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LOFT Leadership Institute launches inaugural class of nine sector-specific cohorts of the top Latino high school graduates from across the country

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Trinity University and Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Focus for LOFT Fellows will be on Leadership, Social and Professional Capital, Sector Expertise, and Innovation

SAN ANTONIO, TX  – Trinity University in San Antonio, TX,  and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) have launched the inaugural class of the LOFT (Latinx On Fast Track) Leadership Institute (LLI) with the top Latinx students from around the country (see link for names and location) who will participate in interactive, summer-long curriculum focused on leadership, community-building, professional networking, social impact, culture, and introducing the Fellows more deeply to their sectors.

“It is critical for these top, young leaders from all over our nation to be connected to each other through their journeys in education, the workforce, and in the community in building social and professional capital that is often lacking among minorities,” said Juan Sepulveda, J.D., the Ron Calgaard Distinguished Professor of Practice in Political Science at Trinity University, HHF Board member, and Co-Founder of the LLI.  “Trinity University is proud to partner with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation as we both continue to focus on the development of leaders nationally and scaling their impact. The tremendous talent of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s national youth award program is the ideal platform upon which to build the first-ever LOFT Leadership Institute.”

The LLI is an effective continuum to HHF’s 23-year-old Youth Awards program after 30,000 applicants from all 50 states and Puerto Rico annually are narrowed down to approximately 270 recipients – 30 in each of nine sectors or “tracks.” The graduating, Latinx high school students will be tracked and connected to each other throughout college and their careers to build invaluable social and professional capital as well as learn more about their sectors from experts and develop innovative projects.

“HHF is thrilled to add another essential element to our leadership apparatus in supporting outstanding young leaders through the LOFT Leadership Institute in partnership with Trinity University,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF and Co-Founder of LLI.  “The timing is also important as the LLI Fellows transition from their hometown high schools to colleges across the country including Puerto Rico.  Their impact will be felt across priority fields.”

LOFT Tracks and sponsors include Healthcare & Science (CVS Health), Engineering (BP), Tech (T-Mobile), Education (Southwest Airlines), Public Service (Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute), Finance (East Los Capital), Entrepreneurship (TikTok), Media & Entertainment (NALIP) and Social Justice (Nike).  The Fellows will also receive grants for their education or for a social impact effort associated with their tracks that will be supported.

The LLI will also provide private and public partners more prepared and connected talent to access for internships, mentorships, and full-time positions along with more innovative leaders for social impact.

The LLI’s virtual sessions over the summer across the nine cohorts will be:

Session 1 Building Community                                                                      

  • The LOFT Fellows will be part of a national network of talent broken out by their track or field.  Research has shown social and professional capital is an area that minorities are at a disadvantage making this community building work critical to not only moving the Fellows forward as individuals but as a community and a sector.  A key principle of the LOFT Institute is creating a a powerful environment and culture of trust and safe space where the close-knit community of Latinx talent can serve as a personal consulting group to each Fellow, providing high quality advice and guidance, encouragement, support, problem-solving, and the sharing of resources.

Session 2 Sector Deep Dive

  • Provide Fellows with an in-depth look into their sector by bringing leaders from across the country who currently work in their tracks to have candid and honest conversations about their experiences, trajectory, challenges, triumphs, current issues in the field, and to provide inspiration and a clearer understanding of their sector.

 Session 3 Building a Professional Network

  • Again, research shows that students of color, particularly first generation and low income students, begin their university experience as well as professional careers with little social and professional capital/networks. The Fellows will learn how to strategically build a professional and personal network in their sector using events, online platforms, professional organizations, access to resources, the larger LOFT Network of hundreds of thousands as well as leverage the relationship with their sponsors and other partners in their track.

Session 4 Innovation

  • The LOFT Institute will create a safe and trusted space where Fellows can develop ideas and carry out innovative projects by incorporating cutting edge approaches such as adaptive leadership, systems practice, network analysis, and design-thinking with support from Trinity University and HHF along with sector corporate and national nonprofit sponsors.


  • HHF and Trinity University will the keep the 2021 Fellows connected with their specific cohort and the larger group of Fellows, not only through ongoing collaborative processes, but also through other year-round events, programs, activities and resources.  HHF will also present other leadership and workforce opportunities including the LOFT Source and placement into internships, mentorships and full-time positions with corporate and public sector partners. This class will welcome and mentor the 2022 class of LOFT Leadership Institute Fellows.

About Trinity University

For generations spanning 150 years, Trinity University has transformed obstacles into boundless opportunities. Our resilience, enterprise, and creative vision have driven us in unwavering pursuit of new challenges, and new chances to build on this legacy. Carried by this momentum, we redefine the liberal arts by cultivating a community of lifelong learners. Trinity’s 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students come from 48 states and 57 countries. Students choose from 49 majors, 61 minors, and five master’s degrees. With our combined talents, strengths, ambitions, and passions, we are doing more than waiting for a brighter tomorrow: We’re making a better one today. Discover more about Trinity University.

About HHF

HHF is a national, nonprofit focused on education, workforce development, social impact, and culture through the lens of leadership and agile, creative, impactful programs. (Visit


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