Join AEF & DAPF for a November Happy Hour!

AEF/DAPF November Happy Hour



The Ascend Educational Fund and the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc. invite you to join us for a November Happy Hour to learn how we are working to promote educational achievement in the New York City community. We look forward to sharing more about our plans for both organizations in 2014.

Event Details 
Date: Thursday, November 14
Location: EVR- 54 W 39th St (between 5th & 6th Ave)
Time: 6 PM- 9 PM
Donation: $30 (includes one drink**)
At the door: $35 (includes one drink**)
Please RSVP and print your event ticket here

Your donation will help further AEF’s and DAPF’s missions.

About AEF and DAPF:
Ascend Educational Fund’s mission is to enable and encourage higher education and professional achievement for the immigrant community. Regardless of ethnicity, national origin or immigration status, we envision every exceptional student in New York City as having the same educational and professional opportunities. Visit www.ascendfundny.orgfor more information.

The Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc. (DAPF) advocates for a quality and accessible education for all students and promotes the development of Puerto Rican and Latino/a leaders of integrity. Our role is to help bridge the educational attainment gap so prevalent within this community in New York City. Visit for more information.

**The complimentary drink is sponsored by GetPoured: a members program that provides FREE drinks at various NYC venues.

Join Us at the AEF September Happy Hour!

Dear Friends of AEF,

We’d like to invite you to our September Happy Hour on Wednesday, September 18th at 6:00 pm at Ainsworth Park (111 E 18th St). Come join us to send the summer off with cocktails and mingle with AEF supporters and friends.

We are also excited to announce that we will be hosting our First Annual Gala in February of 2014 and are looking for Gala planning committee members. If you are interested in joining our gala-planning committee, please email or come to the happy hour to learn more!

You can also stay up to date on future events here.

Best Regards,

AEF Board of Directors

Meet Our 2013 AEF Scholars

The Ascend Educational Fund’s Selection Committee reviewed over 320 applications, interviewed 20 finalists, and this weekend selected our inaugural class of eight AEF Scholars! Thanks to the generous support of our Advisory Council and other contributors, our eight AEF Scholars will receive a total of $36,000 in scholarship awards, which includes over $9,000 raised through our matching gift drive.

Thank you to everyone who participated—and special thanks to Anne Brennan, Danaus Chang, Arthur Li, Liam O’Neil, Raphael Zagury , and the Alchemy Club, LLC for their generous contributions. All of the time and financial contributions of our donors and supporters are allowing us to significantly improve these young people’s lives.

We are thrilled to share our Scholar’s stories with you:

• A civil rights activist whose parents emigrated from Bangladesh and who will be attending Princeton University in the fall. This Danaus Awesome Achievement Award recipient has spent her teenage years supporting the struggle for human rights and social activism throughout the world by organizing hate-crime rallies, promoting voter rights, and starting a tutorial center in her house for free. Not only has she maintained a 4.0 GPA and is a true leader in her community, she also contributes her earnings from the summer employment program to her parents to assist her family with their basic needs.

• An immigrant from Mexico who is a founding member of a diversity group that promotes tolerance and anti-bullying at her school, and will attend Binghamton University this fall with plans to study Psychology and Education. This El Aguila Perseverance Award recipient dedicates herself to her schoolwork as an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate with a 100 average, while continuing to help her guardians pay the bills by selling ices and cupcakes.

• A young research scientist whose parents emigrated from China and who will be attending the University of California, Davis in the fall. This A+ student has already maxed out the CollegeNow program and has accumulated 13 college credits. His accomplishments include performing at Carnegie Hall, a national ranking in Chess the last three years, and being a member of his high school’s varsity fencing team since his freshman year. Despite his demanding academic and extracurricular schedule, he also plays the role of homemaker in his household: purchasing groceries, making dinners and taking care of his siblings.

• A Mexican immigrant who arrived just four years ago and transitioned from ESL to now taking all her classes in English with an overall grade point average of 89%. She is a varsity soccer player who actively volunteers in her community, from HealthCorps to El Museo del Barrio, and helped to form the Haiti Relief Project with the National Honor Society on her campus. A Skadden mentee, she will attend La Guardia Community College this fall and eventually plans to go to law school and become a lawyer.

