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Hunt Family Foundation Donates $2 Million To Support UTEP Sun Bowl Project

UTEP President Diana Natalicio and Director of Athletics Jim Senter today announced the Hunt Family Foundation has made a commitment to give $2 million to assist in the renovation of the Sun Bowl stadium. 

“We are grateful to the Hunt family, longtime supporters of The University of Texas at El Paso, for their generosity as we continue to modernize this iconic campus venue,” President Natalicio said. “The Sun Bowl, which recently celebrated its 50th birthday, has been the site of many memorable moments for all of us at UTEP and in the surrounding region. The Hunt family’s generous gift will help ensure that this facility continues to serve the campus and community as a premier venue for major events for many years to come.”  

The gift to UTEP Athletics will launch construction of the Hunt Family Sky Lounge, replacing the existing Captain’s Club on the west side of the stadium.  The new lounge is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019.

Director of Athletics Jim Senter said the Sun Bowl stadium renovation project is being conducted in two phases.  Phase One included comprehensive work to modernize the stadium’s west concourse.  Senter explained that Phase Two will include the new Hunt Family Sky Lounge and other major venue enhancements. 

Josh Hunt, Executive Vice President of Hunt Companies and President of the Hunt Family Foundation said, “For generations, our family has been a supporter of UTEP and that certainly includes its athletic programs.  UTEP is a critical component in the economic development of this region and the Sun Bowl plays a major role in that as well as in our quality of life.  The Sun Bowl Restoration Project will make the stadium a better, more competitive facility and we are pleased to be a part of this initiative.”

“We are so grateful to the Hunt family for their contribution to the Sun Bowl revitalization,” Senter said. 

“The excitement for this project continues to grow, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of tremendous community partners like the Hunt family.”  Senter added that UTEP fans can now purchase loge boxes and club seating in the new Sun Bowl. 

The Hunt Family Foundation, a private family foundation founded in 1987 by Woody Hunt and his wife Gayle, supports not-for-profit organizations and initiatives that focus on the Paso del Norte region which includes El Paso County, Texas; Doña Ana County, New Mexico; Otero County, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México.

The Foundation also supports organizations whose programs impact the state of Texas, and the nation as a whole. Charitable giving is focused on healthcare, education, arts, local heritage, quality-of-life initiatives, and regional economic development.

For more information, visit the Sun Bowl Project Website or contact the Miner Athletic Club via phone (915-747-8759) or e-mail (mac@utep.edu).

Arrowhead Center’s Camp Innoventure Expands to More Schools in NM, El Paso

More students around New Mexico and the region got a taste of what it’s like to create their own business this summer as Camp Innoventure expanded its reach, introducing entrepreneurial thinking and business concepts to middle school students from 19 regional communities.

Camp Innoventure, part of the Innoventure suite of K-12 entrepreneurship education programs from Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, offers students in sixth through eighth grade a chance to see their creative business ideas go from concept to reality and gives them a taste of real-world competition for success.

The students who participate in this week-long camp get to brainstorm business ideas, write a mission statement, put together a business model and create a product to sell at a market in their community.

With support for New Mexico camps from a grant from the Colorado-based Daniels Fund, Camp Innoventure has already hosted sessions in Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Deming, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences, and Clovis.

The Santa Fe Camp Innoventure session was hosted by Meow Wolf, which provided space for camp participants to work, along with tickets for campers to enjoy Meow Wolf’s unique immersive art experience.

“Hosting Camp Innoventure in the David Loughridge Learning Center at Meow Wolf was a true honor,” said Craig Thomas McAdams, education coordinator for Meow Wolf. “Witnessing these kids cultivate their creativity and make products to then sell at the flea market was incredible, and I think we will all remember this experience for the rest of our lives.”

Camp sessions continue this month in Alamogordo, Clovis, Farmington, Mesilla and Las Cruces. Registration is still open for several upcoming camps; dates and registration information are available online Tuition for the weeklong camp is $40, including materials, and scholarships are available for a limited number of student participants.

Also new this summer, Camp Innoventure partnered with the El Paso-based Success Through Technology Education Foundation to bring sessions to schools in El Paso and Tornillo, Texas.

Patty Hernandez, a college and career readiness teacher at William D. Slider Middle School, led the launch of the El Paso pilot program, which was fully sponsored by the STTE Foundation, allowing 14 students at the school to participate at no cost. She said the program was “awesome!”

“NMSU provided all the instructional materials and debit cards for the student projects,” she said. “Our kids learned many skills and started to think like entrepreneurs. They enjoyed making their products and selling the final product at the flea market.”

In addition to the week-long camps, Innoventure partnered with the TRIO Upward Bound summer program at NMSU and the State 4-H Conference to provide summer entrepreneurship workshops to students from Hatch, Alamogordo and Dona Ana County.

