OAK BROOK, Ill., Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A strong supporter of higher education, McDonald's® USA announced today a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) to add a fifth RMHC®/HACER® National Scholarship to the existing four $100,000 awards, increasing its support to half a million dollars annually. With the financial support of this national scholarship, five Hispanic high school seniors will have the opportunity to make their college dreams a reality in fall 2016.
Established in 2008, the national scholarship is awarded each year to college-bound Hispanic students by RMHC, with the exclusive support of McDonald's Hispanic owner/operators. Since then, $3.1 million in financial assistance has been awarded to 31 students across the country.
"At RMHC, we understand the importance of education in creating life-long opportunities for students," said J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, president and CEO of RMHC. "This scholarship is just one way we, along with McDonald's, are committed to helping Hispanic students reach their full potential."
National scholarship recipients are selected based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need. The rigorous selection process includes a completed application and interviews with a distinguished panel of judges representing academia, business, media, RMHC and McDonald's.
"Before receiving this scholarship, it was uncertain whether I would be able to attend Stanford University," said Gabriela Lomeli, one of four recipients of the 2014 national scholarship. "Having my college expenses taken care of allowed me to focus on my studies and experience Stanford at its fullest. I owe my incredible college experience so far to the RMHC/HACER National Scholarship for making it possible."
In addition to one more scholarship, McDonald's and RMHC will also be launching an alumni program designed to strengthen its support of past national scholarship recipients like Lomeli.
"The purpose of the program will be to not only connect the scholarship alumni to one another, but also to continue to offer opportunities for professional and personal growth," said Patricia Diaz, director of U.S. Hispanic Marketing for McDonald's USA. "We're committed to these outstanding alumni and their success beyond the scholarship."
The RMHC/HACER Scholarship was founded in 1985 by McDonald's owner/operator and former educator Richard Castro after noticing increasing school dropout rates among Hispanic students due to financial difficulties. HACER, which stands for Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources, is a part of the RMHC U.S. Scholarship program, which counts on the support of McDonald's Corporation, McDonald's Hispanic owner/operators and the community at large.
Further demonstrating its commitment to education, McDonald's has also partnered with the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) and CoolSpeak for the third consecutive year to present the USHLI Student Leadership Summit this fall, bringing motivational speakers and educational resources to high schools across the country.
College-bound high school seniors are encouraged to apply for the 2016 RMHC/HACER Scholarship, which includes local and national awards ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Applications are available online at www.rmhc.org/rmhc-us-scholarships from October 1, 2015 to January 20, 2016.
McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at approximately 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.
About Ronald McDonald's House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Through its global network of 300 Chapters in more than 63 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and vital resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs, enable family-centered care, provide a bridge to quality health care, are a vital part of the health care continuum and give children and families the time they need to heal and cope better together. For more information, visit www.rmhc.org, follow RMHC on Twitter (@RMHC), or like RMHC on Facebook (Facebook.com/RMHC Global).
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Jennifer Blanchard Smith
SOURCE McDonald's USA