LUPE Fund is a volunteer-driven, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to educate, empower and engage Latinas through leadership and civic engagement by providing scholarships, educational and professional development programs, networking, and mentorship opportunities at a local and statewide level.
LUPE Fund, founded in 2008, is committed to collaborating with other women’s and children’s organizations on issues of common interest such as education, health, and economic development in an effort to advance the Latino community. The organization just announced the awardees of the annual LUPE Fund Scholarship – read on to learn about the organization from President Iveth Mosquera and the local Latina winners.
A Chat with Iveth, President of the Fund
HG: What inspired you to join LUPE Fund?
IM: I met a wonderful woman who became my mentor at UMDNJ – the New Jersey Medical School (now called Rutgers New Jersey Medical School). Her name is Gloria Soto and she is an accomplished attorney who is Puerto Rican. She is one of the founders of LUPE and when she told me about the work of the organization, I was immediately drawn in. I had never heard of an organization that was dedicated to Latinas like me! I continued to be inspired when I met the wonderful women who founded the organization and the past presidents of LUPE – they have all inspired me for the past 13 years. Now, we are close to celebrating our 20th anniversary.
HG: What was your title when you first joined?
IM: I started as a Member and volunteer helping with some programs like the Young Latina Conference. I was asked to join the board as a trustee the following year.
HG: What was your journey like from trustee to President? What has been your favorite part about growing with the nonprofit?
IM: It’s been an amazing journey. I learned so much from the founders and from my fellow trustees. I learned about New Jersey politics and most importantly, I learned about women leaders and how influential and powerful they are. I learned how to run a nonprofit organization and how important and impactful the work of LUPE is for our community. My favorite part is definitely the mentors and sisters I’ve gained along the way.
HG: What are your responsibilities as President of LUPE?
IM: As President of LUPE, I need to make sure that the mission moves forward and that I talk about LUPE everywhere I go. Part of my job is to create and strengthen partnerships with other organizations and groups that are doing great work on behalf of all Latinos and all women. We are all fighting the good fight together so we’re doing great things with organizations like the League of Women Voters of NJ and others.
Also, with my colleagues on the board, we offer programs and resources to help the Latino community in many ways. Some of our programs include nonpartisan campaign training and civic education called Eleccion Latina; voter registration, education, and outreach; college scholarships for young women in need; inspirational webinars; and more. All of our board members have dedicated so much time to ensuring that Latinas and their families have the tools they need to be successful.
^ LUPE sisters at the 2021 Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala
HG: What are your goals for LUPE this upcoming year?
IM: 2020 and 2021 were both rough years for everyone but especially for volunteer organizations like ours. We were used to having many in-person events and being prominently out there serving the community. However, for the safety of our board members and the people we serve, we have attended a very limited number of in-person events during these past 18 months.
We were still able to accomplish many great things virtually. Last year we awarded $11,000 in scholarships to young women in college and this year we’re getting ready to award another $11,000 in scholarships.
We hosted fantastic webinars that included topics such as how to get more Latinas on corporate boards, health and wellness, and civic engagement. We are going to hand out PPE to local women’s shelters and continue online programming. At the November 2021 annual membership meeting, we introduced the new board members for 2022.
The board of trustees is currently working on program planning, membership growth, and fundraising for 2022. Stay tuned for some exciting programs! I encourage everyone to become a member of LUPE on our website: www.lupenj.org. You can also send donations to our Zelle account under [email protected].
HG: How do you plan to use LUPE to make an impact on the Latinas in the area?
IM: We are so grateful to all of our members, donors, and friends who believe in our mission of educating, engaging, and empowering Latinas. Because of them, we are awarding scholarships to young women who are emerging leaders and also need scholarships to finish their college education.
Most of LUPE’s scholarship winners go on to become prominent leaders in their fields and they keep in touch with us – they even come back to serve on our board. It’s so rewarding to see firsthand how the work we are doing as volunteers makes a real impact on people’s lives. We have an excellent network of Latinas who are advocates, leaders, politicians, educators, attorneys, CEOs, healthcare professionals, etc. who we can call if we ever need anything and they call us when they need our help. The sisterhood is alive and well.
About the LUPE Fund Scholarship
^ The 2019 recipients
IM: Every year, the organization asks young Latina women who are in school to submit an application to be considered for an academic scholarship. LUPE has donated a total of $84,500 in scholarships since 2011 to those who have been deserving of financial support to continue their higher education.
A total of $12,000 will be awarded to talented Latinas studying to become prominent figures in their respective communities and affect positive change. “These well-rounded young women have not only demonstrated academic excellence and leadership but an inspiring ambition to contribute to their local communities in the areas of politics, law, accounting, research and education, health and environmental sciences, and performing arts,” the LUPE Fund team explained.
The awardees include Yerani Heredia of Jersey City, Gabriella Ramirez of Newark, Diana Cueva of Elizabeth, Amirza Hernandez of West New York, and Diamond Vasquez of Newburgh New York. Diamond was the recipient of the Nelys Moyeno Scholarship, named after Hoboken resident Nellie, who made history as the first Latina Hoboken Council President as well as achieved many other feats in her life and career in town. Learn more about her here.