Holli Martinez dropped out of college when she married a baseball star but returned 14 years later, partly to be a better role model for her three children. She recently graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington’s Bothell campus.
Her husband, Edgar Martinez, who retired after an All-Star career with the Seattle Mariners, returned to school, too, completing a nine-month business program earlier this year.
When they started their own foundation, education quickly became the theme.
The Martinez Foundation, which launched September 25, aims to help more Latino students attend college and more minority students become teachers.
“We want to offer opportunities,” Edgar says. “That’s what we can do.
What if I didn’t have the opportunity? Maybe I’d still be struggling back in Puerto Rico.”
The foundation is the latest in a long list of philanthropic efforts for the Martinez couple, so many that, in 2007, Edgar was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
They have contributed about $200,000 of their own money to their foundation so far, and at minimum will give 10 scholarships of $20,000 each to Latino undergraduates. But they are not making promises about how many scholarships they will offer to students in teacher-training programs until they see how much they raise at their first event, scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle.
The undergraduate scholarships will go to students with at least a 2.7 grade-point average who will attend a college in Washington state. The College Success Foundation, which administers scholarships for a number of organizations, will select those students.
The teachers-in-training scholarships will go to students of any minority group in the masters in teaching program at the University of Washington or the equivalent at Washington State University. After graduation, recipients will be expected to teach in low-income school districts for perhaps a year or two. The couple also hopes the foundation will be able to support those students in their first years in the classroom, possibly by providing money for them to get additional training or buy supplies.
The Martinezes say they settled on scholarships for prospective teachers in hopes of creating a ripple effect, with those teachers becoming role models that students will emulate.
“One teacher can impact so many kids,” Edgar says.
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