Camp Innoventure participants in Santa Fe work on their products, preparing to sell them at the Santa Fe Flea Market at the Jackalope. Santa Fe’s camp session was generously hosted by Meow Wolf, which provided space in the David Loughridge Learning Center all week and tickets for campers to enjoy Meow Wolf’s unique immersive art experience. (NMSU Photo)

Innoventure Deputy Director Lydia Hammond, who oversees the Camp Innoventure program, said she’s always inspired by the campers’ creative ideas.

“Watching young entrepreneurs develop their product idea and take ownership of their business is part of what makes this program so special,” she said. “Supporting the students to make some money really brings in a unique element.”

Hammond said the partnerships with local organizations and community leaders were instrumental in allowing the program to expand to serve more than three times the number of students as the previous year.

“We could not have brought this hands-on experience to more than 260 students in New Mexico and El Paso without the hard work of the teachers and community leaders who served as camp leaders,” she said, “or the tremendous support and enthusiasm of our sponsors and partner organizations.”

In addition to support from the Daniels Fund, the Hunt Family Foundation and STTE Foundation, Camp Innoventure’s sponsors and partners included the Sandoval Economic Alliance, Luna County Economic Development Office, Capital Power and EDF Energy, Quality Center for Business at San Juan Community College, Meow Wolf, Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails West and SBDC offices around New Mexico.

Planning is already underway to continue expanding the number of Camp Innoventure locations next summer. Communities and organizations interested in hosting a session can contact Hammond at 575-646-5230 or lh@nmsu.edu.

To hear from past Camp Innoventure participants, click here; to see participants at the 2016 Deming Camp Innoventure session in action, click here.

For more information about Innoventure programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, visit the Innoventure website. For information about Arrowhead Center and economic development in the region, visit the Arrowhead Center website.

Author:  Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

Hunt Family Foundation Commits $12M to Advance Education Attainment in El Paso

The Hunt Family Foundation (HFF) announced Tuesday it will grant $12 million dollars to the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), a not-for-profit education policy and advocacy group focused on creating measurable outcomes and dedicated to closing the achievement gap for El Paso County students.

“This is an investment in our region’s students, teachers, and future workforce. If we want to get serious about El Paso’s economic future, then we must invest in our students now so they are able to successfully pursue a postsecondary credential and have a prosperous career. Expanding high quality opportunities in our region’s K-12 system is a necessary step to get us on the right path,” said Woody L. Hunt, founder and chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation.

Earlier this year, CREEED released the 60×30 El Paso report, which highlighted the education challenges and opportunities that currently exist in the El Paso region in meeting the statewide goal of having 60% of Texans ages 25-34 obtain a credential or degree by 2030.

The report found that El Paso’s high school graduation and postsecondary attainment rates are below the state average, and that too many students are graduating from high school without the skills necessary to thrive in postsecondary work without remediation.

While the report acknowledged the progress that has been made in recent years to close education gaps, it also notes that the pace of change has been too slow and too small.

Since its founding, CREEED has invested in local school district initiatives that improve student achievement and expose students to the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century workforce. The $12 million grant will support CREEED in advancing the recommendations in the 60×30 report, especifically around the creation of a portfolio of high-performing schools as well as strengthening the teacher talent pipeline in the region.

“I want to thank the Hunt Family Foundation for their generous support and tireless commitment to improving our region’s education system over the years. Woody, Josh, and the Hunt Family Foundation have set the example for civic involvement and philanthropy for our community. We look forward to working with our workforce and education partners to ensure this investment produces measurable outcomes for our students and families,” said Richard A. Castro, chairman of CREEED.

Over the past 30 years, the Hunt Family Foundation has awarded over $87.7 million in grants and charitable contributions to programs and initiatives in the Borderplex region focused on healthcare, education, arts and culture, and economic development. The $12 million grant builds on the $55 million that the Hunt Family Foundation has already invested in higher education initiatives across the region.

“This grant is an expression of our commitment to the future of this community and our belief that this region’s best days are in front of us. Every student deserves the best chance possible to succeed and contribute to our region’s future; and that is why we are investing in their education,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation.

“Mr. Hunt’s vision for strengthening our region’s education ecosystem from kindergarten to college, has provided us with the roadmap and resources we need to accelerate the transformation of El Paso into a leader in educational excellence and success. The continued investments of the Hunt Family Foundation in innovative initiatives, and the data to measure progress, makes our work that much more meaningful and impactful,” said Dr. William Serrata, President of the El Paso Community College

Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso Announces Financial Awards for 82 Scholars

The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso is set to award $187,575 in financial aid to 82 Foundation Scholars attending El Paso’s Catholic Schools in 2017-2018.

Most of the scholarship aid was distributed from scholarship endowed funds, with the remainder coming from donations and a generous grant from the Hunt Family Foundation.

