Ernesto Nieto honors two amazing NHI matriarchs with scholarship funds
National Hispanic Institute founder and president Ernesto Nieto — in the hopes of inspiring alumni and friends of the nonprofit organization to donate money for NHI scholarship funds this Christmas season — has started scholarship funds to honor two amazing matriarchs instrumental to the organization’s growth and development.
Nieto donated $2500 for scholarships for El Paso Leadership Academy students in honor of Tita Yanar, who was crucial to NHI’s growth and development in El Paso. Tita’s son Omar founded the school utilizing NHI principles and a student-centered approach to education, and the scholarships are earmarked to students at its two campuses who wish to go to Great Debate programs in 2022.
The NHI president also donated $2500 for Seguin High School students who are seeking scholarship funding for the 2022 Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session programs. This gift is in honor of his mother Esther Nieto, and the Dec. 22 announcement date coincides with her birthday. Esther Nieto was a community organizer and youth mentor in Houston whose tireless work and affirming outlook on faith, civic engagement and life itself was vital in how her son approached founding NHI in 1979 and then guiding it through more than four decades of growth and evolution.
Nieto noted, of the gift to El Paso students, that Tita’s work in El Paso inspired Omar to found the school and to lead it into its second decade of growth. As for the gift to Seguin students to honor his mother, he notes that the town was special to her. She spent some of her formative years there before moving to Houston, and even picked cotton there before emerging as the leader who would inspire NHI’s approach to Latino leadership education.
“I’d like to see our alumni do what I’m doing,” Nieto noted. “They can go back to their high schools and their communities, sponsor kids to go to NHI programs, and build community equity.”