HSF Awarded Lilly Endowment Grant to Create

Hispanic Career Pathways Initiative


LOS ANGELES, March 11, 2019 — The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) announced today the award of a $30.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the creation of the Hispanic Career Pathways Initiative (HCPI), a comprehensive program to help Hispanic students navigate each step of their path from college to career.

This six-year grant will help HSF, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization supporting Hispanic American students, provide a continuum of career support programs and services designed to give Hispanic college students the knowledge, networks, and skills needed to find meaningful employment and achieve career success in a knowledge-driven, global economy. To help with HCPI’s long-term sustainability, $5 million of the grant will be allocated to an endowment. This portion of the grant is subject to a matching condition to encourage other funders to contribute to HCPI’s endowment.

Through the grant, HSF will dramatically enhance its existing technology platform and will have the potential to provide direct career services to hundreds of thousands of Hispanic college students nationwide. Set to launch in September 2020, the HCPI will utilize a four-tiered approach to provide career discernment and career development programs to students:

  • HSF University: The HCPI will deliver a comprehensive, self-paced online program that walks students through the essential elements of career preparation and planning. HSF will develop an innovative career pathways curriculum and accompanying digital content that will be available to all interested students.
  • Personalized Career Discernment, Guidance, and Support: The HCPI will focus on career discernment and personal career guidance and support. The HCPI technology platform will link students who engage the career pathways curriculum with career coaches and mentors from the HSF Alumni network, the HSF Advisory Council network, and from HSF local, national, and international corporate partners. The corporate partners will participate in an Employer Consortium (EC) and provide opportunities for internships and full-time employment to students who complete the HCPI curriculum.
  • Career Connection Days: HCPI Career Connection Days will be held at a select group of university partners in communities with active HSF Alumni and Advisory Councils and a significant HSF Scholar presence. The hands-on training will focus on network building, identifying internships and research opportunities, and raising self-expectations. Students also will learn about professional etiquette, resume-building, interviewing, and other topics aimed at the transition to career or graduate school.
  • HCPI Higher Education Partners and Employer Consortium Convening: HSF will host an annual convening of Higher Education Partners and members of the HSF Employer Consortium to examine data gathered from student participation in the HCPI, highlight university best practices that support Hispanic student transition to meaningful careers, and identify any gaps in career pathway programs that need to be addressed. HSF plans to host the first convening in 2020.

“We are honored to receive this transformational grant from Lilly Endowment,” said Fidel A. Vargas, President & CEO of HSF. “While we currently provide scholarships and support services to thousands of students, our ultimate goal is to ensure that they graduate with a clearly defined path to a meaningful and rewarding career. This grant will help HSF to provide a host of critical services and programs—from early career planning, preparation and discernment, to career exploration and personalized guidance—that will help students make smart academic and career choices and be more prepared to succeed in today’s workplace.”

The face of the American workforce is changing, and this grant intends to ensure that the next generation of the country’s innovators and entrepreneurs are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the fast-paced, knowledge-based economy.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau projections, the U.S. Hispanic population is expected to increase from 18 percent today to 28.6 percent in 2060.  Hispanics are expected to account for 40 percent of employment growth in the United States during the next five years and more than 75 percent from 2020 to 2034. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while more Hispanics are enrolling and graduating from college, large attainment and workforce gaps remain.  Moreover, about half of Latinos who enroll in college are the first in their family to do so, and these students are often at a significant disadvantage when making major and career choices, lacking the knowledge, networks and experience necessary to secure a good first job that leads to a successful career.  As a result, Hispanics are 10 percent more likely to be underemployed and 33 percent more likely to be working in a low-skilled job than non-Hispanic whites.

By providing support for students at each step along the path—from high school students preparing for college to college students transitioning into the workforce—HSF, through the HCPI, will help more students graduate and find quality employment in their chosen fields.

“This grant builds on Lilly Endowment’s long-held interest in helping students intentionally envision and prepare for their future careers,” said N. Clay Robbins, chairman, president and CEO of Lilly Endowment.  “By leveraging HSF’s strong relationships with its higher education partners and alumni and an impressive array of employers across the country, the Hispanic Career Pathways Initiative holds great promise to improve the lives of Hispanic students and their families for years to come.”

Since 2001, Lilly Endowment has funded similar efforts through grants to 39 Indiana colleges and universities. In 2015, Lilly Endowment made a significant grant to UNCF for its Career Pathways Initiative. That initiative is designed to help four-year, historically black colleges and universities and predominantly black institutions strengthen career placement outcomes and increase the number of graduates who immediately transition to meaningful jobs in their chosen fields.

Lilly Endowment continues to be a leader in improving opportunities for Hispanic students. In 1999, the Endowment awarded HSF $50 million to provide organizational support and scholarships for current and aspiring Latino college students. Two decades later, funding from this grant continues to provide vital financial support to HSF scholars.

With today’s announcement of the HCPI, HSF is expanding its commitment to Hispanic student achievement by working to ensure they graduate with a quality job and a support network to help them become successful, engaged citizens.

About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund empowers Latino families with the knowledge and resources to successfully complete a higher education, while providing scholarships and support services to as many exceptional Hispanic American students as possible. HSF strives to make college education a top priority for every Latino family across the nation, mobilizing our community to proactively advance that goal – each individual, over a lifetime, in every way he/she can. HSF also seeks to give its Scholars all the tools they need to do well in their course work, graduate, enter a profession, excel, help lead our nation going forward, and mentor the generations to come. As the nation’s largest nonprofit organization supporting Hispanic American higher education, HSF has awarded over $588 million in scholarships and provides a range of impactful programs for students and parents, HSF Scholars, and Alumni. For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, please visit

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. Although it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana, it does support efforts of national significance particularly in the field of religion and on an invitational basis programs that enhance higher education opportunities for African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.