The Foundation currently manages 83 separate endowment funds for charities, ministries, parishes, and schools. Of these, 25 funds are designated for Catholic schools, including the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, the Cathedral High School Alumni Association Fund, and the Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Smith Scholarship Fund.

The funds have a combined value of $6.6 million; each one of El Paso’s schools has at least one endowed fund for scholarships.

Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D., Bishop of El Paso, announced the establishment of the Soñador Scholarship Fund, managed by the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, at a press conference and unveiling of his Pastoral Letter on Migration to the People of God in the Diocese of El Paso at Sacred Heart Church on July 18, 2017. The fund was established with a gift of $20,000.

In honor of Monsignor Smith’s retirement in 2015, a scholarship fund for St. Raphael School was established to help preserve St. Raphael’s mission well into the future. Reverend Monsignor Francis J. Smith served as the pastor of St. Raphael Parish for 29 years. An energetic and attentive leader, Monsignor Smith is admired for his humor and tenacity.

Recently, Deborah and James Llewellyn established the Nancy Mendez Saucedo Scholarship Fund for Father Yermo High School in honor of Deborah’s mother, who, as a single parent, worked and sacrificed so Deborah and her sister could attend Father Yermo High School and receive a high-quality Catholic education in an all-girls institution.

The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso will host the 5th Annual Foundation Scholars Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, August 24 from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the El Paso Club to recognize Foundation scholarship recipients attending Catholic schools in El Paso.

 

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Receives $2.5 Million gift from Hunt Family Foundation

The New Mexico State University system launched the public phase of its $125 million comprehensive campaign, “Ignite Aggie Discovery,” by announcing a transformative gift from the Hunt Family Foundation to benefit Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub.

The El Paso-based Hunt Family Foundation has committed $2.5 million over six years to support Arrowhead Center’s work in commercializing discoveries and innovations, encouraging entrepreneurship, launching and developing new businesses, and creating lasting partnerships in the Borderplex region, which includes New Mexico, west Texas and Ciudad Juarez. With the funds, Arrowhead Center has created new programming through the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, with the purpose of promoting economic development in the region.

“We’re pleased to help get the Ignite Aggie Discovery campaign off to a strong start,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation. “We believe Arrowhead Center has the potential to do great work and accomplish much in the areas of entrepreneurship and student startup innovation. The goal of the Hunt Family Foundation is to assist in initiatives that can help build a better quality of life for all residents of the Borderplex, and New Mexico State and Arrowhead Center can play a significant role in those efforts.”

The Hunt Family Foundation has long been committed to supporting sustainable programs that can make a widespread and prolonged impact in the Borderplex region. Started in 1987 by Woody and Gayle Hunt, the foundation focuses support for non-profit initiatives in six categories, including education and regional economic development.

The Hunt Student Startup Sponsorship program is one new initiative already underway with the funding through Arrowhead Center’s Studio G, the first student business incubator in New Mexico. Designed to accelerate student ventures, the semester-long sponsorships fund a portion of a student entrepreneur’s time to significantly advance their enterprise. In addition to being paid to focus part-time on their businesses, students receive training and mentorship through Studio G, as well as access to follow-on funding.

Kathy Hansen, CEO and director of Arrowhead Center, said the Hunt Family Foundation gift will allow Arrowhead to greatly expand its collaboration with like-purposed organizations in the region. She said the funds will be significant to future building plans as the need for collaborative space grows at Arrowhead Center.

“The impact of this funding will be felt throughout the Borderplex, as Arrowhead Center works to build long-term relationships in the region and beyond,” Hansen said. “We’ll be able to provide greater opportunities for partnerships to support our researchers as they explore ways to apply their work and make an impact in the marketplace. We’ll also help drive improvements in the regional economy by continuing to foster a culture of entrepreneurship that addresses the need for business and job creation in innovative ways.

“It’s an exciting time, and we’re poised for tremendous growth,” she continued. “We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Hunt Family Foundation has provided to build on the work we’re doing.”

The announcement came during a special kickoff event for the Ignite Aggie Discovery comprehensive campaign at the Associated Students of NMSU Center for the Arts on Friday, April 28. During the campaign’s silent phase, which began in May 2013, the NMSU Foundation raised more than half the campaign’s goal – over $72.5 million. While NMSU is a public university system, funding from private donors, alumni, corporations, foundations and other sources supports vital community programs, research and student scholarship opportunities.

One of the most important goals of the campaign, which extends through 2019, is the creation of $50 million in new scholarship endowments. This would provide $2 million each year in perpetuity for new, game-changing scholarships.

“Our Ignite Aggie Discovery comprehensive campaign is about focusing our energy, our innovation and our momentum on making the NMSU system stronger and better for the future of our students and the future of New Mexico and the region,” said Andrea Tawney, president of the NMSU Foundation. “This gift from the Hunt Family Foundation gets the public phase of our campaign off to an explosive start, and truly demonstrates that we are a Borderplex community that can advance our region if we collaborate and maximize our resources.”

