Chicago, April 13, 2009 - The ASPIRA Association announced today a $1.65 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to significantly expand its ASPIRA Clubs, a Latino youth leadership drop-out prevention model that allows the organization to stem the exceedingly high drop out rate among Latino youth nationwide.
The announcement was made at the ASPIRA of Illinois' 40th Anniversary Gala in Chicago, which was sponsored by Wal-Mart and attended by over 700 guests, including a host of Illinois and Chicago elected officials and community leaders.
"This grant will allow ASPIRA to expand our signature program, the ASPIRA Clubs, to thousands of Latino youth -- not only in ASPIRA's seven states and Puerto Rico, but across the nation, reaching thousands of students to ensure they complete high school and go on to college," said Ronald Blackburn Moreno, president and CEO of ASPIRA. "We are very proud of our partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation and grateful for this generous grant. It once more demonstrates Wal-Mart's strong commitment to the Latino community and to the education of our youth. We will now be able to work with organizations across the country to bring this model to schools and communities that are struggling to increase the graduation rates of Latino students.
"For almost 50 years, the ASPIRA Leadership Clubs is schools have been an effective model to ensure Latino students graduate from school and go on to college," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. "We're proud to provide funding from the Wal-Mart Foundation to assure the continued success of ASPIRA Clubs and - more importantly - the continued success of Latino youth." With support from the Wal-Mart Foundation, ASPIRA will:
- expand the ASPIRA Clubs program in the states it operates in (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico);
- expand the program to other states through partnerships with local Latino non-profit organizations; and
- work with major national education organizations to extend the program to schools and school districts across the country.