As researchers see increasing college enrollment as an effective tool in mitigating poverty, it is clear that investing in education for women in El Paso will benefit the entire community.
The female poverty rate in El Paso is the highest in Texas with more than 106,000 girls and women living in poverty. Women are the primary earners in 53 percent of households in poverty in El Paso.
Since a high school diploma is no longer enough for a life of financial security, it becomes all the more important to help women get the education they need to give themselves and their families a better life.
Scholarships can bring opportunities for women to gain marketable skills and narrow the pay gap with men.
The Women’s Fund of El Paso raises money primarily through its Power of Purse event to provide scholarships each year to women in El Paso based on financial need.
Here is a look at some of our 2016 scholarship recipients:
Claribel Bermejillo is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UT El Paso. Her goal is to become a neuroscientist and study behavior and brain connection.
Marylou Garcia is majoring in biological sciences at UT El Paso, where she served as a peer leader in her chemistry class. She has set her goal to become a speech pathologist.
Maria de Lourdes Lopez is working on her bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies at UT El Paso. She would like to continue with a master’s degree in Chicano studies after she graduates in spring 2017.
Andrea Amato is a nursing student at UT El Paso. She expects to graduate in spring 2017 and would like to continue her education and obtain a master’s degree.
The more money the Women’s Fund can raise, the more scholarships it provide to women in our community. To find out how you can help support scholarships for women in need, click HERE.
The Women’s Fund of El Paso welcomes four new board members this year: Laurie Banitch, Bonnie S.Y. Escobar, Ann Herkenhoff and Vanessa G. Leon. They are four wonderful, hardworking women who will bring in great ideas and we are delighted to get to work with. Here you can meet them:
Laurie Banitch is the Vice President of Strategic Planning for The Borderplex Alliance. Ms. Banitch is currently leading the implementation of the Borderplex 2020 Regional Strategic Plan, which is a five-year effort aimed at improving quality of industry and education across our region’s key sectors in El Paso, Southern New Mexico, and Cd. Juarez. Over 150 business and community leaders participate across nine different task forces that are aligned to the region’s target industries and other areas of focus.
Prior to joining The Borderplex Alliance, Ms. Banitch served as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, providing financial analysis and management consulting services to a number of federal agencies and private institutions in the financial services and health care industries. Ms. Banitch has a B.S. in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University and a M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Bonnie S.Y. Escobar currently serves as Director for Strategic Development at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence. She was formerly the Managing Partner for MJD & Associates providing management and organizational consulting services to private corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations and community leaders in the border region. Bonnie has also served as a Vice President at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and formerly as leadership director for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national non-profit organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of U.S. Latinos. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Public Administration. Bonnie is a committed community activist who strives to put her ideas into action, working to advance women, Latinos, and fellow El Pasoans. An active community leader, she sat on the board of the YWCA, El Paso Symphony and the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center.
Bonnie enjoys spending time with her family. She is an avid knitter, fan of jazz, rock and art. She follows baseball and tennis and loves to travel.
Vanessa G. Leon is the Fundraising Manager for United Way of El Paso County. In this role, she is responsible for managing and executing the annual workplace campaigns for the public and private sectors. Vanessa is an El Paso native and has worked in the nonprofit community for the past five years. Prior to joining United Way of El Paso County, she helped lead the fundraising efforts for El Paso Children’s Hospital with the University Medical Center Foundation. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso where she received a B.A. in Organizational & Corporate Communication with a minor in Creative Writing. Vanessa is also a current board member with BAR (Border Arts Residency).
Thank you for being part of the team!