IRVINE, Calif. (March 4, 2016) – No test scores, No essays. No right or wrong answers. Just a simple two-minute video that showcases your passion. These guidelines defined a new type of scholarship – an education revolution that inspired more than 2,000 youth over the past couple of months who thought their passions did not fit neatly into “scholarship material.”
Today, the Taco Bell Foundation announced its first 40 Live Más Scholarship recipients who will receive a total of $200,000 in post-high school educational scholarships. Young people selected represent 21 states across the country with a wide variety of passions including filmmaking, medicine, computer science, dance, comedy, music, fashion, the environment, art, design and animation.
The Live Más Scholarship isn’t your typical scholarship. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to support the “other kid,” whose passions and aspirations may not fall into “academic” or “athletic” qualifying categories of traditional scholarship programs.
“At the time I applied there was not a lot of positivity around me and I didn’t think I could go after it,” said Justin Susan, $5,000 Live Mas Scholarship recipient. “So many things have happened in my life that I am usually emotionless - but this is such a blessing to hear I won. Now, I can get my novel published.”
“Growing up a military kid, my routine changes a lot and dancing is really the only thing constant in my life. It’s what I do best,” said Khorri Tinson, $10,000 Live Mas Scholarship recipient. “Applying for the Live Mas Scholarship allowed me to express what I do every day. No other scholarship asks you about your passion.”
In 2016, the Live Más Scholarship will award a total of $1,000,000 to 220 young adults looking to find their place in the world and make their passions a reality. Each scholarship recipient will receive between $2,500 and $25,000 in funding to be used for any accredited post-high school/post-secondary educational programs, including accredited two- and four-year college, universities, vocational-technical and trade schools.
“The spirit of youth is the Taco Bell brand – young adults are who we hire, create unique food experiences for, and interact with every day,” said Frank Tucker, Chief People Officer, Taco Bell Corp. and President, Taco Bell Foundation. “Simply put: America’s young adults are part of our DNA. And they want to do big things. We hear that calling and believe it’s our responsibility to invest in these young people and help them succeed on their unique paths. We’re proud of the 40 scholarship recipients for taking a chance on themselves and we’re excited for the next 180 recipients who will apply for the next phase of the scholarship.”
The search for tomorrow’s innovators, dreamers and creators has just begun. Individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 years have another chance to earn a Live Más Scholarship. Submissions for the second phase of scholarships are due May 27, 2016, 11:59 pm PST. Those applicants who were not selected during the first phase do not need to reapply and will be automatically considered in the second phase.
At least one-third of today’s high school graduates are not planning on attending college . There is a new generation of youth with unique talents, pushing on convention and looking for alternative paths to pursue their passions. They just need the right amount of support to be relentless in their pursuit. Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation recognize that. For years, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation have invested in educational development in a traditional sense, providing young adults with resources and support they need to successfully finish high school and become college or career ready. Now, they’re feeding the spirit of the “other kid.”
About Taco Bell Foundation
Taco Bell Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit 501(c) (3) public benefit corporation with the founded focus of investing in the potential of America’s youth through education and helping them realize their dreams. Since 1992, the Foundation has reached more than 5 million young people across 600 youth-serving organizations and about 1,700 high schools in the U.S. through partnerships and programs like GraduateforMas.com, and has awarded more than $75 million in scholarships and grants focused on education and career readiness. In 2016, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation launched the Live Más Scholarship, a program aimed at empowering the nation’s next generation of dreamers, innovators and creators – those whose passions don’t fall into the conventional “academic” or “athletic” qualifying categories of traditional scholarship programs. For more information visit tacobellfoundation.org.