Latino Alliance is one of BMO’s most active and fastest growing Employee Resource Groups. Their mission is to empower Latino and Hispanic employees to contribute to the culture and success of BMO, and advocate and assist in the recruitment, recognition, development and advancement of Latino employees. For Latino Alliance, supporting the next generation is a critical part of that mission, and that’s why the group has formed an important connection with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago.
Cristo Rey was founded to serve families that otherwise would not be able to send their children to a private school because it was financially unattainable. The school is based on a Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). It enables students to earn a majority of their tuition by working at a local business or non-profit agency, thus giving students valuable real-world work experience in addition to making tuition affordable.
BMO Latino Alliance members and other BMO employees have raised over $30,000 for the school’s scholarship fund since 2010, largely during Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. Their current goal is to support one student for a year.
“Our partnership with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School has allowed BMO Latino Alliance to give back to our communities,” said Jese Perez, Assistant Vice President, Treasury & Payment Solutions and Vice Chair of BMO Latino Alliance. “Our favorite day of the year is when we get to host the scholarship recipients for lunch in our Executive Dining Room and we get to present them with their award. Meeting the students and hearing their life stories is something that has brought all of us much joy. Being able to help these students reach their educational and future career goals is truly what Being BMO is all about.”
Cindy, a recent graduate, will attend college this fall on a merit scholarship, and study marketing. “Whatever I do in life, I know for sure that my future career will have something to do with social justice. Cristo Rey taught me to be socially minded and, as a minority, I want to give back to communities that need help,” says Cindy. “This scholarship pushed me because it made me more confident in my potential – I knew that BMO’s whole Latino Alliance believed in me.”