Photo: Bob Hildreth Founder FUEL
Bob Hildreth, the son of an Irish immigrant and a descendant of the Puritans was first drawn to the Hispanic Community four years ago while watching an immigration raid on TV. After seeing the fate some of the young children whose parents were arrested in the raid, the Boston banker went into action mode, and came to the rescue.
Hildreth put up half of the bail money of those arrested, roughly $100,000, to his marvel, Latino immigrants from across the state of Massachusetts raised the other half. This got Hildreth thinking, “Could Latino immigrant families also be inspired to raise money for college?”
The result was the Boston-based group he founded: Families in Educational Leadership, or FUEL. The group promises that if families save $1500 by the time a child graduates from High school, they will match the funds for college.
The FUEL group brings to meetings college counselors, financial experts and current college students who are children of immigrants to speak about private and public money. “In a lot of cases, we can get them a full ride with money that is already out there,” said Gene Miller, FUEL Chief Operating Officer.
Hildreth began his idea with a pilot program in Lynn Mass. for 12 students. The high school students, who went through workshops about looking for scholarships and family financial planning, earned 61 college acceptances and $2.6 million in local and national scholarships.
Hildreth said the group also is looking beyond Massachusetts. “I have a 10-year plan,” said Hildreth. “And I plan to be in L.A. one day.”