BW Alum Leads Esperanza to Success

February 6, 2015

The incredible success of a nonprofit effort to increase low Hispanic graduation rates in Cleveland has put BW alumnus Victor Ruiz '99, executive director of Esperanza,  in the media spotlight. As explained in Crain's Cleveland Business, and La PrensaEsperanza is a nonprofit organization that focuses primarily on guiding Hispanic students toward graduation. Ruiz has played a key role in the program's success in addressing what the Cleveland Metropolitan School District declared "a crisis" in 2011. In just two years of ambitious programming, the Hispanic graduation rates in Cleveland doubled.

Esperanza provides test prep, one-on-one mentoring, tutoring and student scholarships to Hispanic high school students. Over the past six years, Esperanza's budget has greatly expanded and by next year, it is expected to reach $2 million. Down the road, Ruiz hopes that the program will expand and begin to work in elementary and middle schools in addition to high schools.

In an earlier interview with Crain's, Ruiz discussed how as a young Hispanic child in Cleveland, he was helped by nonprofit and public social service organizations. This made attending college at BW a possibility for Ruiz, who was awarded BW's Alumni Merit Award in 2014. Ruiz says it's his duty to give back to his community.