The Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDFKC) program is working to help Hispanic students from local communities deal with the financial troubles of college that many students face. Within the Kansas City metropolitan area, Hispanic individuals in particular are less likely to be able to graduate college, creating a 17% gap in degree attainment compared to any other adult group according to UMKC.
As an additional challenge, some Hispanic students may be ineligible to receive financial aid. Students who remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) and undocumented students are unable to apply for FAFSA. This means they have no access to federal loans or grants, and they must pay entirely out of pocket.
To combat this, the HDFKC created the Cambio Para Cambio campaign, or “change for change,” which will match donations dollar for dollar until Oct. 15.
Genesis Zuniga, a student at UMKC, explained how the HDF has helped her during her college experience.
“The Hispanic Development Fund has played a huge role in my life,” Zuniga said. “It is a big reason as to why I’m still in school today. I have had to provide for myself since the age of 15, and being able to pay off school seemed impossible to me. The Hispanic Development Fund has given me the opportunity to continue my schooling and pursuing the teaching career.”
Daisy Garcia Montoya, a former board member and now president of the UMKC Latinx Student Union (LSU), shared her personal experience with the HDFKC and its resources.
“I received support from the Hispanic Development Fund, and now I am able to help raise money for scholarships for undocumented students who need the help,” said Montoya.
Currently, the fund has raised over $17,000, with more than 200 individual donations. In past years, HDFKC has raffled off Royals’ tickets, held dances and sold desserts to help raise money.
This year, students helping raise the money have had to get very creative in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. One way student volunteers around the metro are raking in donations is by selling protective face masks that read “I stand with Dreamers.”
Additionally, the LSU is holding their own fund raising efforts on behalf of the HDFKC. Members are selling Cambio Para Cambio merchandise, tickets for an Apple Airpods raffle and food from La Chiva Loca, a Colombian food truck. LSU even hosted a socially distanced speed dating event, where the proceeds from food and snacks went to the campaign.
In 2019 LSU raised over $5,000 for Cambio Para Cambio, which through the matching program became $10,000. The group hopes to hit similar numbers this year.
Students who wish to be considered for the scholarships must apply every year. The deadline to apply is in March.