Donations Needed for Esperanza’s ‘Fiesta of Hope’ College Scholarships

IMG_20150502_105309 (3)A special report by The Tremonster

Marcia Moreno, Associate Director of Esperanza, Inc., is a woman on a mission.

On the first two Saturdays of May, she, her energetic staff, and 40 prominent volunteers in the Cleveland community rolled up their sleeves and rigorously processed and interviewed two floors worth of 2015 Esperanza college scholarship applicants.  This was in preparation for Esperanza’s annual “Fiesta of Hope” event, where the scholarship recipients are celebrated.

Right now, Esperanza is working around the clock to collect an additional $40,000 to award all of the qualifying college scholarship applications before the June 19th “Fiesta of Hope” event.

“We’re trying to create awareness for the need of scholarships,” Moreno explained.  “We have 144 scholarship applicants now.  In the ideal world, we would like to have scholarship money for all of them.  We want to highlight how great these students are so that on June 19th – which is our “Fiesta of Hope” event, when we award the scholarships – we are able to say all 144 of our applicants were able to get a scholarship.”

With its headquarters located on the corner of W. 25th Street and Clark Avenue, Esperanza (the name means “hope” in Spanish) exists to improve the academic achievement of Hispanics in Greater Cleveland by supporting and encouraging students to graduate high school, and to promote post-secondary educational attainment.

If you or your family can help Esperanza to achieve its goal, please go to Esperanza’s Donate Page (, and enter “Esperanza Scholarship” in the space to “designate your donation for a specific fund or purpose.”

The Fiesta of Hope Scholarship Luncheon will be held on Friday, June 19th, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, 24 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113.  The event has been held for over 20 years to celebrate the accomplishments of Hispanic Youth in Cleveland, and will honor Jose C. Feliciano for his commitment to Esperanza and Greater Cleveland.

Of the 144 Scholarship Applicants for 2015, 43% are returning recipients; 101 (70%) are female; 40% are high school graduates from local schools including Lincoln West, John Hay, St. Ignatius, and Cleveland Central Catholic, to name a few. Furthermore, 90% of Esperanza’s scholarship applicants are residents of Cuyahoga County, with most coming from Cleveland (60%).

If you are interested in establishing a scholarship for one of the Esperanza student applicants, your scholarship can take many forms:  “We can establish a family scholarship – between 10 of our family members, we all put in $100…and we have a $1,000 scholarship there,” Moreno said.  Don’t be deterred by red tape; Esperanza makes it easy to help.  According to Moreno, “It’s so easy to establish a scholarship.  It’s very concrete and it’s a very reasonable price – from $1,000 to full tuition – but $1,000 is something that a lot of families do.”  Where does all the money go?  “100% of the funds go to the student,” Moreno boasted, “and it’s tax-deductible!”

Moreno hopes to fund all qualifying scholarship applicants.  She said, “There are many families that have the means, and that maybe grew up in this community and want to give back; maybe past recipients of a scholarship 20 years ago, now in their careers, may want to help.”

Esperanza’s college scholarship application process begins when a student fills out an online application requesting applicant demographics, grades, and thoughtful answers to essay questions.  Next, the student goes through one of the most important pieces of the scholarship program: an interview with three members of the community.  The community members have a scoring process – that’s the only way Esperanza can narrow down the cream of the applicant crop to the number of scholarships they can afford.  Although they would love to have 144 scholarships funded, last year Esperanza was proud to have raised enough to fund 103 of their applicants with scholarships.  Moreno said, “We’re committed to at least have 103, but to go from 103 to 144 is about $40,000.  So, we have to select the best of the best.”

If you or your family can help Esperanza to achieve its goal, please go to Esperanza’s Donate Page (, and enter “Esperanza Scholarship” in the space to “designate your donation for a specific fund or purpose.”

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