestigious universities, including Stanford University and Harvard University, and continued on to pursue careers in the medical, engineering and business fields, among others.

Further demonstrating its commitment to education, McDonald’s has also partnered with the USHLI and CoolSpeak for the fourth consecutive year to present the USHLI Student Leadership Summit this fall, bringing motivational speakers and educational resources to high schools across the country.

College-bound high school seniors are encouraged to apply for the upcoming 2017 RMHC/HACER Scholarship. Applications become available in October 2016 and awarded students are notified in the spring to coincide with college acceptances. 
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