NEW YORK, October 8, 2015 — Latino U College Access, the venture of a Pace University alumna, was selected as 2015-2016 Social Enterprise in Residence at Pace University’s Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
The Social Enterprise in Residence program connects an innovative social enterprise with the Pace community, giving the resident organization the opportunity to fully participate in the academic community, and offering Pace students and faculty members a living case study, or learning laboratory, through which to study social enterprise in action.
Latino U College Access, Inc. is a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission to make college dreams a reality for first generation Latino youth. Through a series of programs that inform, guide and support students to apply, enroll and succeed in college, Latino U ensures that neither economic nor cultural barriers prevent students from reaching their full academic and life potential.
“There is a clear and overwhelming need for our programs,” says Shirley Buontempo, Executive Director and Founder of Latino U (Pace ’84, ’10). “Among Hispanics in the United States, only nineteen percent of twenty-five to thirty-four year-olds hold a college degree. This is less than half the national rate and lower than all other ethnic groups. Hispanic students often lack access to resources and guidance. Many go through this process entirely on their own, and often under-apply or don’t apply to college at all. Our goal is to advance equity and access to resources so that we can help students challenge the odds and transform their lives.”
The Wilson Center and Pace University have played an important part in Latino U College Access since its’ nascent stages. The organization was founded in 2012, after Shirley completed her Master in Public Administration at Pace. She articulated her vision for Latino U in a business plan assignment for her Social Entrepreneurship course in the program. And her final masters capstone research project explored the factors contributing to success among Latino students in higher education with a specific focus on how Latino youth prepare for the college application process. For Shirley, it was this research that shed light on the barriers and challenges many Hispanic students faced who are the first in their families to go to college.
“I, too, was a first-generation Latina college student. The education I received at Pace University has transformed my life and the opportunities before me. The support that we have received during the formation of Latino U College Access has enabled us to grow and succeed beyond expectation. I will be forever grateful to my alma mater,” says Ms. Buontempo
Several Pace students have had meaningful summer internships at Latino U and Pace MPA faculty and Shirley continue to stay in touch. “Showcasing Latino U College Access as our Social Enterprise in Residence will allow aspiring Pace students to see first-hand the results of rigorous academic training, a strong vision, and hard work, while also understanding the challenges and hurdles of starting and growing a social venture,” said Rebecca Tekula, PhD, Executive Director of Pace Universities’ Wilson Center.“Latino U College Access is a great example of a social venture grown at Pace.Through our in-residence program, we can strategically support Latino U’s ongoing growth and vision.”
About Latino U College Access
Latino U College Access, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with the mission of making college dreams a reality for first generation Latino youth. They are a resource center that provides college access and guidance to first-generation Latino youth and their families. They help students successfully maneuver the admissions and financial aid process to ensure that they are prepared to graduate college. Latino U College Access effects change through partnerships with local school districts, post-secondary institutions, local non-profits and businesses to bring programs directly to students and their families. In only three years, Latino U has received recognition and support from The College Board and The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics for their community work and efforts to increase college going and completion rates among Latinos. Through a series of programs that inform, guide and support students to apply, enroll and succeed in college, Latino U ensures that neither economic nor cultural barriers prevent students from reaching their full academic and life potential.
About the Wilson Center
The Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship is an institute of Pace University aiming to serve students and nonprofit organizations by encouraging more effective and efficient nonprofit management practices through research, colloquia and continuing education programs. The Center was launched with a gift from Helene and Grant Wilson, entrepreneurs and philanthropists whose involvement with nonprofits has convinced them that entrepreneurial management can help these organizations increase their impact.
About Pace University
Since 1906, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.