After photographer Jose Refugio “Fugie” Almanza tragically lost his 12-year-old son, Joseph Jr., in 2017, Almanza sought to turn his pain into purpose. He and a team of supporters raised money through art sales and founded the Joseph Jr. Scholarship Foundation, which aims to help Latinos fund their college educations. The scholarships will be presented in a Sept. 24 event at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
“We’re looking at Latino and Latina students because I think that’s where we need the most help,” Almanza said. “I’m hoping that it helps fulfill their dreams. Originally, it started with art and photography, but we want to expand it to any college student that wants to apply.”
“It started many years ago with my mom where people that came from Mexico would come and stay with us,” Almanza continued. “It was tough, but somehow or another, we managed to get enough food in the house so that she could feed us and other people. As I got older, I seen the value. That’s what I want to do, help other people in need. My son came along, and he kind of learned what I wanted to do and he wanted to do the same thing. That’s why this scholarship is in his honor.”
Applications for the Joseph Jr. scholarships are open through Sept. 18 at the foundation’s website.