Fr. Jon Cortina Scholarship Program 2016

At A Glance 

20 students at university

Average GPA at university: 3.5 Equivalent

4,000 hours of community service completed by

scholars yearly

Total cost for all students’ education: $32,000
93% yearly retention of students at university

Stories of Success:
Our first graduating class

In 2017, the Cortina Programwill be graduating its first class. Sonia Palma (Science Education), Magali Tobar (Marketing), and Jacqueline Lopez (Nursing) will graduate next November after 6 years of working very hard academically and in the community.  2017 will mark 6 years since the programstarted and the completion of our first cycle with the first group. These three remarkable women have served as role models within the programsupporting the younger students as they start their university careers.

“This program has given me a huge opportunity in life to help me realize my biggest dream of becoming a professional, which would not have been possible without this help as my family is very low income. Which is why I am eternally grateful for this support.”
– Sonia Navarro Palma


Yanci Melgar is studying Business Administration at the University of Central America (UCA).  The UCA is the Jesuit University of El Salvador with a rich history. They suffered from the martyr of 6 Jesuits and 2 lay women during the civil war. Yanci is our first student to attend the UCA and achieved the equivalent of a 3.3 GPA last semester at the toughest university in the country.  Yanci is one of 8 children who comes from a single mother household. For her community service project, Yanci works in the Jon Cortina, S.J. museum in town, the namesake of our program.  She does not want the town to forget the great priest who lived in solidarity with them throughout and after the war.

Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos Miranda is a 4th year Accounting Major at the local private university Andres Bello.  Juan Carlos balances not only his responsibilities with the Cortina Program including the service and studies, but also being a young father.  He has worked diligently to achieve a 3.7 equivalent GPA and has grown consistently in his leadership over the past 4 years.  He said the following about the scholarship:
“The scholarship program has helped me be more responsible, engaged, and caring in my personal life, family, and greater community.  The program has also given me the tools and space to strengthen my academic and social learning.”

Cost Per Student

To send one Cortina Scholarto school for one year is $1,600.

Each student receives a stipend of $140, ten times per year.

Their stipend contributes totransport to and from their university, food, materials, andtuition. With extra for additional costs.

Tamarindo Foundation
The Cortina program is a part of the larger Tamarindo Foundation. Our students serve as leaders in the group for the younger children and participate in all activities. Here is a description of the Tamarindo Foundation:
Against a backdrop of rural, post-war violence and a migration crisis, the Tamarindo Foundation, Inc. (TFI) creates opportunities for non-violence, empowerment, and physical well-being in the community of Guarjila, El Salvador. We offer programs focused on enhancing the wellness, education, and capacity of young people and women. The Tamarindo has enabled the transformation of hundreds of group members’ lives, generated positive impacts throughout the community, and introduced numerous visitors to the challenges and dignity of daily life in Central America.
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Tamarindo Foundation
P.O. Box 90404
Indianapolis, Indiana 46290

Dear Cortina Program Supporters,
In 2011, we started the Cortina program with 3 students. At that time we were seeking to provide an alternative opportunity for the youth of El Salvador who were emigrating to the United States.  I am eternally grateful for my friends and family who rallied around the idea to fund our first few classes.  We wanted the bright, talented, and caring young people to have the ability to grow into professionals and to serve as role models in their community.
Five years later, our program has grown to serve over 20 students with our first group graduating next year.  The situation of violence in El Salvador has worsened as the political climate has changed in the United States significantly.  As talks of walls and deportations have spread throughout the USA, our program seeks to expand its operations to provide a solution to the root causes of immigration to USA.  We seek to give education and economic opportunity to a region that has struggled with lack of opportunity forcing many to see their only avenue being emigration from their community and family.

This year we have already received 20 requests from new students seeking to attend a university next year.  Our program can continue to grow to serve as many as 30 students to continue their studies at the university.  We need your support to make this happen.  Please consider making a gift.  $1600 will cover a full scholarship for a student for the year.  I cannot think of a better investment in the future of our world.

Joe Albers- Founder of Cortina Program

Program Overview
The Fr. Jon Cortina Solidarity Scholarship program has provided youth from the town of Guarjila, Chalatenango, El Salvador the opportunity to study in universities since 2011. In the face of an emigration crisis, post-war trauma, and gang violence, the Cortina program seeks to create long standing change in the community through education. The vision of the program is to develop leaders in Guarjila who will commit their lives to transforming their community.
The students who apply need to show not only great academic performance, but more importantly a commitment to improving their community while they study and after they finish their degree. Students complete community service work during the academic year. Some examples include: tutoring younger students after school, teaching adult literacy classes, assisting doctors in the local clinic, and serving as teacher’s assistants in elementary classrooms.

Featured Donor – Ian Nasman
Ian Nasman, Partner at Deloitte, said the following about why he gives to the Cortinaprogram: “I first started contributing to the CortinaProgram because I believe in the important role that education plays in driving change in our spirit, our self confidence, and our communities. This June, I had the privilege to go down to El Salvador and meet each of the students and many of the supportive families who benefit from the scholarship program. What was clear to me was that a very small financial contribution makes a very tangible impact.  When we met with the students they spoke about excitement of where their life was going and passion for the careers they have selected to pursue. As a future father, I can only hope that my children will see education as importantly as these inspiring students do.”

How to Donate
Donate full amount of $1600 for year:
Option A
1. For a quick and secure online donation please click HERE
2. Fill out information
3. In “Gift Information”, under “Fund” please select Scholarship. OR write CortinaScholarship Program in the Comments space at the bottom.
Option B
1. Make a check payable to Tamarindo Foundation, Inc.
2. Under note mark Cortina Scholarship program.
3. Mail to:
The Tamarindo Foundation, Inc 
P.O. Box 90404
Indianapolis, IN 46290
Donate Monthly Amount of $125:
1. For a quick and secure online donation click HERE
2. Fill out information
3. In “Gift Information”, under “Fund” please select Scholarship. OR write “Cortina Scholarship Program” in the comments space at the bottom.
4. Under Donation Frequency, select monthly.