A consortium of Miami-Dade County organizations led by Florida International University has won a $1.5 million ENLACE grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to enhance educational opportunities for Hispanics, the fastest-growing demographic group in the United States.
Launched in 1997, the ENLACE Miami! initiative is one of only thirteen nationally funded coalitions in the intensely competitive program and one of only two in the Southeast. A consortium led by the University of South Florida in Tampa is the other.
Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE), a six-year, $28-million initiative of the Kellogg Foundation, seeks to foster greater educational access and success for Latino students by promoting Hispanic colleges and communities. The initiative seeks to link Hispanic-servicing higher-education institutions, K-12 schools, and community organizations in regional partnerships that promote the academic success of Latino students.
"As the nation's top university in the graduation of Hispanic students at the bachelor and master levels, we're tremendously proud to lead the ENLACE Miami! initiative," said FIU president Modesto A. Maidique. "We and our partners hope to realize the maximum possible benefit from this $1.5 million in funding to foster greater opportunity and greater success for Hispanic students in South Florida and beyond."
ENLACE Miami! was one of over 100 such consortia nationwide that applied in 1999 during the program's planning phase; the Kellogg Foundation announced eighteen awardees in January of 2000, with each group receiving a planning grant of up to $100,000.
The thirteen consortia now being funded will confront "pipeline" issues such as the failure to finish high school, low academic achievement and expectations, poor performance in courses such as math and science, the lack of motivation and positive identity, lack of parental involvement, and inadequate access to information about resources and opportunities.
"Perhaps even more helpful than the funding is the broad, community-wide partnership that the ENLACE program spurred us to create," said Dr. Gustavo Roig, director of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Pre-College Education at FIU and principal investigator on the ENLACE Miami! effort. "This holistic approach, involving many different organizations and schools, will serve our students well for years to come."