Research shows that when parents are involved in their children’s education, they are more likely to finish high school and attend college. The Foundation offers a nine-week course to help parents understand class requirements, how and why to set up meetings with teachers and counselors, how to assist with homework, and how and when to file college applications and financial aid forms. The Foundation partners with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) to train parents in low-income, predominantly Latino areas and has already graduated 2,700 participants. When parents graduate from this course, their children have a 90% high school graduation rate, compared to 62% overall in Los Angeles. In fall 2015, the Foundation began an expansion of its parent engagement program to Mexico City, where it graduated 187 parents from its inaugural class and has continued expanding into additional schools.
Latinas are incredibly entrepreneurial, starting businesses at eight times the rate of men in the U.S. in recent years. However, they often lack the access to capital and training needed to start and grow their businesses. To bridge this gap, the Eva Longoria Foundation has partnered with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to provide microloans and business training to low-income, Latina entrepreneurs. Since spring 2013, the Foundation has provided loans to 152 Latina business owners through partnerships with Accion Texas and Accion Diego, helping to create or retain 397 jobs.
More than 700,000 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are currently going unfilled in the United States, yet only a small percentage of Latinas are graduating with the skills to fill them. Since October 2015, the Foundation has helped more than 1,100 Latinas grow their STEM skill sets through extracurricular programming in Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas. The Foundation is currently partnering with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio to provide an after-school program that strengthens student knowledge of STEM skills like coding and robotics as well as their awareness of STEM education and careers paths. Through a partnership with Feeding America, we are able to provide backpacks of nutritious food to our San Antonio participants each weekend.
The Foundation’s research shows that extracurricular participation and mentorship tend to increase high school graduation rates for Latinas. Since 2014, the Foundation has partnered with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Corpus Christi to run a mentorship program that has teached more than 300 Latinas about leadership and healthy living and exposes them to successful Latina mentors in their community. Through a partnership with Feeding America, we are able to provide backpacks of nutritious food to our Corpus Christi participants each weekend. In August 2015, the Foundation began an expansion of its Latina mentorship network to Los Angeles in partnership with Step Up and Bank of America. We are entering our second year of sponsoring a confidence-building program at a Los Angeles high school, designed to connect girls with mentors who resemble them and foster a college-going culture.
80% of Latinas aspire to go to college, but one in three drops out of high school and only 15% earn a college degree. To better understand what leads Latinas to finish high school and attend college, the Foundation conducted a study in partnership with the UCLA Civil Rights Project. Instead of focusing on what does not work, the Foundation focused on what leads to success, such as involvement in extracurricular activities, exposure to Latino teachers and counselors, high quality math instruction from a young age, parent engagement, and access to financial aid. This research guides the Foundation’s programs and influences national efforts to better educate Latinas. The full report can be accessed here.
The Foundation engages the public in supporting Latina education and entrepreneurship by highlighting the untapped potential of Latinas and educating the Latina community about available opportunities. Eva Longoria has discussed Latina issues at numerous high profile venues, including a hearing at the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference, and the National Council de la Raza (NCLR) National Conference, among many others. The Foundation is able to spotlight and galvanize support for Latina issues at these events.