For more information on the Ignite Aggie Discovery campaign, visit ignite.nmsu.edu

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

Scholarship Funds Raised During NMSU’s ‘Giving Tuesday’ help Students Achieve Goals

When Stephanie Esparza graduated from Santa Teresa High School in May 2013, she wasn’t planning to attend college. She said she doubted her ability to succeed and feared that a college education was too great a challenge for her.

She overcame that fear with the encouragement of her parents and the support of a scholarship from the Hunt Family Foundation, and will earn her associate degree on Thursday from Dona Ana Community College, with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico State University in public health.

“The greatest challenge that I had to overcome was myself – thinking I could not get this far in school,” Esparza said. “I was the first woman in my family to attend college and had to figure out the ropes of college by making mistakes. Receiving the Hunt scholarship has shown me that I can make it through college and be great in school – I think of the Hunt Family Foundation as another set of parents walking behind me, knowing I can finish school strong.”

The El Paso-based Hunt Family Foundation took advantage of a matching opportunity during NMSU’s inaugural Giving Tuesday event, held Dec. 1, 2015, to add another $5,000 gift to the foundation’s existing scholarship fund, which benefits students from Dona Ana County who attend Dona Ana Community College.

Gifts made to scholarships for Giving Tuesday were matched by the Foundation using funds from NMSU’s Alumni License Plate program.

Recipients of the Hunt Family Foundation Scholarship also receive separate matching funds from the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico’s Wynne Scholarship.

“The Giving Tuesday matching opportunity was too good to pass up,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation. “Thanks to these matching dollars, we were able to stretch the impact of our gift from $5,000 to $10,000, and then from $10,000 to $20,000. That’s scholarship funding that benefits students right here in the Borderplex region, which is very important to our organization.”

With every last gift counted and each dollar-for-dollar scholarship match accounted for, the one-day Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign added a total of $5.7 million dollars to scholarship funds across the NMSU system.

Online and in-person gifts from donors during the 24-hour period of Dec. 1 totaled $628,984, and another $834,450 came from members of the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors, which boasted 100 percent participation. Other gifts established in anticipation of Giving Tuesday added nearly $1 million, for a pre-match total of $2,900,143.

“When our team began planning for this Giving Tuesday initiative, I quietly set a goal for us, hoping we’d raise $250,000 in one day,” said Andrea Tawney, vice president for university advancement and president of the NMSU Foundation. “The generosity of our Aggie community blew that goal out of the water, bringing in 10 times that in gifts. This day was utterly transformative for our students.”

More than 80 new scholarships were established, and the initiative drew more than 2,440 donors, including 655 who were making their first-ever gift to the NMSU system.

“We’re really proud of the way our alumni responded to this call to action,” said Leslie Cervantes, associate vice president for alumni engagement and participation. “We received gifts from 293 brand-new alumni donors on Giving Tuesday. Support from our alumni is critical to student success, and this was a great opportunity to connect with our graduates who were looking for a meaningful way to give back.”

NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, who was one of many campus leaders who made gifts of their own during Giving Tuesday, said he was proud to see so much enthusiasm for the cause of boosting scholarship funds for students.

“We had tremendous participation from our caring Aggie community,” he said. “All of our Foundation board and our regents made contributions, and we saw gifts roll in from all over – from business leaders across the globe and from our own students right here on campus. We’re building a culture of philanthropy here that’s really special.”

The NMSU Foundation plans to build on the success of Giving Tuesday with its second-annual event this fall. For more information about Giving Tuesday, the NMSU Foundation or the Office of University Advancement, visit advancing.nmsu.edu

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

Hunt Family Foundation Establishes new $500k Scholarship Program at Ysleta HS

The Ysleta Independent School District and the Ysleta Education Foundation (YEF) announced at a press conference on Friday the establishment of a new six-year, $500,000 scholarship program for Ysleta High School students by the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation.

Each year, select Ysleta High School seniors will each be awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Hunt Family Foundation to attend El Paso Community College in collaboration with YEF.

During the course of the six-year program, a total of 100 students will receive scholarships.

“We are honored to call Mr. Hunt an alumnus and friend of the Ysleta Independent School District,” said YISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre. “These scholarships from the Hunt Family Foundation will support our students while pursuing post-secondary education in an effort to better themselves, their families, and our community.”

Woody Hunt, El Paso business leader and philanthropist, graduated from Ysleta High School in 1962. He established the Hunt Family Foundation in 1987 with his wife, Gayle, to support community initiatives in the El Paso area.

Hunt was named Ysleta High School’s Distinguished Alumni in 2013.

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