• A student devoted to women’s rights and gender equality whose parents emigrated from Guyana, and who will be attending Wellesley College in the fall. Despite her economic and personal struggles, she has maintained an A average at one of the country’s most rigorous high schools. She is a head counselor at Project HAPPY, a sports and recreational program for individuals with disabilities, as well as an advocate for the Asian American youth community with the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families.

• A young woman who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico five years ago, is currently in the top 10% of her class, and earned a 4 on the Advanced Placement English Language & Composition exam, despite being enrolled in ESL classes her freshman year. This Arthur Li Distinguished Rising Star Award is a member of a rigorous college-preparatory program, she is also an alto sax player and volunteers regularly at her church.  She will attend CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice this fall and is passionately seeking a career as a criminal detective.

• A women rights advocate whose parents emigrated from St. Kitts and Nevis and who will be attending Bryn Mawr College in the fall. She founded a women’s empowerment group in her school to discuss race, body image, and women’s’ rights. An active member of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, she maintains an A average and ranks in the top 12% of her graduating class. She is described by her teachers as “A more honest, generous, and determined individual than you will never meet.”

• A young man who immigrated to the U.S from Mexico, maintains a 3.7 GPA at one of New York City’s most competitive high schools, and scored in the 83rd percentile on the SAT mathematics section, all while working as a cook’s assistant, assistant super, and at McDonald’s to help support his family. He is described by his teachers as ”one of the most ambitious, giving, and thirsty for knowledge” students they have ever encountered. He will be attending City College of New York this fall.

Thank you again for supporting us, and assisting us in ‘Elevating our Community through Higher Education’. We have big plans for AEF, and we hope that you will be a part of our growth in the coming years.

AEF Board of Directors
Adrienne, Celeste, Diana, Erika and Julissa

Launch Press Release

Ascend Educational Fund to Award a Minimum of $20,000 in Scholarships to the NYC Immigrant Community in 2013

New York, NY- January 14, 2013- Ascend Educational Fund, Inc. a new community-funded scholarship program for immigrant students in the New York City area, has launched and will open its application period for Fall 2013 scholarships beginning this February. “We are extremely excited to begin the inaugural application process for Ascend Educational Fund in New York City.  As the epicenter of the immigrant community in the U.S., we look forward to awarding annual scholarships to support higher education within the immigrant community,” stated Julissa Arce, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Development Committee.  Arce added, “We are tremendously inspired by what the Esperanza Education Fund is doing for the immigrant community in D.C.”

Beginning this May, Ascend will award scholarships ranging from $2,500-$20,000, based on need, to immigrant high school students, regardless of ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status, living in the five boroughs of New York City- Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.  Students are eligible for the 2013 scholarship if they: (1) were born outside the United States or have two parents born outside the United States, (2) are graduating seniors at a high school in New York City, and (3) intend to enroll full-time at an accredited public or private college or university for the 2013-2014 academic year.  Applicants must demonstrate a history of academic success and perseverance.  With these criteria, Ascend Educational Fund intends to help bridge the gap for students who are high achieving and perseverant, but may not have the resources necessary to pursue higher education.

“With 60% of New York City students being immigrants or children of immigrants, we want to create a platform for these individuals to pursue higher education and achieve their dreams.  And with one out of every five New York City residents living in poverty, and 30% of children 18 and younger living in poverty, we can’t think of a better way to support our community than to help provide access to higher education opportunities,” stated Adrienne Serrato, Chair of the Mentorship Committee.

New York City is one of the most diverse immigrant communities in the nation, with individuals hailing from China, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Russia, Korea, India, Colombia, and the Ukraine, to name a few, according to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

The Ascend Educational Fund, Inc. was founded by a diverse group of young professionals from New York City, with roots stemming from Mexico to the Philippines.  Arce added, “We are united for one cause- to ensure that more students from the immigrant community are not hindered from pursuing the American dream due to lack of financial aid.”

For further information contact  For application materials, visit  Applications must be submitted by April 1st, 2013.

About Ascend Educational Fund, Inc.

Ascend Education Fund, Inc. was established in 2012 to help high school students of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. Ascend Educational Fund focuses in particular on students that were born outside the United States or have two parents born outside the United States and have a history of academic success and perseverance.  Scholarship recipients are selected based on qualities traditionally valued and demonstrated by the immigrant community including hard work, resourcefulness, perseverance, academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to one’s community. 

Our mission is straightforward- to enable and encourage higher education and professional achievement for immigrant children and children of immigrant families.

For more information, visit