Elected and community leaders step up to support the Fund
Miami, March 2, 2022 – On the second anniversary of his passing, the family of late community leader and political strategist Patrick F. Hidalgo has launched the Patrick. F. Hidalgo Scholarship Fund at Miami Dade College (MDC) to provide scholarships, mentorships and other important support resources to students at MDC’s acclaimed Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Educational Center in Liberty City.
“There are no words to describe the loss we have felt since our brother Patrick passed away in March of 2020 at the age of 41. He embodied love, wisdom and grace, and as a result, everyone who knew his spirit carries a part of him with them,” said Bibi Hidalgo. “Since as long as I could remember, my brother Patrick was deeply concerned about income inequality and creating access to opportunity. Our family, friends and colleagues wanted Patrick’s work to continue, and Miami Dade College, with its national reputation, open access, reach and program excellence, is the ideal institution to carry on his service.”
The fund was originally launched right after Patrick’s funeral as a Go Fund Me page by longtime friend and colleague Stephanie Valencia, Co-Founder of Equis Research and former White House advisor to President Obama. “It was so important to find a way to continue Patrick’s legacy and vision for a more just and equitable world. His friends, family and former colleagues really showed up to make that a reality. Investing in the next generation in his beloved hometown of Miami makes all the sense in the world,” said Valencia.
“I learned so much from Patrick, especially his humanity. His words guide me every day,” added Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Patrick’s first cousin. “It gives us great peace and satisfaction knowing that students in our community will benefit from his fund.”
Mayor Suarez has pledged an additional $25,000 to Patrick’s Fund through his Antipoverty Initiative.
“It’s incredible that Patrick’s priorities align perfectly with the purpose of the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center. This entrepreneurship scholarship endowment helps to realize our vision for the Meek Center, which is to be an open-access educational resource for aspiring entrepreneurs, with first-class training and support on starting and managing a business enterprise, social media marketing, digital technologies, finance, and other key competencies,” stated Teddie Laing, the Meek Center’s Executive Director.
Located at 6300 NW 7 Avenue, the Meek Center has a particular focus on educational opportunities in entrepreneurship, entrepreneur-led seminars and mentoring sessions, business-related programs, technology, community development and vocational programs that prepare students for today’s workforce and emerging industries. It has a full range of student and academic services including advisement, career counseling, financial aid, tutoring, and a food pantry. The Center also offers opportunities to engage in a variety of conferences and workshops. Students can attend the Center to complete academic programs, obtain educational requirements for an associate degree or as a convenient, centrally located facility for additional classes. Learn more at https://www.mdc.edu/meek/.
“Patrick was a big believer in helping people stuck in low wage jobs transition into the entrepreneurial sector where they could be their own bosses and build wealth by opening new small businesses that invest more dollars in the local economy,” stated Manny Hidalgo, his brother. “Patrick’s life mission aligns perfectly with the Meek Center’s.”
Like his brother Manny, Patrick was a graduate of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami and worked in the Obama Administration and as a strategist in several national campaigns. His father, Manolo Hidalgo Sr. graduated from the original Belen Jesuit School in Havana, Cuba in 1957 and pointed out that, “Belen Jesuit’s motto is Men for Others and Patrick fully embraced that mantra his entire life.” In the years just prior to his passing, Patrick had returned to Miami and worked in Overtown at an urban, co-working innovation lab, a Space Called Tribe (now rebranded as The Center for Black Innovation).
Also supporting Patrick’s fund with an additional $5,000 is Michael “Mike” Llorente, Esq. of LSN Partners in Miami Beach. Mike graduated with Patrick from Belen Jesuit in 1997 and was his roommate all 4 years at Georgetown University where Patrick received a degree in International Relations in 2001. Reflecting on the Scholarship Fund, Llorente said, “Pat took a deep authentic interest in everyone he met. He asked a lot of questions and constantly validated others, pushing them to be a better version of themselves. I am confident this scholarship fund will continue Pat’s legacy of reminding people that they are not invisible. That they are loved. That they are capable of great things.”
An additional $5,000 has been contributed by Zumpano Patricios, a renowned Coral Gables law firm whose founder and managing partner is Joseph I. Zumpano, a 1987 graduate of Belen Jesuit. “This is not a donation but an investment in the young people of our community through education,” added Zumpano. “It is especially moving that two pillar institutions, Miami Dade College and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, now honor Patrick’s legacy by extending hope and opportunity to those who need it most.”
For more information and to support the Patrick F. Hidalgo Scholarship Fund, please visit www.mdcfoundation.com/PatrickHidalgoFund. In addition, Patrick’s family and friends will host a reception fundraiser at the Meek Center on Tuesday, April 12, at 6 p.m., where community leaders, College officials and current students will speak. This event can also be attended virtually at www.mdc.edu/livestream.
The family also hopes to launch an annual start-up pitch challenge at the Meek Center in alliance with business leaders and alumni from Belen Jesuit School. Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks on all these endeavors.