The Scholastic Fund for Students of Hispanic Descent (SFSHD) began as a grassroots organization in 1963. It was the brainchild of two Mexican Waukesha high school students, Mary (Garcia) Benavides and Victoria (Hurtado) Herrera, whose goal was to encourage young Hispanics to attend college so that they can better themselves and, hopefully, the community around them. After two years of hard work and fundraising, the group was proud to award its first scholarship in 1965.
The SFSHD has undergone many changes since its inception, allowing the organization to grow from a small grass roots idea into an incorporated entity. Originally called the Scholastic Fund for Mexican American Students, this was the only Hispanic scholarship program in Waukesha. During this time it was considered to be the norm for Hispanic college attendance to be very low. It was our plan to raise the consciousness of local citizens to the importance of a college education for Waukesha’s Hispanic people. To do this, we have been involved in various fund raisers and local events to help bring our culture to the city, including being part of the long running event, “Fiesta Waukesha”, from 1982 to 2005, and being part of “Mexican Fiesta,” in Milwaukee from 1977 to 2011.
In 1974 we became a state recognized non-profit, charitable organization, making many of our efforts tax deductible to the public and local businesses. This change encouraged the organization to alter its bylaws to incorporate a wider range of applicants, not just Mexican American students. To reflect this change, we became the Scholastic Fund for Students of Hispanic Descent, allowing any Hispanic Waukesha city high school senior a chance for a higher education. In 2002 we developed The SFSHD Annual Golf outing, our largest fundraiser, which averages about 100 golfers annually.
As of 2020 the organization has proudly awarded over 525 scholarships. With the help of our elected executive board, dedicated members, and a fantastic group of faithful volunteers, we hope to encourage the Waukesha Hispanic youth to strive for a higher education, a stronger community, and a better future for all.
President – Luis Hernandez Jr.
Vice President – Margaret Kennedy
Treasurer – Debbie Knee
Secretary – Cathy Hernandez
Member at Large – Rosalva Cruz