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The mission of the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation is to provide moral and financial support to Latino students who follow the dream to become honorable members of the Latino Community in the United States. The Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation is committed to finding a way of encouraging academic excellence, ethnic pride and social interaction based on community opportunity.
The Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation (JPD Foundation), a 501c3 not for profit organization, traces its origin to the re-naming of St. Nicholas Avenue from 173rd Street to 190th Street in honor of the founder of the Dominican Republic. When a large-scale community campaign culminated in the inauguration of the Juan Pablo Duarte Boulevard in July 2000, a group of Dominican professionals in Washington Heights formed the Carnaval del Boulevard to organize a celebration.
The JPD Foundation is the first foundation to focus its energy on the educational needs of the Dominican community â the largest, and one of the poorest, immigrant groups in New York City. Centered in Washington Heights, the Foundation accepts applications for assistance from Dominican applicants throughout the New York City metropolitan area. JPD Foundation grantees are English Language Learners and former English Language Learners from low-income families. They are usually the first in their family to complete high school and the first to apply to college. While JPD Foundation grantees need financial aid, they also need logistical, guidance, and technical support in applying and getting accepted to college.
Once in college, grantees continue to need financial, academic, and mentoring support to overcome the obstacles to graduation, obstacles summarized by the Pew Foundation in its 2002 report, Latinos in Higher Education: Many Enroll, Too Few Graduate.
Founders of the JPD Foundation included former City Councilmember Guillermo Linares, the first Dominican-American elected official in the United States, who is now the Commissioner of the Mayorâ s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Rolando Acosta, the first Dominican-American judge; Raisa Castillo, attorney and founder of the Dominican Womenâ s Caucus; David Rivas, of Rivas Travel; William Garcia, an attorney and former Chair of Community Board #12; and Laura Acosta, longtime community-services activist, who has been the coordinator of the Carnaval since its second year.
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